Background and education

My grandparents, Louis and Helen Hill, lived at 318 S. Academy Street. They moved to Cary from Carteret County in the 1950s. Helen was a career educator at Kingswood Elementary School and Louis was director of accounting for the N.C. Department of Revenue. The Hills attended First Methodist Church on Academy Street where they were a long-time fixture in the adult Sunday school class. Helen resided in the Glenaire Retirement Community for the last 10 years of her life.

I spent a lot of time at their house on Academy Street growing up. My family would go to Cary to shop, go to the library, visit our dentist (Dr. Dan Howell — now my sons' dentist) and more. I remember picking pecans behind the downtown library and going to the Gourd Festival. One memorable rite of passage was the first time my grandmother allowed me walk to Ashworth's to pick up lunch.

My parents are Josh and Irene (Hill) Talton of Leesville Church Road in North Raleigh. My mom was Cary High class of 1968 and my Uncle Thom was Cary High class of 1970. My dad was raised in Raleigh and graduated from Broughton High School. My mother became a teacher, launching the extended day program at Fred Olds Elementary and later teaching art at Jeffrey's Grove Elementary. My dad is a civil engineer in private practice and served as the professional engineer on many development projects in Cary and Morrisville during the 80's and 90's.

My paternal grandfather was Percy Flowers Jr. of Johnston County. Percy Jr. (as he was known) tragically died in a plane crash in 1953. His wife Margaret remarried Fred Talton of Clayton and moved the young family to Raleigh where Fred was an accountant with Peat Marwick. Upon his retirement Fred was appointed the North Carolina State Controller under Governor Jim Martin. Margaret spent time as a stay-at-home-mom of four children, and also worked at times as a librarian in the Wake County schools.

My wife, Holly (Smith) Talton, grew up in Cary in one of the first families in the Lochmere Subdivision. Her parents still live in Cary on Summerwinds Drive. Holly's mother, Dr. Judy Waters Smith, is a career educator who has worked at Millbrook High, Green Hope High, Southeast Raleigh High, and currently works at Enloe High. Holly's dad was an executive with CP&L, Progress Energy, and recently retired from Duke Energy. DeWitt and Judy also operate Smith Farms in Sampson County. The Smiths both grew up in farm families in Wayne and Sampson county and originally came to Raleigh to attend college at N.C. State and Meredith.

Education and career

I am a proud product of Wake County magnet schools where I attended Wiley Elementary, Martin Middle and Enloe High. I graduated from N.C. State in 2001 with a B.S. in History with a minor in Spanish. I then continued my education at Rutgers University School of Law where I received my J.D. in 2004. While at Rutgers, I was honored to be a Marshall Brennan Fellow and had the opportunity to teach constitutional law to students at one of the most underprivileged high schools in the country.

After law school, I took a position in Miami as an attorney at the Public Defender's office where I continued to improve my Spanish.

In 2006, I moved back to Cary to get married, and I shifted my work focus to civil matters. I became active in the N.C. Advocates for Justice and have held several leadership roles within the organization including two years on the Board of Governors.

I now sit on the N.C. Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. This commission is a result of the American Bar Association's call for action on the subject. The stakeholders on the commission are a bipartisan group of prosecutors, judges, police chiefs, criminal defense attorneys and civil rights advocates.

I was honored to receive the distinction of Emerging Legal Leader by North Carolina Lawyers' Weekly Newspaper in 2011.

I currently practice with the firm of Tatum and Atkinson in Raleigh. I focus my practice in civil litigation of injury, insurance, real estate and workers compensation cases. I enjoy speaking Spanish on a daily basis in my work.

Family life

I met my wife in Miami in 2004. Holly is a former concert violinist and was working as one of the concertmasters (first chair violin) of the New World Symphony. Holly left Cary at the age 14 to attend the N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. She also holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Indiana University and a Masters of Music in Violin Performance from Rice University. She now owns a private Suzuki violin studio in Downtown Cary where she works with violinists as young as 3.

We live in Downtown Cary on Dowell Dr. with our two young boys, Louis and Witt. Louis is 7 and a rising second grader. Witt is 5 and will start kindergarten this fall. Both boys are at Cary Elementary. We also have a sweet dog, Olive, who has been described as "mutt-tastic" on more than one occasion.