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Whatever the reason — quirk of the law, a desire by a conservative governor to prevent a heavily Democratic district from sending another Democrat to Washington or a combination of both — the delay announced yesterday by Gov. McCrory in filling the vacancy brought about by Congressman Mel Watt’s recent resignation from his seat in the 12th congressional district is simply and flat-out wrong.  Even if special, stand-alone elections would cost some money that the state would rather not spend during tight times, the notion that nearly 800,000 people will have no representation in the U.S. House of Representatives for an entire year is simply ridiculous.

McCrory (and legislative leaders, if necessary) should go back to the drawing board and fashion a better solution ASAP lest he people of the 12th start making noises about “no taxation without representation.”

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The NC League of Conservation Voters and the national League of Conservation Voters issued its 2011 National Environmental Scorecard this week, ranking the North Carolina Congressional delegation on environmental issues. There were no surprises with Senator Kay Hagan receiving a perfect score and Representative Virginia Foxx receiving the lowest score.

The group said 2011 revealed the most anti-environmental session in history of the US House but the Senate and the Obama administration stood up against the assault on environmental laws and public health safeguards, stopping many dangerous bills.  Republicans ranked lowest with Burr, McHenry, Myrick and Ellmers scoring in the single digits.

 

 

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The good people at Common Cause are out with a powerful new report this morning on the extent of the fracking industry’s skyrocketing political expenditures. This is from the report (“Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets in Congress”):

“From 2001 through June 2011, the fracking industry gave $20.5 million to current members of Congress and spend $276 million on lobbying.”

This is from a release from Common Cause of North Carolina that accompanied the release of the report: Read More

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Put it on a bumper sticker. For Brad Miller, or any other Democrat who is considering a run against Elizabeth Dole, your campaign does not need to be any more complicated than that.

Voters need to be relentlessly reminded that Elizabeth Dole has been nothing more than a loyal lap-dog for George Bush. His administration, and Dole’s judgement, have been disastrous both for our country and for North Carolina.

Rather than do any actual research for this post, and with all the same humility that Dick Cheney displayed when in 2000 his Vice-Presidential search committee chose himself, let me humbly link to my previous post The President’s Tool.

One final thought. North Carolina is a state that is proud of it’s military heritage. I think it is a fair question to ask Senator Dole whether she thinks her decisions have strengthened or harmed the military institutions in North Carolina. From the Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune, to the soldiers at Fort Bragg who now have multiple 12-15 month deployments, to the North Carolina National Guard soldiers many of whom face a second deployment, and to the recruiting and retention of soldiers.

Senator Dole: are North Carolina military families better off now than when you were elected? If not, what responsibility do you accept for the decisions you have made?

Regardless of who runs against Dole, someone at NC Democratic headquarters needs to get the message out and start distributing Dole = Bush bumper stickers.

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american flagLegislators did a lot this week to help North Carolina military service members and veterans. The Goldsboro News Argus reported that U.S. Senator Richard Burr reintroduced the “Services to Prevent Veterans Homelessness Act” which will provide supportive services to keep low-income veterans from becoming homeless. The bill increases veterans’ access to housing, physical and mental health services, health insurance, as well as vocational and financial counseling.

In a statement Sen. Burr said,

I am grateful to the veterans who have given so much to our country. While we can never fully repay them for their service on behalf of our Nation, it is important that we remember their sacrifices and provide services for them. Many of our veterans find themselves living in extreme poverty and some are homeless. This legislation will help ensure our veterans receive access to the benefits they deserve.

State legislators also took steps to help military families by introducing two new bills. House Bill 773, sponsored by Rep. Grier Martin, will protect military service members and their families from predatory insurance practices. Another draft bill, sponsored by Reps. Martin, Bordsen, Glazier and Underhill establishes a consumer protection position in the NC Attorney General’s Office to protect military service members and their families from consumer fraud.

These actions by legislators are all good. Many veterans are especially needy and deserving of our assistance.

At the same time, there are many other North Carolinians who are struggling for access to affordable housing, physical and mental health services and who also need consumer protections.

It seems there’s a message implicit in these bills that some people deserve assistance and protection but others don’t. The view seems to be that while veterans deserve housing assistance and protection from predatory consumer practices, other hardworking and honest (but vulnerable) people should fend for themselves. Isn’t it time for government to assure that all Americans have a real opportunity to participate in the American dream? What better way could there be to validate the sacrifice of our veterans than to improve the fairness and equity of the country for which they sacrificed so much?