The biggest roadblock to changing this: How do you pay for it? Tillman said cutting experienced teachers’ salaries isn’t an option. Retirement incentives might be, he said. “The plan is just in the works,” Tillman said Tuesday. “I don’t know what form it will take.”
Politics NC: Economic underdevelopment
There’s a lot of talk about North Carolina’s stubbornly high unemployment rate and job recruitment efforts lately.Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker says that we can blame a lot of our woes on people who have moved to the state to find employment but have not been successful. John Hood, President of the John Locke Foundation, says that, contrary to popular opinion, our economic sluggishness is not confined to rural areas but includes urban centers like RTP and Charlotte. Republicans’ solutions to these problem hinge on their tired mantra of less taxes and lower regulations. Gary Pearce, though, speculates that those solutions may backfire and with good reason. He asks whether companies are going to find the workforce they want in a state that underfunds education, discriminates against gays and lesbians and generally panders to the narrow-minded views of religious fundamentalists.
Gov. Pat McCrory is once again attending a private retreat with high-dollar donors and he’s taking administration officials. The two-day event that starts Thursday is hosted by Renew North Carolina Foundation, a nonprofit group formed to promote McCrory’s agenda. The organization spent $800,000 on television advertisements starring the Republican governor in September and October, when McCrory’s poll numbers were on the slide. A similar retreat in June drew more than 100 corporate representatives, special interests and wealthy donors to the luxury Grandover Resort outside Greensboro, which is also the location of this week’s event. Two tickets to the Thursday dinner with McCrory cost $1,000 and two passes for the entire retreat cost $10,000. But many of those who will attend bought a year-long members in the foundation that costs between $25,000 and $50,000, depending on the level or perks offered. The nonprofit is not required to disclose its donors and has refused requests to do so.
North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker says efforts to reduce the state’s stubbornly high unemployment rate are being hampered by too many people without jobs moving here to seek work. But the economist whose research was cited as Decker’s source for the claim said she is relying on data that is now three years old and should not be used to draw conclusions about what is currently driving the unemployment rate.
The latest chapter in the unlovely and endless story of Washington dysfunction was written last month, when much of the federal government was shut down for the first time in nearly two decades, and the country was once again brought to the brink of financial default. Among the feuds that gave rise to this disastrous turn, the ones that pitted Democrats against Republicans may well be those that tell us the least about our fractious politics. Instead, it was the close-quarters throwdown within the GOP—a fight in the House Republican Conference between the party’s centrists and its vocal Tea Party activists—that illuminates both why the shutdown happened and what it will mean for a Republican Party at war with itself. It is a narrative best told Rashomon-style, as a story of wildly divergent tellings—and ultimately as an expression of the Republican Party’s all-encompassing identity crisis.
Top campaign aides to Virginia Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe and his GOP opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, agreed Wednesday on two things about the just-concluded bitter campaign: that the federal government shutdown was a critical factor in Cuccinelli’s defeat, and that political fact-checking has become so prevalent it is in danger of become irrelevant. Chris LaCivita, who served as Cuccinelli’s chief political strategist, and Ellen Qualls, McAuliffe’s senior adviser, shared their insights on the race at a post-election forum organized by George Mason University and the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. LaCivita said that the shutdown "more than anything … is what cost us the race" because it knocked the campaign completely off-message at a critical moment.
A tea party group has launched a campaign to support primary challenges against all 87 Republicans who voted for the deal in late October to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. The Tea Party Leadership Fund, a PAC affiliated with the group TheTeaParty.net, began a fundraising push — dubbed the “Primaries for Traitors Fund” — shortly after the shutdown deal passed in the House, and they are now ramping up efforts to find “credible candidates” in each of the districts, said the fund’s treasurer, Dan Backer. “From our perspective, we see this as a signature vote. You can’t be a conservative and vote to raise the debt ceiling,” Backer said. “I recognize there are some places where voters may actually think that was the right vote. And there may be places where you have an incumbent who wins with 90% of the vote every time and there’s not a credible challenger. I recognize that, but we’re certainly going to do our best.”
Jim Messina and John Podesta, top former aides to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton respectively, are currently in talks to co-chair a board backing Hillary Clinton — a plan that, should it come to fruition, would be a dramatic early symbol of party unity behind the former secretary of state. Three sources with knowledge of the plans said Messina, an Obama insider who ran the president’s campaign last year, and Podesta, a longtime advisor to Bill Clinton, are in discussions to join the board of Priorities USA, the multimillion-dollar super PAC that backed President Obama’s reelection effort last year. The men would chair a board of former elected officials and donors who would announce their support for Clinton’s possible White House bid in 2016. Messina’s presence, in particular, would signal that key Obama loyalists have lined up behind Clinton and are ready to essentially forgo a primary.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared to call out New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for using federal funds for Hurricane Sandy relief on Wednesday. While Senator Paul joined Dom Giordano to discuss Affordable Care Act, the talk eventually turned to Gov. Christie’s reelection in the Garden State. “You called [Christie] a moderate several times,” Giordano began, in reference to a previous question about the NJ election. “What do you base that on? Well, his victory was, in large form, based on that he got a lot of federal money for his state,” Sen. Paul answered. “The problem is…unlimited spending is sort of – you could call it moderate, or even Liberal, to think that there’s an unlimited amount of money, even for good causes.”
The "Ready For Hillary" super PAC brought nearly 200 Clinton boosters to the Parker Meridien for a day of speeches and strategizing three years ahead of the vote for President Obama’s successor. The ex-senator and FLOTUS herself, of course, wasn’t present at the event — although she did appear Tuesday evening at the Manhattan premiere of "White Gold," a documentary she narrated about the plight of African elephants targeted by the Kenyan ivory trade. Among those in attendance: Former Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia chief Sharon Patrick, who effusively told the Daily News the day’s events focused more on tech-savvy methods of building strength in numbers of supporters than piles of dollars. "This is not a huge bundling situation," although members of the PAC’s finance committee are expected to both give $5,000 by the end of the year and optimally raise $20,000 more over a 16-month time horizon, Patrick said. "This is a ‘get people engaged’ situation." As for Clinton, whose praises were sung by everyone from former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to pollster Geoffrey Garin, "She’s qualified. She’s smart," Patrick said.
Elizabeth Warren is the Internet’s favorite Senator. Scan her You Tube page and you find multiple clips that have racked up more than a million views. The interest in Warren online is indicative of the broader passion within the activist base of the Democratic party and one of the key reasons why, if Warren wanted to run for president in 2016, she’d have a path.
National Journal: The Most Powerful Woman in Washington
As she steps before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday for her nomination hearing to become Federal Reserve Board chairwoman—the central bank’s first—Janet Yellen will start a journey that could deposit her in rarefied territory. If confirmed by the Senate as expected, Yellen would head an agency with broad authority to set monetary policy for the United States and almost total independence. Her words will move markets around the globe. Her term will outlast that of the president who nominated her. Yellen will arguably be the most powerful woman in Washington. “It’s just so exciting to see another barrier come down or another glass ceiling broken,” said Joyce Jacobsen, an economics professor and dean of social sciences at Wesleyan University who helped organize a letter in support of Yellen’s candidacy this September. “This is another first, just like when we had the first woman on the Supreme Court.”
The president nominated Janet Yellen, a friend and former colleague, to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. I expect she will marshal her strong intellect, meticulous preparation and ample experience to lead the central bank successfully. In the coming weeks and months, financial-market participants will try to gauge whether the change in personnel at the Fed means a change in policy. In particular, they will seek to divine whether Ms. Yellen’s views on quantitative easing will lead to still more asset purchases and a longer period of near-zero interest rates.
Teachers in New Hanover County and elsewhere have been protesting education cuts and teacher pay by wearing red T-shirts to show their support for education. Now the New Hanover County School Board is the one seeing red and putting an end to it. The district says teachers can no longer wear their "Red for Ed" shirts. "We can wear red, but we can’t wear it if it says ‘Red for Ed,’ because that is a political statement," teacher Lucas McLawhorn said.
The antiabortion bill introduced just days ago in the Senate — mirroring the House’s 20 week restrictions — is a nonsensical, unconstitutional nonstarter. But it is still dangerous — more for what it reflects in the nation than its chances of passing. The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks regardless of harm to the health of women, and criminally punish doctors for using their professional medical judgment. Constitutional rights are perhaps the most fundamental aspect of what it means to be an American. Our freedom of speech ensures that all voices — not just the well-connected or politically convenient — can be heard. Our freedoms to assemble and worship as we see fit allow us to live without government intrusion. Included in these rights is the right that every woman has to make decisions about her own body — including the deeply personal decision to continue or end a pregnancy. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, our country has firmly understood this right as essential for giving women the ability to consider the best course for themselves and their families. But recently, state legislatures across the country have enacted laws eroding this fundamental right, leaving women in some parts of the country in dire circumstances with nowhere to turn. In 2011 alone, states passed a record 92 restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. Since then, they enacted over 100 more.
Wednesday, a group of legislators introduced a different kind of abortion bill into the U.S. Senate. The Women’s Health Protection Act would outlaw all regulations on abortion that “are more burdensome than those restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures, … do not significantly advance women’s health or the safety of abortion services, and … make abortion services more difficult to access.” In layman’s terms, it would make all of the nearly 200 laws impeding abortion rights that have been enacted at the state level since 2011 illegal. “Enough is enough,” said Representative Judy Chu at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “We’ve been playing defense far too long. It’s time to stop playing Whac-A-Mole in each state. We need to provide a national response in fighting this.”
Local and state elected officials — including N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper — have joined a group aimed at working on issues affecting the LGBT community, a development that advocates say reflects growing support forLGBT rights in North Carolina. At its annual gala event in Greensboro on Saturday, left-leaning advocacy organization Equality N.C. announced the formation of N.C. Electeds for Equality. The Electeds is a slate of 31 primarily Democratic state and local elected officials, including Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Storrow and Carrboro Mayor-elect and Alderman Lydia Lavelle. The group includes one Republican. Equality N.C. spokeswoman Jen Jones said the group represents a peer network connecting legislators, mayors, county commissioners and other officials interested in discussing issues affecting the LGBT community in areas such as public health, school bullying and workplace discrimination. The group will also advocate for LGBT rights during the policymaking process. “It’s incredibly important that our state and local politicians be informed and speak on LGBT issues to people who are still conflicted on issues of equality,” Jones said.
While political analysts are trying to understand how the most recent municipal elections reflect the current climate and impact outcomes in the 2014 elections, there are two obvious conclusions of statewide note. Larger urban cities are trending more Democratic while their bedroom communities lean more Republican. Secondly, continued population shifts from rural counties to urban cities and outlying suburbs ensures statewide candidates will focus even more of their money and efforts on the 15 to 20 counties with the most population and voters.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
|Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.|