Representative Carla Cunningham represents the 106th District in the North Carolina State House of Representatives. Before being elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 2012, Carla was working as a Hospice Nurse and fulfilling her appointment to the North Carolina Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. An active civic and community leader, she is a recognized national advocate for women and children, Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse, and Healthcare.
For more than 30 years, Carla practiced as a health care professional in North Carolina. She has experience in multiple nursing fields, which include Intensive Care, Coronary Care, Medical-Surgical, Neurology, Pediatrics, Geriatrics, Home-Health, Industrial Nursing, Nursing Education, Nursing Management, and Hospice Nursing.
In her commitment to accessible healthcare, in 2009, as a community activist Carla served as co-chair of the Charlotte Health Care Coalition (CHCC), a grassroots organization that unified numerous community groups to march in support of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Her civic commitments include serving as Precinct Chair of Precinct 213 for eight years. She served on the Mecklenburg County Black Political Caucus GOTV Committee in 2007. She served as Chair of the Sunstone Community Organization for seven years. As well as, Minority Affairs Chair for the 12th Congressional District for two terms and the Faith-based Liaison for the Presidential primary campaign for Barack Obama in Mecklenburg County in 2008.
Carla is a Member of the American Nurses Association, North Carolina Nursing Association, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 2017, The Speaker of the NC House appointed her to serve on Minority Health Advisory Council, and the Council of State Governments (CSG) Health Public
Policy Committee. In 2016, she was appointed to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee as an Advisory Member on the Health and Human Services Oversight Committee for her work on Suicide Prevention. She served as Vice-Chair of Health Affairs for the Council of State Government in 2015-2017. Additionally, she served as Chair of the Democratic House Caucus Women’s Issues Work Group 2015-2017 and as Vice-Chair of the Joint Legislative Women’s Caucus in 2015-2017. She currently serves as Chair of the Democratic Women House Caucus. For the 2019 -2020 session, Rep. Carla Cunningham was elected by her colleagues to serve as a Democratic House Caucus Whip. In the 2019 -2020 Long Session the Speaker of the NC House appointed her to serve on the following committees Appropriations, Appropriations Health and Human Services, Commerce, Energy and Public Utilities, Health and Wildlife Resources. She has also served on the North Carolina Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services at the pleasure of Governor Beverly Perdue and Governor Roy Cooper.
In 2010, Carla received the Rosa Parks Award for Innovative Leadership from the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party and The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 from President Barack Obama and Organizing for America. In 2011, she and a local grass works organization known as the Charlotte Healthcare Coalition received the Courage Award from the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte Mecklenburg, for Healthcare Leadership. In 2014, she was awarded the H. Keith Brunnemer, Jr. Award from the Mental Health Association for outstanding Contributions to Mental Health in the area of Legislative Leadership. In 2015, she was awarded the Certificate of Excellence Award as the 2015 Regional Council Legislative Honoree for being a champion for Mental Health and Addiction treatment from Mental Health America. In 2017, she was the recipient of the ERA-NC Champion Award 2015-2017. As well as, the recipient of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention NC-Chapter 2017 Legislative Lifesaver Award for her legislative work on Suicide Prevention.
She is a staunch Advocate for health care, mental health, seniors, women, and children. Her passion for people causes her to continue to bring to the forefront the issues that impact everyday people and their quality of life in North Carolina.
Carla is a respected voice in North Carolina. She advocates and lead efforts toward respectful dialog for greater understanding among people of different backgrounds and points of view.
Carla is a native North Carolinian born in Wadesboro, North Carolina in 1962. She graduated from Anson Senior High school in 1980. In 1981, she graduated from Central Piedmont Community College Licensed Practical Nurse program earning her diploma. In 1996, she graduated from Gaston College earning an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing. In 2009, she graduated with honors from Winston Salem State University earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.
Carla is the Widow of the Honorable William “Pete” Cunningham, mother of two children, Kamesha and Kyle, grandmother of Janiya, Sade, Roman, and great grandmother of Carson.