Cal Cunningham: Wikis


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Cal Cunningham
Cal Cunningham.

James Calvin "Cal" Cunningham III (born 6 August 1973) is an attorney, captain in the United States Army Reserve, and a former member of the North Carolina Senate. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

After initially declining to run for the United States Senate in 2010,[1] Cunningham reconsidered [2] and declared that he would run for the Senate on December 7, 2009.[3]




Early life and education

Cunningham was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and grew up in Lexington, North Carolina. He attended the Lexington City Schools and Forsyth Country Day School where he graduated in 1991. Cunningham studied at Vanderbilt University before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated from UNC in 1996 with a Bachelor's degree (with Honors) in Political Science and Philosophy. Cunningham received a Master's of Science in Public Policy and Public Administration from the London School of Economics. He was awarded a law degree in 1999 from University of North Carolina School of Law.[4]

Cunningham also studied government in Thun, Switzerland, business and finance at the Carolina Business Institute and international law through the Duke University Asian American Transnational Law Institute in Hong Kong.

During the summer of 1993, Cunningham attended American University and interned on Capitol Hill for a subcommittee chaired by Senator Carl Levin.[5]

Public Service


At UNC-Chapel Hill, Cunningham was elected the Student Body President in 1995. He served ex officio on the Board of Trustees,[6] the General Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Athletic Council, and the Board of Visitors. During his tenure, Cunningham worked to allocate tuition funds for need-based financial aid, faculty pay and the libraries.[7] He supported campus transportation and safety, community service initiatives[8] and an overhaul of campus dining.[9]

During law school, Cunningham served as Chief Justice of the Student Supreme Court. He held the position for two terms and published the first Report of the Court’s cases.

State Senate

In November 2000, Cunningham was elected to represent the 23rd Senate District in the 144th Session of the North Carolina General Assembly.[10] At the time of his election, he was North Carolina’s youngest legislator and represented parts of Davidson, Rowan and Iredell Counties.[11] After the campaign, another candidate challenged Cunningham’s residency. The challenge was denied by the local and state Boards of Elections, Superior Court, and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The North Carolina Supreme Court later refused to grant a stay against the earlier decision of the Court of Appeals.[12]

In the Senate, Cunningham served as Vice Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and on the Education Appropriations, Policy and Joint Oversight Committees. Cunningham worked on privacy legislation, campaign reform,[13] the patient’s bill of rights,[14] the clean smokestacks bill,[15] class size reductions[16] and preservation of farmland.[17]

He did not run for re-election after the 23rd district was divided by anti-gerrymandering redistricting litigation.

U.S. Army Reserves

Cunningham was commissioned in the Army Reserves, Judge Advocate General's Corps in 2002 and has been mobilized for two active duty tours. In the Reserves, he serves with the 12th Legal Support Organization based at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

In 2007, Cunningham was mobilized by the XVIII Airborne Corps and served as the senior trial counsel, Multi-National Corps - Iraq.[18] In Iraq, he pioneered an effort with the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute felony contractor misconduct and worked with the Major Procurement Fraud Task Force. He was lead counsel in the first court-martial of a contractor/civilian under the Uniform Code of Military Justice since 1968.[19] For his service in Iraq, Cunningham was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.[20]

For 2005, Cunningham also served with the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg as a Special Assistant United States Attorney.[21] He prosecuted felony and misdemeanor crimes committed on the Fort Bragg military reservation.

Cunningham is a graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, Airborne School[22] and the Officer Basic Course. Prior to September 11, 2001, Cunningham served as a Third Class Petty Officer, Naval Reserves with Military Sealift Command, Port of Wilmington.

Current activities

Cunningham is a litigation attorney in the Winston-Salem office of Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP. He is admitted to the Bar in North Carolina and admitted to practice before the Western, Middle and Eastern District federal courts, as well as the United States Supreme Court. His practice is in complex business, real estate, securities and products liability litigation.[4]

Cunningham serves on various boards and commissions. Since 2003, he has served as an appointee of the Governor on the Board of Trustees of Davidson County Community College.[23] He also serves as an appointee of the Governor to the North Carolina Banking Commission.[24] Cunningham serves on the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Committee.

Awards, honors, community service

Cunningham has been recognized for his leadership by his selection as one of the Jaycees’ Outstanding Young North Carolinians and with the Distinguished Service Award.[25] In 2007, he was selected one of the Triad’s Forty Leaders Under Forty.[26]

For his military service, Cunningham has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (3x), the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (2x), the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device (2x) and the Parachutist Badge.

In 2009, Cunningham was awarded the General Douglas MacArthur Award for Leadership for his ground-breaking work in Iraq.[20][27]

During college at UNC-Chapel Hill, Cunningham was inducted into the Golden Fleece Honorary Society[28] and the Order of the Grail-Valkyries[29] for his work in positions of student leadership. He was also inducted into the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society for his academic work.

Cunningham appeared as a panelist on the American Public Television program, The Struggle for Moral Leadership, a series of two one-hour programs that explore ethics and morality in political leadership, which was moderated by Harvard University professor Arthur Miller and included political analyst George Stephanopoulos.[30]

In 2007, Cunningham was selected for a Marshall Memorial Fellowship[31] and traveled to Belgium, France, Italy, Denmark and Poland to meet with government and civic leaders about Trans-Atlantic security, combating Islamic extremism and terrorism.[32]

Cunningham has received a Pro Bono Impact Award and recognition from Legal Aid of Forsyth County for legal representation of victims of domestic violence and of tenants in disputes with their landlords.[33]

Cunningham served from 2002-2005 as a Deacon at the First Presbyterian Church of Lexington and a partial term in 2006-07 as an Elder on the Session. He resigned from the Session for his deployment to Iraq.

Personal life

Cunningham lives in Lexington with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, Caroline (b. 2002) and Will (b. 2003). In 2007, Cunningham and his wife ran their fifth marathon together in Lake Tahoe. They have a golden retriever named Davidson.

Notes and references

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  2. ^ Charlotte Observer: Does panel not think Marshall can beat Burr?
  3. ^ Cunningham campaign site
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  27. ^ News & Observer: Cunningham wins Army award
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  30. ^$FILE/Struggle%20Moral%20Leadership.doc
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