Displaying items by tag: north carolina

fr hippsJane Hipps was quickly anointed front-runner status in the Democratic primary for N.C. Senate — from the day she entered the race, in fact — but the victory she pulled out was the epitome of a clean sweep.

It’s been over a year since North Carolina began the rollout of a new computer program called NC FAST, for North Carolina Families Accessing Services through Technology. The system was supposed to make it easier to process applications for social services like Food and Nutrition Services, Work First and Medicaid, but it’s not smooth sailing yet.

Next week is decision time for voters who disagree with the new conservative tack of North Carolina’s policy makers and want to reverse the emergent Republican majority now at the state’s helm.


A trio of Republican candidates have lined up to challenge N.C. Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, for his District 119 House seat. One is barely old enough to drink, one campaigned for Barry Goldwater and one features Second Amendment-chest thumping on his website: “United Nations – stay out of NC!”

fr hippsNorth Carolina’s District 50 senator represents the state’s seven western counties. In 2010, Sen. Jim Davis (R-Franklin) narrowly wrested the seat from incumbent John Snow but then beat Snow by a much-wider margin in 2012. 

op frSome teacher a long time ago explained to my class of intro to political science undergrads the difference between a statesman and a representative. The statesman, once elected, votes his conscience and does not necessarily bend with the whims of voters; the representative votes according to the wishes of their constituency. That’s a notable difference. What’s confusing, though, is when a leader goes both ways, depending on which is most convenient.

 

As Haywood leaders try to convince Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, to support a hike in the room tax from 4 to 6 percent that almost everyone who holds elected office in the county favors, I was reading what she had said about the tax and trying to figure out where her opposition is coming from.

Stagnating pay for North Carolina teachers is prompting some local school leaders to dig a little deeper for salary bonuses at the county level.

fr votinglawsNew controversial voting laws passed by the N.C. General Assembly last year were supposed to take effect in 2016, but the timeline will ultimately come down to lawsuits challenging their constitutionality.

op frBy Martin Dyckman • Guest Columnist

Even authoritarian regimes like Russia’s pretend to respect the right to vote. The contrast with authentic democracies is defined by these factors: the ease or difficulty of actually casting a vote, how honestly it is counted, and whether it even matters.

Democracy in North Carolina is failing miserably on two of them.

First, the Republican majority in Raleigh rigged the voting districts to guarantee their control of the General Assembly even before the people’s votes are cast and counted. The parties are contesting barely half the seats this year. Nearly a third are entirely unopposed.

op fr“The less you know, the more you believe.”

– Bono

Quality journalism is a powerful force. I’ve been fortunate to be able to witness that truth often during my career in the newspaper business. I’ve seen stories that helped the afflicted, honored the deserving, and brought down the powerful. I’ve been involved in stories that brought tears of joy to a mother’s eyes and tears of regret from an arrogant leader. I’ve held my notebook in hand and listened to someone who asks us for their trust tell such bald-faced lies it shocked even a jaded reporter.

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The Naturalist's Corner

Back Then with George Ellison

  • One of the Smokies’ finest poets
    One of the Smokies’ finest poets Editor’s note: This Back Then column by George Ellison first appeared in the Feb. 15, 2012, edition of The Smoky Mountain News. Olive Tilford Dargan is fairly well known in literary circles as the author of From My Highest Hill (1941), a delightful collection of autobiographical…
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