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Victory wave not a slam dunk for GOP

RALEIGH — As North Carolina’s legislative session draws to a close and we enter the last quarter of the 2014 campaign, Democrats are hoping it will be a rerun of 1998. Republicans are hoping that it will be a rerun of 2010.Bu it may not look much like either cycle.Let’s examine the Democratic scenario first. In 1998, Republicans held both chambers of the U.S. Congress and a number of legislative chambers, including the North Carolina House. Bill Clinton...

18 hours ago | | | Email

Fair pay for our teachers

North Carolina’s teachers this week provided a good lesson for those who sit in their classrooms: If you want something bad enough, don’t stop chasing it.After a budget compromise was struck on Tuesday, teachers across North Carolina will enjoy the largest raise in North Carolina’s history that comes without a tax increase, a robust 7 percent. That would boost pay for early career teachers to about $35,000 a year, ranking the state about 32nd in the country; curre...

1 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

Republicans’ state budget isn’t kinder and gentler

There are two pieces of good news about the final state budget agreement released this week. One is listed explicitly in the 260-page budget document. The other is how legislative leaders are presenting the plan.Teachers in North Carolina are getting a raise. That is the explicit part. Despite the claims otherwise, it is not the biggest overall percentage increase in state history, though newer teachers are getting a double-digit increase. Some veteran teachers are receiving less t...

1 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

Budget well worth difficult journey

RALEIGH — It’s the journey, not the destination, that matters most — or so we have been assured by deep thinkers ranging from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Steven Tyler. When it comes to North Carolina’s revised 2014-15 state budget, however, the journey proved to be less an idyllic journey through the countryside than a drive through rush-hour traffic with a station wagon full of cranky kids.It took longer than expected for the House and Senate to resolve their di...

1 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

NC losing its war on gay marriage

It seems fitting somehow that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced the decision that marks another major step toward marriage equality in North Carolina this week, just a few days after the General Assembly voted to allow charter schools in the state to discriminate against gay students.It’s a perfect microcosm of what’s happening these days in North Carolina and how out of touch our leaders are with the attitudes of people.The federal appeals cour...

2 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

GOP poised to push ahead in Robeson

The General Election is looming. The question of whether Republicans are electable in Robeson has been answered. Can enough Republicans now be elected to make a difference?Robeson has elected a Republican state legislator, county commissioner and councilmen. A Republican governor, U.S. senator and congressman now represent Robeson as well. Many conservative Democrats already lead Robeson and carry a Democrat card out of tradition if nothing else. As one of the poorest counties in t...

2 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

Citizens must step up to fix our ailing county

Robeson County suffers from an extraordinary number of maladies which negatively impact our quality of life. Race and culture, apathy toward our leadership and political process, lame educational system, attitude of dependency, high crime and property tax rates, littered roadways, obesity and diet, drug use, lack of jobs, and county commissioners with extra-ordinary benefits.

3 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

COMtech invited input at Thursday event

This Thursday’s business mixer at Mariani’s will include something more than the typical snack and chat with prizes. COMtech will be seeking input from attendees on a variety of topics and new initiatives set to roll out this fall. You’ll have to drop by between 5 and 7 p.m. to catch them all, but here are a few to stir your interest.

3 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

The truth about the unemployment rate

RALEIGH — Several readers have corresponded with me recently about my series of columns on North Carolina’s recent drop in unemployment. Why, they ask, am I devoting so much of my attention to this issue?There are two reasons. First, the performance of North Carolina’s labor market over the past year is of great importance. The economy is the No. 1 concern of most North Carolinians, be they regular voters or political bystanders.

4 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

Working across the aisle yields successes

As your representative, it’s a priority of mine to build relationships across the aisle and find pragmatic solutions to the problems facing our nation. Now — more than ever — our families, our students, our workers and our veterans need real solutions. You deserve solutions to help create jobs, build a healthy economy, provide more opportunity and ensure access to quality health care. I’ve had a busy week in Congress, and we have made good progress to pass bipartisan s...

6 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

‘Man of the hour’

It’s been said that if you put two infants in a crib that they will get along fine. Add a third, however, and chaos is assured.That was the challenge in Robeson County in the last 1960s and early 1970s when word came from Washington, D.C., that the nation’s public schools must be desegregated, which could only be achieved by massive busing as this nation’s homes were clustered by color.It was an explosive time across the country, especially in the Jim C...

6 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

Report: NC children lag in well-being

While folks inside the beltline in Raleigh were parsing every rumor about the budget dance between House and Senate leaders, a new national report provided a stark reminder of just how out of touch the negotiators in the corner rooms of the Legislative Building are with many of the people they represent.The 2014 Kids County Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released this week ranks North Carolina 34th in the overall well-being of its children and 38th in their economic w...

8 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

The Left goes both ways on tax issues

RALEIGH — When liberals debate tax policy, it can be hard to keep track of their current positions. They keep changing.Right now, for example, Democratic politicians and left-wing activists are castigating Republicans in the General Assembly for proposing a reduction or elimination of North Carolina’s tax credit for film and television production. They say that the tax break, with a state fiscal impact of $61 million a year, is critical to luring and retaining businesse...

8 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

Lack of confidence

The director of the Robeson County Housing Authority has been found guilty of nothing, and there should be a presumption of innocence until the facts no longer allow for such benevolence.But the allegations against Ronald Oxendine, who is now suspended with pay from that job, are disturbing. Unfortunately these types of allegations are increasingly routine, not only in Robeson County, but everywhere — betraying an incredible lack of oversight when it comes to taxpayer dollars...

9 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

CJ all over upcoming election coverage

RALEIGH — As the North Carolina General Assembly continues to wind down its legislative work for 2014, my Carolina Journal colleagues are already turning their attention toward what promises to be a fascinating midterm election cycle.The marquee race, obviously, is the U.S. Senate contest between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, with Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh currently polling in the high-single digits. It is conceivable that ...

9 days 18 hours ago | | | Email

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