Archives

Uncategorized

With May settling in, we take a look back at a few moments in the past month of politics and policy issues that really affected North Carolinians: From budget cuts that leave schools with fewer resources to President Obama visiting UNC, to the distracting “culture war” that the General Assembly has thrown at North Carolinians. We’ve compiled these and other moments in the brief video below:

YouTube Preview Image

What are some progressive policy issues you can think of from the past month relating to the state of things in North Carolina? Share with us in the comments.
Read More

Uncategorized

Raleigh residents vote tomorrow, October 11, on bonds for affordable housing and transportation. At a time when Raleigh residents continue to pay higher rent prices amidst dwindling incomes, seniors find it more and more difficult to stay in safe homes, and the state faces a deteriorating infrastructure problem, voters have an opportunity to support programs that lead to better long-term economic growth. Moreover, record-low interest rates and high unemployment make now an especially cost-effective time to borrow and invest in the city of Raleigh. Read More

Uncategorized

If you missed News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon over the weekend, you can now listen to the full show online.

Among our guests, State Treasurer Janet Cowell discusses tax modernization, the state pension system, and a proposal to move the state health plan under her department’s watch.

Also be sure to check out the rest of the show with Rep. Verla Insko on setting-up a fair health care exchange system, and Gene Nichol on protecting NC’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

To hear part of the interview with Treasurer Cowell discussing House Bill 161, click below:
YouTube Preview Image

The full radio interview with Treasurer Cowell can be heard here.

Uncategorized

Felipe Matos is among the top 20 community college students in America, but he’s ineligible for financial aid at the top universities that have accepted him. Gaby Pacheco has three education degrees and plans to use music therapy as a teaching tool for autistic children and adults. Brought to the United States at age 2, Carlos Roa wanted to join the military but could not because of his immigration status.

Three months ago, they embarked on Trail of Dreams, a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to Washington.  These students are facing much more than sore feet; several are undocumented, and they risk deportation and detention to share their stories and raise awareness about the need for just immigration reform.

These students exemplify why support is growing for the DREAM Act, federal legislation that would enable students brought to the U.S. at a young age to legally access higher education and financial aid. Every year, 65,000 students graduate U.S. high schools but are denied a college education because of our broken and unjust immigration system.  These students include valedictorians, class presidents and community leaders.  Yet they are refused the opportunity to further their education and give back to America — the country they see as their home.

Just graduating high school can be more challenging for undocumented students than for their peers; they often must learn English as a second language, take care of family responsibilities that their parents cannot manage without understanding English, overcome low socio-economic status and all that that entails, and cope with the psychological trauma of living in fear of deportation.

Trail of Dreams, which made its way through the Triangle last week, is a journey of hope for these students and the 12 million undocumented migrants in the United States.

For more information, check out the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s Statement of Support.

Uncategorized

The North Carolina Housing Coalition gave Susan Fisher, a state representative from Asheville, its Legislator of the Year Award.

The choice of Fisher marks a change in some of the gospel within housing circles.  Fisher has championed the reform of our state’s manufactured housing. The underlying principal of her aims should make sense to other “housers“, as manufactured housing provides shelter for the least well off in the state – families earning less than half of median family income.

Still, it is a new direction. Advocates from both inside and outside of North Carolina have resisted seeing the light on manufactured housing for years.

Fisher sponsored and helped to pass H1700, “Prevent Displacement of Manufactured Homes,” which gives park owners a tax incentive to sell their mobile home parks to resident groups.  It covers sales to non-profit groups, or even to resident-owned cooperatives.

Chris Estes, the Housing Coalition’s Executive Director, framed Fisher’s work within broader concerns to address our manufactured housing. “Mobile homes house 18 percent of the North Carolina residents. They are on the largest source of non-subsidized affordable housing in the state,” he added. These days, the sector makes  one-third of all housing starts in North Carolina.

Fisher accepted the award but acknowledged that more can be done.  She emphasized how it fit within goals for  homeownership. Perhaps she was reaching out to state leaders attending the Summit.  Sen. Joe Sam Queen, who arrived later and reiterated several longstanding critiques of manufactured housing, but remains dedicated to increasing homeownership.