Stanly County teacher jumps in 33rd District N.C. Senate race

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 7, 2017

SALISBURY — The newly redrawn 33rd N.C. Senate District now has its second candidate in the 2018 election.

Stanly County teacher Bill Sorenson, a Republican, says he plans to run for the 33rd District seat, which covers all Rowan and Stanly counties.

Sorenson is the second person to the declare his candidacy. State Rep. Carl Ford, R-76, was the first.

Because courts still need to sign off on newly drawn district maps, it’s unclear when the 33rd District election will be. The Rowan County Board of Elections says filing for 2018 races is currently scheduled to start in February.

Sorenson, 57, is a Navy veteran who worked on nuclear submarines. Currently, he is a technology instructor at South Stanly High School, a job he’s held for 25 years.

In his bid for N.C. Senate — his first shot at elected office — Sorenson said he is focused on education-related issues.

“To be brutally frank, I’m disgusted with the education policies of the last several years,” Sorenson said.

As specific examples, he mentioned per-pupil funding, inadequate teacher pay raises and mandated smaller class sizes. Sorenson says per-pupil funding is lower than it was before the Great Recession and that experienced teachers are actually making less money than before the recession.

Sorenson places equal blame for the education-related problems on Republicans and Democrats.

“It hasn’t been strict party-line voting,” he said. “Democrats are going along with some of these proposals, too.”

Sorenson said he has tried to contact every member of the N.C. General Assembly about his education concerns, but “it’s all been to no avail.”

In addition to education, Sorenson said his candidacy will focus on economic growth driven by reinventing and reinvesting in public education; compassionate conservatism that protects people on fixed incomes, the disabled and the working poor; and restoring power to local government.

As an example of his discontent with the reduction of local government power, Sorenson cited the elimination of taxes and licensing fees. Indirectly, the legislature’s action has led to property tax increases by local governments, he said.

He also said the legislature’s decision to raise sales taxes and other fees have more than offset its income tax cuts for middle-income families.

“What’s happening is we’re shifting the tax burden from the wealthiest to the poorest,” he said.

Sorenson said he doesn’t have any particular opinion about Ford. Sorenson said Ford seems like a “good solid Republican,” but he votes along party lines for education proposals that have negatively affected the state.

Sorenson said he would be interested in debating Ford during the 33rd District campaign.

Sorenson and his wife, Margaret, live in the Norwood area. They have two daughters and two grandsons.

Contact Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.