NCDP Clips 11/13

GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEWS  

Politics podcast: Local elections and sexual harassment in state government
News & Observer // November 10, 2017

Summary: “This week, towns and cities across North Carolina held elections, and Democrats won big in major cities. We’ll talk about what it means for 2018. We’ll also look at this week’s court loss for Gov. Roy Cooper, how state government handles sexual harassment complaints, and construction delays at a psychiatric hospital that was supposed to open years ago. As always, we also pick a Headliner of the Week.”

Proposed Pender aquarium funding questioned
Star News Online // Tim Buckland // November 13, 2017
Summary: “Raiford Trask said he is surprised — even if he admits he shouldn’t be — that his idea for a state-run aquarium on his planned development in Pender County has generated so much controversy. “Maybe I shouldn’t have been, given today’s political climate, but I was surprised,” Trask said in an interview at his small office on Eastwood Road last week. “I think it’s very unfortunate, particularly for elected representatives who are doing the right thing to be targeted because of it.””

  • “it also led to accusations that Trask wants the state to pay for the building, give it to him, then rent it from him, a scenario N.C. Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, said was told to him “by multiple sources.” Other state legislators from the area did not dispute that scenario when asked about it last month, but Trask called it “the craziest idea I have heard in a while.””
  • “I think that its a different way to approach what the state has always done on its own in the past with a public-private partnership this time,” said N.C. Rep. Holly Grange, R-New Hanover. “I think it’s a good project and the details will be worked out between (DNCR) and Raiford Trask.”
  • N.C. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, worked with Grange to amend the language originally introduced by Millis, leading to accusations — and the ethics complaint — that Grange and Rabon were trying to ram the building’s construction through without going through proper channels.

Senate gears up on judicial redistricting
WRAL // Travis Fain // November 8, 2017

Summary: “Experts raised questions Wednesday about the constitutionality not only of proposed new judicial districts in North Carolina, but the state’s current ones as well. Years of inattention, preceded by decades of political tinkering, left the districts North Carolina uses to elect judges with unbalanced populations in faster-growing urban areas. That opens them to constitutional attack, a pair of attorneys with a long history in state government told state senators gathered to discuss controversial judicial reforms.”

Town hall meeting in Fayetteville to protest big changes to how judges are elected
Fayetteville Observer // Paul Woolverton // November 9, 2017

Summary: “Progressive activist groups are holding what they describe as an “empty chair town hall” meeting in Fayetteville on Saturday to protest efforts by the North Carolina legislature to reshape how the state picks its judges. Their meeting starts at 1 p.m. at the J.D. Fuller Recreation Center at 6627 Old Bunce Road. It’s called an “empty chair” town hall because lawmakers who don’t attend will be represented on stage with an empty chair if they have not signed a pledge to oppose the proposed changes.”

Our view: Keep politics out of court redistricting
Fayetteville Observer // Editorial // November 9, 2017

Summary: “The North Carolina lawmakers who are leading efforts to redraw the state’s judicial districts say the old districts are terribly out of date and don’t conform to actual growth patterns in many of the state’s counties. Some districts are too large to be manageable and others too small to be useful. They’re right, and most legislators in both parties agree. The trouble is, it appears that the Republicans who are leading the remapping effort are putting a premium on getting more Republican judges elected, instead of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the state’s judicial districts.”

State denies school construction grant
Rocky Mount Telegram // Amelia Harper // November 10, 2017

Summary: “A grant requested by Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools to aid in the potential consolidation of three elementary schools into one new facility was denied by the N.C. State Board of Education this week. The grant request was for $15 million from the new Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund to go toward construction of the new school facility. The fund — more than $100 million over the next two years — was provided by the N.C. General Assembly to assist lower-wealth counties with critical public school building capital needs.”

  GOV. COOPER NEWS  

Governor Cooper reflects on first year in office in WITN interview
WITN // November 9, 2017

Summary: “Wednesday marked one year since the 2016 general election that saw Democrat Roy Cooper defeat Republican Pat McCrory for governor here in North Carolina…WITN’s Dave Jordan sat down with Governor Cooper for a one-on-one interview, to get his take, as he nears the completion of his first year in office. ”

Gov. Cooper introduces new job readiness program in Burlington 
My Fox // Nick Sturdivant // November 9, 2017

Summary: “Thursday, Cooper paid a visit to Williams High School to introduce the new initiative. Burlington is one of the eight areas from across the state picked by Cooper to be a part of the JNCG program. “We find all over the state, employers who say that they have jobs that they are having a hard time filling,” Cooper said. “A high school degree is not enough to get these kinds of jobs in advanced manufacturing. So, what we are doing here is working to let kids understand and their families understand that there are a lot of jobs out there.””

Gov. Cooper visits Williams, touts job ed program
Asheville Times-News // November 9, 2017

Summary: “Gov. Roy Cooper visited Williams High School on Thursday, Nov. 9, to announce a $2 million grant for the Jobs for North Carolina’s Graduates program. Williams is one of seven high schools in North Carolina selected for the national Jobs for America’s Graduates programs.”Democrats smell opportunity in the South after Virginia rout
POLITICO // Gabriel Debenedetti // November 13, 2017

Summary: “National Democrats are seeing glimmers of electoral hope flickering across the deep red South for the first time in years. Fresh off sweeping victories in Virginia, and eyeing a possible historic upset in Alabama, the party is looking ahead to a political environment next year defined by both energized liberal base voters and discouraged conservatives. That, combined with an intraparty GOP war, has liberal leaders taking a new look at Senate, gubernatorial and House races in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Mississippi, in addition to next month’s contest in Alabama.”

  • “It depends on how the Democratic Party plays it: If they work under the assumption that simply not being Republican is enough, then they’re in for a big disappointment,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards — one of just two Southern Democratic governors outside of Virginia — who, like North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, frequently speaks with candidates in the region to offer advice. 

  KEY TARGETS NEWS – HOUSE  

Donny Lambeth

Maine’s Medicaid expansion vote not likely to boost NC’s odds
Winston-Salem Journal // Richard Craver // November 11, 2017

Summary: “The vote to expand Medicaid in Maine — despite the protests of its Republican governor — is expected to cause limited ripple effects in North Carolina, elected officials and analysts said. Maine voters used a referendum to overcome five vetoes of expansion legislation by Gov. Paul LePage. It becomes the 32nd state to expand Medicaid coverage as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.”

  • Rep. Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) and the legislature’s leading health-care expert, said it could be December before he gets an update on the waiver request from federal health agencies. Lambeth said he would be surprised if there was support for a voter referendum from Republican legislative leaders.”

Ted Davis

Proposed Pender aquarium funding questioned
Star News Online // Tim Buckland // November 13, 2017
Summary: “Raiford Trask said he is surprised — even if he admits he shouldn’t be — that his idea for a state-run aquarium on his planned development in Pender County has generated so much controversy. “Maybe I shouldn’t have been, given today’s political climate, but I was surprised,” Trask said in an interview at his small office on Eastwood Road last week. “I think it’s very unfortunate, particularly for elected representatives who are doing the right thing to be targeted because of it.””

  • “it also led to accusations that Trask wants the state to pay for the building, give it to him, then rent it from him, a scenario N.C. Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, said was told to him “by multiple sources.” Other state legislators from the area did not dispute that scenario when asked about it last month, but Trask called it “the craziest idea I have heard in a while.””
  • “I think that its a different way to approach what the state has always done on its own in the past with a public-private partnership this time,” said N.C. Rep. Holly Grange, R-New Hanover. “I think it’s a good project and the details will be worked out between (DNCR) and Raiford Trask.”
  • N.C. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, worked with Grange to amend the language originally introduced by Millis, leading to accusations — and the ethics complaint — that Grange and Rabon were trying to ram the building’s construction through without going through proper channels.

Bob Steinburg

Steinburg sees prison staffing crisis
Daily Advance // Reggie Ponder // November 8, 2017

Summary: “An area lawmaker said Sunday that a recent rash of resignations among prison employees statewide could soon lead to a staffing crisis in the state’s prisons. State Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, said Sunday he has learned from sources within the N.C. Division of Prisons that some 80 prison employees put in separation requests in the past week. Beyond that, there have been 686 separation requests filed by employees of the N.C. Department of Public Safety since Sept. 1 and 80 percent of those are in the Division of Prisons, according to Steinburg.”

Holly Grange

Proposed Pender aquarium funding questioned
Star News Online // Tim Buckland // November 13, 2017
Summary: “Raiford Trask said he is surprised — even if he admits he shouldn’t be — that his idea for a state-run aquarium on his planned development in Pender County has generated so much controversy. “Maybe I shouldn’t have been, given today’s political climate, but I was surprised,” Trask said in an interview at his small office on Eastwood Road last week. “I think it’s very unfortunate, particularly for elected representatives who are doing the right thing to be targeted because of it.””

  • “it also led to accusations that Trask wants the state to pay for the building, give it to him, then rent it from him, a scenario N.C. Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, said was told to him “by multiple sources.” Other state legislators from the area did not dispute that scenario when asked about it last month, but Trask called it “the craziest idea I have heard in a while.””
  • “I think that its a different way to approach what the state has always done on its own in the past with a public-private partnership this time,” said N.C. Rep. Holly Grange, R-New Hanover. “I think it’s a good project and the details will be worked out between (DNCR) and Raiford Trask.”
  • N.C. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, worked with Grange to amend the language originally introduced by Millis, leading to accusations — and the ethics complaint — that Grange and Rabon were trying to ram the building’s construction through without going through proper channels.

  KEY TARGET NEWS – SENATE  

 

Tamara Barringer

Foster kids get moved around. This could help some older kids find families. 
N&O // Lynn Bonner // November 10, 2017

Summary: “The Children’s Home Society won a $2.4 million grant from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption that will more than triple the number of workers it has looking for adoptive homes for children older than 9 years old who need parents. The state helped get the program started with $3.75 million the legislature approved a few years ago for what it called the Permanency Innovation Initiative. The Children’s Home Society gets referrals from county social services departments and collaborates with their workers.”

  • “I’m thrilled about this expansion,” said state Sen. Tamara Barringer, a Cary Republican. “We have over 12,000 children in foster care. We have a foster care crisis in North Carolina.” Half the children will not find permanent families, said Barringer, a legislative leader on child welfare issues. “They will languish in foster care.”

 NCDP NEWS & MENTIONS  

Democrats score big in Tuesday’s election – and say NC is next
N&O // Paul A. Specht // November 8, 2017

Summary: “In Fayetteville, a Democrat unseated an incumbent Republican mayor who scrutinized his legal troubles. In Charlotte, voters elected a Democrat despite the state GOP dumping $100,000 into her opponent’s campaign and trying to tie her to the previous mayor’s most controversial moves. And one state north, a Democrat not only won Virginia governor’s race but the party also at least 15 seats in the state’s House of Delegates – marking the largest shift in control of the legislature since the Watergate era. New Jersey elected a Democratic governor too.”

  • “North Carolina Democrats say the election results in and out of state show a rebuke of President Donald Trump and the divisive rhetoric that they say local Republicans employed in races across the state. Furthermore, they see reasons to believe they can gain influence in the state legislature by picking up seats in next year’s election.”
  • ““Democrats are fired up and ready to Break the Republican supermajority, and are rejecting Republican’s divisive politics, racist dog whistles, and policies that hurt our middle class,” said Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party.”
  • “The Democrats will need a “comprehensive, statewide plan” to win next year and in 2020, he said. The N.C. Democratic Party believes it’s come up with just that with their “Break the Majority” effort, a collaboration between the state party and the governor’s campaign. “There’s never been a partnership between a Democratic governor and the state party in which he is fundraising for down-the-ballot races,” said Robert Howard, the party spokesman.”

Colvin’s win, despite significant differences, wasn’t even close
Fayetteville Observer // Monica Vendituoli // November 8, 2017

Summary: “When incumbent Mayor Nat Robertson and Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin advanced from the primary election for Fayetteville mayor, many predicted that the race would be a fierce one. By nearly every measure, this was Robertson’s race to lose. He had the name recognition after two terms, plus his prior City Council tenure from 1989 to 1995 and again from 1999 to 2001…Yet, the race wasn’t even close. Colvin received 13,396 votes, or 59.1 percent, while Robertson received 9,218 votes, or 40.6 percent, according to the preliminary returns.”

Our view: Mudslinging wasn’t a useful political weapon
Fayetteville Observer // Editorial // November 8, 2017

Summary: “You really need to know which way the wind’s blowing before you start throwing dirt. Otherwise it may land right back in your face. Nat Robertson didn’t check the wind before he unloaded volley after volley of dirt-caked slime at Mitch Colvin in their Fayetteville mayoral race, and he walked straight into an electoral typhoon. He’s likely still in the shower, trying to get it off. So are a lot of voters, who might have been moved a bit by some of Mayor Pro Tem Colvin’s problems with law and regulation, but Robertson lost them when he started stuffing their mailboxes with details of Colvin’s marriage. It was a step too far — probably several steps.”

  • “It looks as if Fayetteville just got itself a strong, and we hope reinvigorated, City Council with a new leader who wants to heal the city’s divisions and accelerate its progress. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who offered their time, ideas and effort to the voters.”

 OTHER 

Nonprofit provides TV studio for Lt. Gov. Forest’s office
WRAL // Travis Fain // November 12, 2017

Summary: “A little-known group set up by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and headed by a major campaign donor has provided Lt. Gov. Dan Forest with enough television equipment to build an in-office studio. Forest’s arrangement with the North Carolina Promotion and Development Fund appears to be unique in North Carolina state government. Gov. Roy Cooper doesn’t have his own television studio, and neither does General Assembly leadership.”

MIKE CAUSEY: Signing up for ACA health coverage may be best option for many in N.C. 
WRAL // November 11, 2017

Summary: “While Congress struggles to come to a consensus on how to fix the nation’s healthcare law, North Carolina residents face limited choices when it comes to covering themselves and their families for hospital and doctor visits, along with prescriptions. For many North Carolinians, signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” might be the best option available to them. A high percentage of North Carolina enrollees will qualify for subsidies – also known as Premium Tax Credits – based on family income. Depending on your family size, you could be eligible for some amount of subsidy that would reduce your premiums.”

  • “The options, however, are more limited than they used to be. One major reason, in my opinion, is the ACA. It was supposed to make health insurance and health care more affordable. But it is my view that unfortunately, those goals of the ACA have not yet occurred. I feel the ACA has resulted in decreased competition.”

Editorial: Tax overhaul must for all, not just rig it for rich and big business
WRAL // Editorial // November 10, 2017

Summary: “Passing just about any tax-cut bill to slash corporate, estate and top income-bracket taxes is really what this is all about. President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are desperate to pass a bill, ANY bill that they can claim as a legislative victory. Who benefits from legislation that by 2026 will RAISE taxes on more than half of the country’s middle class families? Why is it GOOD policy to take money out of the pockets of the folks whose spending – on everything from groceries, appliances, vehicles, and homes – is really what drives our economy?”

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