Thom Tillis in State of North Carolina secondary Archives


On Budget & Economy: Continue to hold the line on spending

Q: What government spending would you reduce in order to balance the budget?

A: During my time in the Senate, I've broken with Republican leadership and voted against budgets that I felt spent too much money and I'm prepared to continue to hold the line on spending if I get reelected.

Source: AFA iVoterGuide on 2020 North Carolina Senate race Nov 3, 2020

On Education: More loan relief to students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Q: Under what circumstances should taxpayers help pay off existing student loans?

A: I introduced bipartisan legislation that gives more loan relief to students during the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the student relief that I previously voted for in the CARES Act. I recognize that this pandemic has put undue strain on those with student loan debt, and I was proud to work on legislation to reduce the burden for our nation's students.

Source: AFA iVoterGuide on 2020 North Carolina Senate race Nov 3, 2020

On Principles & Values: Outspoken in my defense of our freedom of religion

Q: Do you promise to protect the freedom of Christians to share the Gospel and to practice Biblical principles?

A: Yes.

Q: What does "separation of church and state" mean to you?

A: I have been outspoken in my defense of our freedom of religion. One example of my commitment to this cause was when Pastor Andrew Brunson was being held in a Turkish prison for practicing his faith and I helped free him and get him returned safely to America.

Q: Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values?

A: I am Catholic, which informs my belief in the dignity of work and that every life is a precious gift from God.

Source: AFA iVoterGuide on 2020 North Carolina Senate race Nov 3, 2020

On Social Security: Keep the promises we've already made

Q: How would you guarantee Social Security benefits for future generations?

A: Any reforms we make to Social Security need to keep the promises we've already made.

Source: AFA iVoterGuide on 2020 North Carolina Senate race Nov 3, 2020

On Corporations: Voted to roll back Dodd-Frank banking regulations

Q: Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Thom Tillis: Loosen. Voted in favor of rolling back Dodd-Frank banking regulations. Says the CFPB needs more "oversight from Congress."

Cal Cunningham: Tighten. Early backer of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Address "tax loopholes that benefit corporations and the wealthy."

Source: CampusElect survey of 2020 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2020

On Education: Supports vouchers for students to attend private schools

Q: Use public funding for private schools?

Thom Tillis: Yes. Supports vouchers for students to attend private schools with government assistance.

Cal Cunningham: No. Supports phasing out school vouchers to pay for private-school tuition.

Source: CampusElect survey of 2020 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2020

On Energy Oil: Solve climate change with "market-driven solutions"

Q: Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Thom Tillis: Mixed. Previously doubted human role, supported Trump withdrawal from Paris agreement. Now sees climate change as solvable with "responsible market-driven solutions." Supported Trump rule easing emission limits on coal-fired power plants.

Cal Cunningham: Yes. "One of the most urgent issues facing us." Supports efforts to move to 100% renewable energy by 2050, rejoin Paris Agreement and train workers for green jobs.

Source: CampusElect survey of 2020 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2020

On Jobs: Co-sponsored National Right to Work Act

Q: Support "right to work" laws, banning unions from mandating dues for workers they represent?

Thom Tillis: Yes. Co-sponsored National Right to Work Act. As state speaker of the House, vowed to keep North Carolina "the least unionized state in the United States."

Cal Cunningham: Mixed. Endorsed by major unions. Calls for a "living wage" and defending workplace protections. In 2014 endorsed state's unique "right-to-work laws."

Source: CampusElect survey of 2020 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2020

On Tax Reform: 2017 tax cuts were "historic tax reform"

Q: Support administration's $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

Thom Tillis: Yes. Called the tax cuts "historic tax reform that will lead to bigger paychecks for hard-working Americans."

Cal Cunningham: No. Overwhelmingly benefits "the largest corporations and the ultra-wealthy while leaving middle-class and poor behind."

Source: CampusElect survey of 2020 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2020

On Free Trade: Supports USMCA trade agreement to replace NAFTA

The USMCA is a new trade pact among the United States, Mexico and Canada, intended as a stronger and modernized replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): "I applaud the Trump Administration on reaching an agreement with Mexico and Canada to replace the outdated NAFTA and ensure our alliances with our neighbors remain strong."

Source: White House press release in 2020 North Carolina Senate race Oct 2, 2018

On Families & Children: Defend the institution of the traditional family

Family: Thom believes the traditional family is the bedrock of America's culture and a driver of our nation's well being. Thom is committed to defending the institution of the traditional family. He believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Source: Vote-USA.org on 2020 North Carolina Senate race Oct 24, 2014

On Civil Rights: OpEd: Supported tax cuts over help for students and women

Round two of the U.S. Senate debates featured Sen. Kay Hagan and N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis. During the first debate, Hagan accused Tillis of taking the state backward by supporting tax cuts over help for students and women. Speaker Tillis says Hagan would be a rubber stamp for President Obama, an approach he says doesn't work in the state.
Source: WFMY News 2 on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Oct 8, 2014

On Civil Rights: Defend the N.C. gay marriage ban

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican rival Thom Tillis differ on gay marriage in North Carolina. Tillis defended his decision this week to intervene in lawsuits challenging the state's gay marriage ban that voters approved it in 2012. The ban could soon be overturned because the U.S. Supreme Court not to consider a Virginia case.

Hagan says she opposed the constitutional amendment and pointed out Tillis got it on the ballot.

Source: WFMY News 2 on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Oct 8, 2014

On War & Peace: Withdrawing too quickly from Iraq left vacuum for ISIS

Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican rival Thom Tillis are challenging each other again on what to do about the new terror threat overseas.

Hagan told Tillis at their second debate he's waffling on what he would do about eliminating the Islamic State militant group. The state House speaker says Hagan allowed President Obama to withdraw troops too quickly from Iraq and created a vacuum.

Source: WFMY News 2 on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Oct 8, 2014

On Abortion: Human life begins at conception

Question topic: Human life begins at conception and deserves legal protection at every stage until natural death.

Tillis: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Budget & Economy: Free enterprise is the key to national prosperity

Question topic: Free enterprise and the right to private property turn mankind's natural self interest into the fairest and most productive economic system there is, and are the key to national prosperity.

Tillis: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Civil Rights: Government shouldn't redefine marriage

Question topic: Marriage is a union of one man and one woman. No government has the authority to alter this definition.

Tillis: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Energy & Oil: No subsidies for wind and solar

Question topic: Governments should pay to develop wind and solar energy solutions when these are not economically feasible.

Tillis: Disagree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Government Reform: Photo ID for voting

Question topic: People should be able to vote without photo identification.

Tillis: Strongly Disagree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Gun Control: Opposes more gun restrictions

Question topic: More restrictive gun control laws are needed now to protect public safety.

Tillis: Strongly Disagree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Health Care: Repeal ObamaCare; it's not a government responsibility

Question topic: It is the government's responsibility to be sure everyone has health care and a livable income.

Tillis: Strongly Disagree

Question topic: The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) should be repealed by Congress.

Tillis: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Homeland Security: Maintain a superior nuclear arsenal

Question topic: The United States must maintain a nuclear arsenal that is safe, reliable, modern and numerically superior to those of potential adversaries.

Tillis: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Immigration: Protect the borders; prevent illegal entry

Question topic: Government should enforce laws designed to protect the border and to prevent illegal entry of persons into the country.

Tillis: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On Principles & Values: Judeo-Christian values established our government framework

Question topic: Efforts to bring Islamic law (shariah) to America do not pose a threat to our country and its Constitution.

Tillis: Disagree.

Question topic: Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality which permitted our system of limited government.

Tillis: Strongly Agree.

Question topic: Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.

Tillis: Catholic.

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 30, 2014

On War & Peace: Too little is known about Syrian rebels to arm them

Thom Tillis is out with a hard-hitting new ad arguing that President Obama was slow to recognize the threat from ISIS. "While ISIS grew Obama kept waiting and Kay Hagan kept quiet. The price for their failure is danger," the ad says.

Hagan's camp fired back, "Speaker Tillis has no position on how to eliminate ISIS and his comments have been called 'waffling' and 'vague.' Kay has been decisive and clear," said a Hagan spokesman.

Tillis had said he didn't know if it was good to arm the Syria groups to hit the airwaves since ISIS became a major campaign issue this month. Tillis was one of the first Republicans to jump on the issue, criticizing Hagan in their first debate over Obama's dismissal of ISIS as the "J.V. team."

Source: The Hill AdWatch on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Sep 29, 2014

On Education: Department of Education is 5,000 overpaid bureaucrats

On Common Core, the educational standards which have become deeply unpopular among conservative activists, Tillis sounded far more conservative than Jeb Bush [his guest of honor]. The N.C. House approved the standards in 2011 but Tillis backed away from them.

"I'm not willing to settle just for a national standard if we think we can set a new standard and a best practice," Tillis said, pivoting to an attack on the federal Education Department as "a bureaucracy of 5,000 people in Washington" who make an average salary of over $100,000.

While criticizing the Education Department is common among Republicans, Tillis was standing next to the younger brother of President George W. Bush, whose signature accomplishments include No Child Left Behind, the sweeping federal education law run by the department.

Bush sensed the need to play down any differences: "We can argue about what to call these things," he said, but maintained that the focus ought to be on ensuring high standards.

Source: N.Y. Times on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Sep 24, 2014

On Immigration: Amnesty shouldn't be on the table

Standing alongside Jeb Bush, Tillis gently put distance between himself and his guest of honor, on the issue of immigration: "You have to make it clear that amnesty shouldn't be on the table," Tillis said, referring to how to address those immigrants currently in the country illegally. "That doesn't negate any opportunity to provide some with legal status and other things, but you only do that after you seal the borders and you make the problem no longer grow."

Jeb Bush supports a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants and complained that not addressing the immigration system had "done us harm economically." He said, "If it was framed in that way, I don't think there's a big debate in the Republican Party about the need to do this."

But an easy resolution is not likely in his party. After a reporter noted that Bush's immigration stance was more "conciliatory," the former governor chuckled and the Republicans in the audience let out a brief, nervous laugh.

Source: N.Y. Times on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Sep 24, 2014

On Immigration: Bipartian failure to secure the border

On immigration, Tillis knocked the "bipartisan failure" to secure the border, and he criticized the president for considering executive actions to slow deportations.

On that count, Hagan agreed, saying the president "should not take" action to ease deportations. But she also defended her vote in favor of the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate last June, noting its variety of Republican co-sponsors and saying it would throw considerably more resources at border security. "Inaction is not an option," she said. "Speaker Tillis has no plan to solve our immigration system."

Source: CBS News on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Sep 3, 2014

On War & Peace: US should have more quickly armed the moderate Syrian rebels

Hagan distanced herself from Obama on U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria, saying the U.S. should have moved more quickly to arm the moderate Syrian rebels. The failure to do that, she said, allowed extremists to grow and gain power in the region.

Tillis, for his part, demonstrated a surprising fluency on foreign policy matters for a state lawmaker, discussing the roots of the militants fighting in Iraq and Syria and criticizing the president for failing to develop a strategy to combat them. "Kay Hagan has allowed it to happen," he added.

Source: CBS News on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Sep 3, 2014

On Principles & Values: A self-made man who grew up in a trailer park

Tillis' spokesman countered Hagan's attacks by noting that that tax cuts and regulatory changes passed by the General Assembly since Republicans gained power in 2010 have boosted middle-class families and small businesses.

Tillis aides concede that Hagan has gotten a head start raising money and making her pitch to voters, but said voters would come to respect his life story. Tillis, they said, grew up in a trailer park and is a "self-made man."

"Only one candidate has been telling a story," said a Tillis strategist. "The Thom Tillis story has yet to be told."

Tillis's campaign, meanwhile, has called Hagan a "rubber stamp" for Obama's policies, chiding her for her vote supporting the president's health-care overhaul. The voters' negative feelings toward Obama, Tillis aides say, will help mobilize the Republican base. "North Carolinians are really not happy with the direction our country is going in," Keylin said.

Source: Washington Post on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Aug 13, 2014

On Health Care: Voting for ObamaCare is a fire-able offense

Source: Politico.com weblog on 2014 North Carolina Senate race May 7, 2014

On Welfare & Poverty: No government assistance for those who can help themselves

On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews featured a 2011 video of Tillis saying we have to "divide and conquer" those on public assistance, by getting those who really need it--the sick--to turn on and look down at those who "choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government."

The "divide and conquer" line seems relevant. Chris Matthews noted: "The goal here politically is to get the sick people to attack the poor people."

Tillis [responded today that he] regrets using the phrase "divide and conquer" in 2011. "The frustration is that we have people that are abusing the system at the expense of us being able to do more for the people who desperately need the safety net," he said. "My point was to say we need to make it very clear, government exists to help those who cannot help themselves. And those who can need to do everything that they possibly can to let us free up those resources so that we can do better things for those who desperately need it."

Source: Washington Post on 2014 North Carolina Senate race May 6, 2014

On Education: Oppose Common Core; eliminate U.S. Department of Education

Greg Brannon attacked Thom Tillis as softer than him on immigration, health care, education, gun rights and other issues. While mostly playing it safe, Tillis staked out a series of positions on the right that could hurt him in the general election: [including] suggesting that he might want to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.

All four candidates said they oppose Common Core education standards. Brannon said he believe in no federal and state education standards. "Common Core became law under Thom's watch," he said. "[It] destroyed education with the Department of Education."

Tillis said he opposes Common Core and he identified the U.S. Education Department when asked to identify a federal cabinet agency he would eliminate. "We existed for more than a century without one," said Tillis, offering a nuanced explanation. "That's the first department I'd look at...At some point, I'd wonder whether or not it needs to exist in its current form."

Source: Politico.com on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Apr 22, 2014

On Energy & Oil: Climate change is not an established fact

Thom Tillis presented himself as a "practical" conservative during the first primary debate. His leading opponent, Greg Brannon, attacked the state House speaker as softer than him on immigration, health care, education, gun rights and other issues.

"We're all conservatives," Tillis said; "You have conservative choices in this primary." While mostly playing it safe, Tillis staked out a series of positions on the right that could hurt him in the general election: agreeing with the other three candidates on stage that climate change is not an established fact, and opposing a federal minimum wage.

When asked if the mentally ill should be able to own guns, Brannon suggested that people with PTSD and other forms of temporary mental illness should. Tillis responded, "Mr. Brannon just said yes to your question, which I think is irresponsible," he said. "You can't put a gun in the hands of someone who represents a danger to themselves or society. Folks, this is being a practical conservative.

Source: Politico.com on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Apr 22, 2014

On Jobs: Opposes federal minimum wage; but let states decide

Thom Tillis [debated his primary opponents, including] tea party activist Greg Brannon, who attacked the state House speaker as softer than him on immigration, health care, education, gun rights and other issues. While mostly playing it safe, Tillis staked out a series of positions on the right that could hurt him in the general election: agreeing with the other three candidates on stage that climate change is not an established fact, opposing a federal minimum wage and suggesting that he might want to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.

On the minimum wage, Brannon said a federal standard is unconstitutional. Tillis responded: "If there's going to be a minimum wage, it's a decision that needs to be made by the states--not the federal government."

Source: Politico.com on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Apr 22, 2014

On Corporations: AdWatch: began working at 15; postponed college until later

Thom Tillis will begin running the second TV advertisement of his US Senate campaign, once again highlighting his business background. Unlike his first ad, Tillis does not name Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in the spot. Rather, he references the "train wreck in Washington."

The 30-second spot is mainly biographical.

His commercial doesn't mention that he is in his second term as state House speaker, one of the two most influential legislative positions in the state. Rather, he mentions working as a short-order cook at 15 and the fact he put off college until later in life, eventually rising to become a partner at IBM.

Democrats pounced on the omission of his legislative service in their response to the ad Thursday. "Tillis talks about opportunity, but his record in the General Assembly, on which he has promised he will run, and his policy positions tell a much different story," said a spokeswoman for Hagan.

Source: WRAL-5 AdWatch on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Mar 6, 2014

On Principles & Values: Served on town commission; ousted sitting State House Rep.

More than a decade ago, a push for a mountain bike trail in his hometown of Cornelius led Thom Tillis to politics, first leading him to serve on a park board and then a year later on the town commission.

The Republican is returning to the story of his political roots as he campaigns for the US Senate. "I've only been in office since 2007," he said after filing his candidacy papers last week. "I served for a small time in the town of Cornelius. I was PTA president 8 years ago."

The effort is designed to portray Tillis as the candidate who can deliver results and push back against his label as the establishment candidate. But it also highlights his start in state politics in 2006 when he ousted a conservative lawmaker in a GOP primary, 2-term Republican state Rep. John Rhodes. The Tillis-Rhodes race is seared into the minds of some conservative activists; the the leader of the Charlotte Tea Party, said Tillis' effort to beat Rhodes helped sow "a level of distrust among conservatives."

Source: Charlotte Observer on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Mar 5, 2014

On Health Care: AdWatch: ObamaCare is a disaster

Two TV ads target Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan over her support of the new health care law. They echo a theme being played out across the country as Republicans and their allies pound Democrats over ObamaCare.

An ad by Thom Tillis blasts Hagan's support of the Affordable Care Act. The ad launches next week with a $300,000 buy.

In his ad, Tillis calls the health law "a disaster." Tillis says, "And the president won't admit it. Kay Hagan enabled President Obama's worst ideas. She refuses to clean up his mess. So you and I have to clean up hers."

A Hagan spokeswoman said Tillis shares the blame for higher premiums, citing some health care experts who have said the state's decision--supported by Tillis--not to run its own health care exchange has resulted in less competition and generally higher premiums. Though Hagan supports ObamaCare, she has co-sponsored a bill that would allow people to keep their current policy.

Source: Charlotte Observer AdWatch: 2014 North Carolina Senate race Jan 2, 2014

On Government Reform: Helped engineer voter ID legislation

Tillis is one of Gov. Pat McCrory's closest allies and helped engineer majorities in the state House and Senate for the GOP in 2010. The addition this year of McCrory, the state's first Republican governor since 1993, accelerated an ambitious agenda that included voter ID legislation, lower corporate and personal taxes and reductions in unemployment benefits.
Source: Charlotte Business Jnl. on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Dec 12, 2013

On Principles & Values: "Moral Mondays" are for whining losers who oppose GOP agenda

N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis described opponents of the Republican agenda in the General Assembly as "losers" in an interview. "I think for the most part, what I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers," Tillis told Politico.com when asked about the current political environment. "They lost, they don't like it, and they are going to try to do everything they can to cast doubt on things that I think are wise and that the average citizen will like."

Tillis is one of Gov. Pat McCrory's closest allies and helped engineer majorities in the state House and Senate for the GOP in 2010. McCrory is the state's first Republican governor since 1993.

Democrats and others frustrated by the sharp turn to the right participated in a series of protests dubbed "Moral Mondays" throughout the General Assembly session. Ministers, teachers and other activists participated in the protests, which migrated to Charlotte and other cities.

Source: Charlotte Business Jnl. on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Dec 12, 2013

On Health Care: AdWatch: TV PAC attack on ObamaCare is a "badge of honor"

A super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is attacking Thom Tillis in a new TV ad--and Tillis is making the most of it.

The Senate Majority PAC is spending $750,000 on a 30-second spot defending Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan on the federal health care while attacking Tillis The ad will run statewide for two weeks, PAC officials said. It's the second pro-Hagan ad they've run in N.C., spending near $400,000 in November.

In the new ad, they defend Hagan's support of the Affordable Care Act, without ever referring to the act or its commonly known name, ObamaCare. Instead, they tout her support of legislation that "forced insurance companies to cover cancer and other pre-existing conditions." Tillis, it says, "sides with insurance companies." It's a reference to Tillis' opposition to the health care law.

Tillis' campaign put a message on Twitter saying: "It is a badge of honor to be attacked by Harry Reid--I'll work night and day to beat Kay Hagan and overthrow Reid's majority."

Source: News-Observer PacWatch on 2014 North Carolina Senate race Dec 5, 2013

On Health Care: Do everything in our power to undo ObamaCare

Nearly every Republican candidate running for Senate in 2014 backs the GOP's push to use the threat of a government shutdown to defund ObamaCare--a sign of how popular they believe the plan is with conservative primary voters. Those supporting the GOP strategy include N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), the GOP frontrunner to face Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), who said he supported the GOP's brinkmanship because ObamaCare is a "mortal threat to our economy."

"Republicans should do everything in our power to undo it. That means using every tool available to us including this CR fight," he said in a statement to The Hill.

GOP operatives say there's little downside for candidates to embrace the "defund" movement--especially those who are facing primary opponents. "There is no downside to coming out against defunding ObamaCare if you're a Senate candidate," said one longtime GOP strategist. For Senate candidates who aren't already in Congress, especially, there's little political danger, he says.

Source: The Hill on 2014 North Carolina Senate debate Sep 22, 2013

On Crime: Limit use of racial statistics in death penalty cases

Source: North Carolina House voting records (Votesmart synopses) Jul 2, 2012

On Energy & Oil: Use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil & gas extraction

Tillis voted YEA on July 2, 2012 for SB 820: Authorizes Hydraulic Fracturing: Veto Override Passed House, 72-47.