NCDP Clips for November 18, 2013

CRORY/NCGA

Dome: Democrats say McCrory administration should reimburse taxpayers for retreatOn Thursday, several members of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration attended an event in Greensboro for pro McCrory donors, and a Democratic group thinks they should reimburse the state for the cost.Progress NC Action, a Democratic group, asked for reimbursement for McCrory and his staff who attended a meeting this week at the Grandover Resort for Renew North Carolina, a pro McCrory group that has been financing the TV ads touting the governor’s accomplishments.“Renew NC should reimburse the state for any taxpayer money used to support Gov. McCrory’s reelection efforts,” said Gerrick Brenner of Progress NC.

NC Policy Watch: The Follies (of the new culture of corruption in Raleigh)
Governor Pat McCrory spent more than five years campaigning for his current job and it seemed like he couldn’t give a stump speech without complaining about what he called “the culture of corruption” in Raleigh. McCrory used the term for almost everything he didn’t like about the previous administration in Raleigh, but he most often used it when he talked about who was paying for the former governor’s campaign flights or winning state contracts or other ways that special interests had undue influence over decisions made by top state officials. McCrory promised a more transparent administration, more open and honest. He would be different. This Thursday and Friday McCrory and his top lieutenants huddled in private meetings with anonymous donors at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro to raise money for McCrory’s political organization that has already spent close to a million dollars running television ads defending McCrory’s sputtering performance in his first nine months in office.

Dome: Morning Memo: McCrory to host Facebook town hall, visit CaliforniaGov. Pat McCrory will hold a question-and-answer session on his Facebook page Monday. The event coincides with his visit to the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Monday. The governor’s office announced on Sunday that McCrory would travel to California, first visiting Google’s headquarters at 10:15 a.m. in Mountain View before stopping at Facebook at 2 p.m. The purpose of the visit was not disclosed. But the governor’s office said McCrory will meet with executives and employees from North Carolina. The Facebook Q&A starts at 5:30 p.m. on his page at facebook.com/GovernorPat.

Citizen-Times: McCrory visiting Facebook headquartersNorth Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory can update his Facebook status this week from the social networking company’s California headquarters. On Monday, McCrory is set to visit Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, Calif. McCrory’s office says the Republican is meeting with company executives and employees from North Carolina before signing a real life Facebook “wall.” McCrory is also hosting a question and answer session on his own Facebook page. People can submit questions at www.facebook.com/GovernorPat starting at 5:30 p.m.

News & Observer: Raleigh mayor wants Gov. McCrory to address delays in Dorothea Dix Park WorkMayor Nancy McFarlane is asking Gov. Pat McCrory to take a “more direct role” in efforts to craft a new agreement for Raleigh’s planned park on the Dorothea Dix property. In a letter to the governor that she released Friday, McFarlane said she’s concerned that state agencies involved have created a “pattern of delay” that has “disrupted and will continue to disrupt our abilities to meet our goals.” After Republican state legislators tried to void Raleigh’s lease on the 325-acre property earlier this year, McCrory signed what’s known as a “standstill agreement” with the city. The agreement gives the city and state a year to come up with a new arrangement to replace the lease signed by former Gov. Bev Perdue. Some Republicans have said the lease terms – worth $68 million over 75 years – were a bad deal for the state.

Politics NC: The Competitive EdgeBy their own standards, Republican economic policy has failed. For years, Raleigh conservatives droned on about the imperative of tax cuts for staying “competitive” with surrounding states. Last week,Site Selection magazine dropped us to number two in business climate after–you guessed it–neighboring Georgia. Site Selection’s surveys came after a well publicized tax cutting campaign, so Republicans cannot blame their failure on timing.The decline was predictable, based on extensive evidence. A widely quoted study found state income tax cuts do not effectively boost job creation. The same effect has held true at the international level, where countries that cut top rates didn’t achieve greater growth than their industrialized peers. More crudely, “blue states” are almost always wealthier than “red states.”Scandinavia is a better model than Guatemala.

Citizen-Times: Asheville ticket prices go up with new NC taxGet ready to pay more for theater and museum tickets.Republican-backed tax expansion starts in January and will draw new revenue from groups such as nonprofit theaters that had been exempt. The new 7 percent tax means a ticket that was $30 would increase to $32. Some box offices will sell tickets at a base price plus tax and others plan to wrap the cost into the total ticket price, said John Ellis, managing director of the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville. At for-profit companies, like movie theaters, tickets prices are also going up with the new tax that replaces an old 1 percent tax, Ellis said. The expansion is part of a GOP plan to lower tax rates by getting revenue from new sources. Museums, theaters and nonprofits had been exempt from excise taxes. Ellis said the change has “little rationale” when new tax breaks for big businesses are factored in.

U.S CONGRESS

StarNews: Hagan pushes bill to improve habitats used for fishing, huntingU.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is pushing a bill that could have a significant impact on fishing and hunting programs and habitats, including conservation efforts, in the Cape Fear region. Hagan, D-N.C., co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, recently introduced a package of legislation that would improve wildlife habitats and reform current laws and regulations that "keep people from enjoying the outdoors." "This bill is first and foremost about jobs," Hagan said in a statement. "Hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are important parts of North Carolina’s heritage, as well as crucial economic drivers in our state."

Dome: Jones, Price team up to bar personal use of PAC moneyRepublican Walter Jones and Democrat David Price Thursday introduced a bill to make it illegal for candidates or employees associated with federal political committees to use committee funds for personal activities. Federal law already bars candidates from their their personal campaign funds for personal use, but no such law prohibits candidates from using funds from leadership PACs, super PACs, corporate PACs or labor PACs.

Real Clear Politics: Pelosi: Democrats Will "Stand Tall" In Support Of ObamacareREP. NANCY PELOSI: Well, I’m very unhappy about the website, as you can just imagine the president is. But I know the makings of the legislation, and what it does for people. And, again, look, this Republican measure on Friday, what makes matters so worse, allows the marketplace to be deprived of people who should be there getting lower prices with better benefits and perhaps even a tax credit.So that wasn’t a fix, it was a make matters worse. But they’re running a political arena and you expect that. But you can’t be knocked for a loop just because somebody’s playing politics. If that was the case, we would have never passed it in the first place.

Charlotte Observer: Field hearing on health law to be held in GastoniaThe U.S. congressional hearing in Gastonia on Friday will be the first in a series of field hearings for members of Congress who want to take a closer look at how the newly implemented health care law is affecting folks at home. Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a harsh critic of the Obama administration, will bring the full House Oversight Committee to the Gaston County Courthouse. Committee members are expected to hear from local residents and business owners who have been told their premiums will increase since the new law was launched in October. Staff members expect to release a witness list early this week.

Politico: House GOP 2014 agenda starts with blank slate
Last Thursday, a group of House Republicans filed into Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Capitol office suite and received a blank piece of paper labeled “Agenda 2014.” The blank slate just about sums up where Republicans find themselves after a year marked by the first government shutdown in 17 years, futile efforts to repeal Obamacare and the inability to pass spending bills at the levels set by Republican leaders. Cantor, a Virginia Republican who is in charge of the House floor and the legislation that reaches it, is beginning to lead a reimagining, of sorts, of GOP economic policy. The agenda could help show that the GOP can solve problems instead of only serve only as perpetual combatants with President Barack Obama.

2014

CNN:Biden campaigns for vulnerable Senate Democrat

Vice President Joe Biden stumped Friday for Sen. Kay Hagan, a vulnerable Democrat up for re-election in North Carolina next year. The vice president didn’t bring up the turbulent rollout of Obamacare – an issue that’s creating heartburn for red state Democrats. Instead Biden focused on praising the first-term senator as someone who can work with Republicans on Capitol Hill. "The only way to break through this gridlock is with people who can earn the trust of people on the other team. That’s why she’s so valuable," Biden said, according to pool notes. He made his remarks at a private fundraising event for Hagan’s campaign on the campus the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With the GOP in control of the governorship and both houses of the North Carolina state legislature, national Republicans view the state as a potential pick-up in next year’s Senate race. North Carolina was one of two states that switched from Barack Obama in 2008 to Mitt Romney in 2012.

News and Observer: Hagan raises money with VP as GOP criticism risesDemocratic Sen. Kay Hagan wrapped up a difficult week in which she took heat for both defending and criticizing the health care overhaul by returning to North Carolina to get fundraising help Friday from Vice President Joe Biden. Biden girded the party faithful at a fundraising reception at the alumni center on the campus of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Neither Biden nor Hagan directly mentioned the health care law. Hagan was roundly criticized for the law by Republicans in recent weeks. The event, which benefits state and national Democrats in addition to Hagan’s campaign effort, proved to be a political refuge from national and state Republicans, their allied groups and the GOP primary candidates who want to challenge her in 2014.

Charlotte Observer: Tea party vs. the ACA: 2014 race takes shape
What’s a bigger political loser: Obamacare or the tea party? We in North Carolina are about to find out. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan surfed Barack Obama’s popularity into office in 2008, but six years later she might be sucked out on a riptide of his unpopularity – or at least his health care law’s unpopularity. With Obama floundering and his approval ratings plummeting over Obamacare’s rollout, Hagan finds herself among a handful of vulnerable Democratic senators facing reelection who are being dragged down with him. Republicans last week circulated videos in which Hagan made the same now-discredited promise Obama did. “I think the key here is, if you’ve got health insurance in our country, you keep it,” Hagan tells a crowd in one of the videos. “Whatever we do, I don’t want to dismantle any system where people are happy with the coverage that they have. Actually, a lot of people are happy and so I think we’ve got to be sure that that stays in place.”

Dome: Mark Harris calls for Kay Hagan to resign, citing dubious reason
Harris apparently didn’t see the clarification and is pushing his call on the first vague remark from Weiner. “In March of 2013 Hagan’s office admitted that she would “hedge” on issues and “play it safe,” now they have admitted that she knowingly lied and misled the people of North Carolina,” he said in a statement Friday morning. “This is shameful, inexcusable, and exactly the type of political desperation that the citizens of North Carolina are tired of seeing. Based on her office’s terrible admission of lying and misleading the people of our state, knowingly making a promise to the citizens that she is supposed to represent, we call for Kay Hagan’s resignation, effective immediately. It is time that we had some real leadership, an official that will admit when they are wrong – not lie and cover up – and one that is actually accountable to the citizens that they are supposed to represent.” Another Republican challenger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, is likewise trying to make political hay without considering the clarification, demanding records from a Senate health committee that Hagan sits on. The episode shows the extent to which Republicans are trying to pounce on Hagan for the Obama administration’s troubled health insurance roll out.

Politico: GOP’s third shot at Senate: Charm or bust?
Sharron Angle. Christine O’Donnell. Todd Akin. Richard Mourdock. After Republican primaries produced that horror show of candidates in two consecutive elections, probably costing the party control of the Senate, GOP leaders vowed that 2014 must be different. But as President Barack Obama learned the hard way, promising change is one thing, producing it is another. And while the GOP clearly has made headway this year curbing intraparty, resource-draining firefights that yield outside-the-mainstream nominees, it’s less apparent that the progress will be enough to net the six seats it will take to make Sen. Mitch McConnell majority leader. The encouraging news for the party: A handful of incumbents who appeared to be prime targets for the tea party — Susan Collins in Maine, John Cornyn in Texas, Lamar Alexander in Tennessee — are skating toward reelection. And the field is clear for the Republican challengers in the must-win states of Montana, West Virginia and Arkansas — where primaries were conceivable, if not likely, six months ago.
Roll Call:Secretaries of State Face Long Odds in Making the Leap to Senate
It’s not a natural springboard to the Senate, but the position of secretary of state may appear that way leading up to the 2014 midterms. By this time next year, as many as four Senate nominees may list that job at the top of their political résumés. If Senate Democrats successfully recruit West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant, each party would have two Senate candidates running in a potentially competitive race who have served as secretary of state — a position held by fewer than a dozen senators in the past century. Although best-known for running state elections offices, a secretary’s duties actually vary widely by state. Some states don’t have a position with that title at all, and the role is an elected position in just 35 states. But even among those elected to the downballot statewide office, their anonymity and relatively tame campaigns have contributed to an uneven record in subsequent Senate bids.

Politico: DSCC outraises NRSC by $1M in OctoberThe Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will announce Monday that it raised $4.8 million in October, entering this month with $11.1 million cash on hand. The group’s GOP counterpart announced Friday that it raised $3.8 million last month and has $5 million cash on hand. The Democratic committee has $6.2 million in debt. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has no debt. Democrats have raised $43.5 million so far this cycle, $14 million more than the NRSC. “We are grateful for our supporters who continue to allow us to do the important work of protecting a Democratic majority in the Senate,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil says in a forthcoming statement.

The State: Graham’s primary challenge race is fight for the soul of the SC U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is a “stalwart” Republican – pro-life and the proud owner of an AR-15 who frequently zings President Barack Obama for his health care law and his handling of a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, supporters say. But Graham’s record has drawn four GOP primary opponents, and the ire of Tea Party and libertarian activists, who bristled when the two-term senator from Seneca rebuked fellow congressional Republicans for refusing to fund the government unless Obama delayed or defunded his health care law.

Real Clear Politics: Unions Sets Sights on Ohio Governor’s Race
Union leaders are now looking ahead at Ohio’s governor’s race after knocking off a big city mayor who they say was their top political target this year. Organized labor helped oust Toledo’s mayor — an ally of Gov. John Kasich — who infuriated unions two years ago by appearing in a TV commercial backing the collective bargaining law that Ohio voters later overturned. Democrats and labor officials believe that independent Toledo Mayor Mike Bell’s loss two weeks ago to another, union-backed independent was fueled by his endorsement of the Republican plan to limit collective bargaining for public workers.

Dome: Tillis wins state GOP straw poll at awards ceremony
House Speaker Thom Tillis won a straw poll of Republican U.S. Senate candidates at the N.C. Republican Party Hall of Fame awards celebration in Cary on Saturday night. Tillis received 58.8 percent of the votes, followed by Dr. Greg Brannon, Mark Harris, Bill Flynn and Heather Grant, the GOP reported. About 300 attended, the party reported, and heard featured speaker Gov. Pat McCrory, who joined a Q&A with party Chairman Claude Pope and vice chairwoman Joyce Krawiec.

Politico: Liz Cheney criticized by sisterLiz Cheney took fire Sunday from her own sister and sister-in-law over her public opposition to their right to be married. Mary Cheney and her wife, Heather Poe, went on Facebook after the Wyoming Senate candidate said on Fox News Sunday that she believes “in the traditional definition of marriage.” “Liz — this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree, you’re just wrong — and on the wrong side of history,” Mary Cheney wrote in a note. Heather Poe recalled in a separate note that Liz Cheney “didn’t hesitate to tell us how happy she was for us” when the two legally got hitched in Washington last year.“Liz has been a guest in our home, has spent time and shared holidays with our children,” Poe wrote. “To have her now say she doesn’t support our right to marry is offensive to say the least.”

Political Wire: Quote of the Day
"Republicans need to understand that their political problems are neither tactical nor transitory. They are structural and demographic. The hard truth is the GOP coalition constitutes a shrinking portion of the electorate. To change that daunting reality, Republicans must appeal to groups that are currently outside their ranks or risk becoming a permanent minority."

2016

Washington Post: Democrats lay groundwork for Clinton 2016
The institutional apparatus of the Democratic coalition is shifting gears as party strategists, outside groups and the people who finance campaigns prepare for what they believe is an inevitable 2016 presidential bid by Hillary Rodham Clinton. As President Obama struggles with the debacle of his Affordable Care Act rollout and fights to regain his political standing, his party’s machinery is pivoting to the next White House campaign. Concrete steps are being taken to wage a general-election contest with Clinton as the presumed nominee. All of this may seem premature, and in many ways it is. Obama’s presidency, weak or strong, has three years left. Clinton hasn’t said definitively whether she will run in 2016. If she does, she must prove herself as a candidate — and there are enough memories of the mistakes that she, and particularly her team, made when she ran in 2008 to make any Democrat nervous. Still, the signs of activity, and the implications of those efforts, speak to Clinton’s unique position in the Democratic Party and to the understanding that the sophistication of modern politics — especially on the scale of a presidential campaign — requires far more lead time and preparation than it did a generation ago.

Buzzfeed: Martin O’Malley Takes “Believe” Campaign To The Presidential Stage
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has played presidential politics in New Hampshire before. He was here in the Granite State, home to the country’s first primary race, just last year as a surrogate for President Obama and Gov. Maggie Hassan. He was here six years ago, stumping twice for Hillary Clinton. And he was here at the start of his career, in 1984, crisscrossing the state and sleeping on floors as a young operative on the Gary Hart campaign. On Saturday night, at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual dinner, a table of old Hart hands looked on as their friend — the college kid on the campaign who made himself a city councilman, then a mayor, then a governor — came back to the state again. But this time, and for the first time, O’Malley was in New Hampshire to talk about himself.

Real Clear Politics: Ryan in Iowa, O’Malley in N.H.
That’s the message from state leaders who are considering a White House run as Washington slips deeper into political paralysis. Ambitious governors long have cast their accomplishments in contrast to the capital’s gridlock. But three years from the 2016 election, several governors are trying to grab more of the national spotlight, while Congress earns all-time low approval ratings. In events Saturday evening in two important early voting states, Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., was trying to highlight that contrast and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was trying to fight that image of the nation’s capital.

EDUCATION

WBTV: Jill Biden in Shelby to highlight online learning programs at Cleveland Comm. College Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the Vice President, and US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez will visit Cleveland Community College in Shelby on Monday. The two are in town to discuss the recent selection of Cleveland Community College to lead a $23 million grant to four schools focused on leveraging online learning to expand training opportunities for mission critical networking and technology jobs, according to a news release from the US Department of Labor. This grant is part of the third round of funding under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program, a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand training for unemployed workers.

VOTING RIGHTS

News Observer:NC voters’ lawsuits claim congressional Districts 1 and 12 are racially gerrymanderedThree North Carolina voters have mounted new accusations of racial gerrymandering in a federal lawsuit challenging the shapes of Congressional Districts 1 and 12. Republicans at the helm of both N.C. General Assembly chambers led the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts in 2011. Voter rights organizations challenged the new maps in state court, and a three-judge panel upheld the new boundaries in July, though the case remains on appeal to the N.C. Supreme Court. In October, David Harris, a registered voter in Durham County, filed a federal lawsuit with Christine Bowser and Samuel Love, both registered voters from Mecklenburg County, seeking an invalidation of the two districts, which are represented by Democrats – G.K. Butterfield in District 1 and Mel Watt in District 12. Their challenge came after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June opened a new legal front for challenging the maps.

HEALTHCARE

WNCN: NC Insurance Commissioner vows quick approvals for new health plansNorth Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said Friday his agency will expedite review of 2014 health plans following President Barack Obama’s announcement that companies can continue offering policies that don’t meet minimum requirements under the Affordable Care Act. On the same day, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced it will allow most of its non-grandfathered individual customers to keep their current health plan for another year if they desire.

NC DOI: Goodwin Calls on Insurers Not to Cancel Health Insurance PlansInsurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced efforts to prevent health insurance plans from being terminated in North Carolina.More than 473,000 people in the state have received notice from their insurance companies that their plans are being terminated because they do not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, President Obama announced a policy allowing insurers to offer policyholders whose health insurance coverage would otherwise be terminated the opportunity to keep their current plan for another year.Due to concerns that people will lose their plan and not be able to purchase coverage through the federal health exchange at www.healthcare.gov in a timely manner, Goodwin is allowing for an expedited review process at the Department of Insurance so that insurers can quickly establish 2014 rates and begin offering the plans that were going to be cancelled to current policyholders.

News and Observer:Blue Cross to reinstate canceled insurance policies as price increases spur outcryBlue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest insurer, will allow tens of thousands of customers to stay on lapsed health policies next year to provide relief from steep price increases or prevent the loss of their health insurance coverage. The company’s announcement Friday comes a day after President Barack Obama urged insurers to extend this year’s insurance policies through 2014, as pressure mounted to alleviate the crisis prompted by problems with the Affordable Care Act, the president’s signature domestic policy.

WOMEN

Nation Time: Vote Lands Albuquerque at Center of Abortion Battle
Students leaving afternoon classes at the University of New Mexico last Thursday were greeted with a raucous spectacle: abortion protesters had flooded the campus, passing out flyers and occasionally yelling slurs from across the quad. Near the school entrance, a gaggle of teens calling themselves the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust brandished a huge image of a dismembered, fully developed fetus. Ten feet away, pro-choice advocates handed out free pizza and abortion testimonials to interested classmates.

The Daily Beast: Hello Texas? Abortion Rights Calling
For a while in America, when the reproductive freedoms of women were fairly set in stone or even taken for granted, there was a concern that the next generation of women and women in general were not sufficiently prioritizing choice within their feminist agendas and political litmus lists in general. Consider that concern once and for all, well, aborted. Nothing fires up a resurgence of pro-choice fever and fervor in America like the wholesale unilateral attack on the basic rights of women to control their own bodies, restricting access to everything from contraception to in vitro fertilization to abortion services. This is, after all, 2013, not 1813, and modern American women have become used to a certain amount of autonomy over their own bodies and their own lives. When misguided conservative legislators literally invaded that autonomy with transvaginal probes, women decided they would not take it lying down. One by one, millions of American women have been standing up and speaking up for comprehensive reproductive justice—yes, including the right to all women have an abortion if they choose.

LGBT

Buzzfeed: How One Lawyer Turned The Idea Of Marriage Equality Into Reality
Ten years after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered that the state become the first in the country to allow same-sex couples to marry, the once-feared concept has gained mainstream popular support, is recognized by the federal government, and is now the reality in 15 states and Washington, D.C. Without Mary Bonauto, however, marriage equality might never have happened. The lawyer brought marriage equality cases in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. She argued the case to the justices in Massachusetts who brought marriage equality to the United States. She won the first decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s federal definition of marriage, and the first appellate decision too — a ruling that forced the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. If there’s been a big moment in marriage equality’s long march to reality, Bonauto was probably there.

News & Record: Pa. pastor facing church trial over gay marriageSupporters are holding signs and singing hymns ahead of the church trial in southeastern Pennsylvania for a United Methodist pastor who could be defrocked for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding. The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon could face punishment ranging from a reprimand to suspension to losing his minister’s credentials if a jury composed of fellow Methodist clergy convicts him of breaking his pastoral vows by presiding over the 2007 ceremony in Massachusetts. Jury selection begins Monday morning at a Methodist retreat in Spring City. Schaefer’s supporters have gathered outside the building where the trial will take place. They argue that church teaching on homosexuality is outmoded. But a pastor who’s also attending the trial says Schaefer’s trial isn’t about gay rights, but about his breaking of church law.

JKF ANNIVERSARY

Bloomberg: Kennedy’s Legacy Endures Re-Evaluations
As historians and journalists downgrade the legacy of President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his death this week, ordinary citizens around the globe will remember a cherished figure. More than all but the greatest U.S. presidents — George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt — Kennedy is an icon of American political culture. Yet, as New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson observed recently, there has never been a major historical work on the Kennedy presidency, a contrast with significant presidents before him and several who followed. Even contemporary assessments, which are on balance more negative than those of a generation ago, are replete with contradictions. On civil rights, the burning issue of the day, he was late. Historic advances for minorities were achieved by his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson. Yet it was Kennedy who put civil rights on the agenda, sent troops to the South to enforce integration and made it a moral issue, at no small political cost.

Charlotte Observer: JFK anniversary is personal for N.C. collector
On Friday morning, North Carolina native Jim Warlick will step out of the old Hotel Texas in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, and cross the sidewalk to his white 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible. It will be parked in front, just where it was on another Friday 50 years ago. On that morning, Nov. 22, 1963, the sky was clearing as a smiling President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie Kennedy, radiant in a pink wool suit and matching pillbox hat, strode out of the hotel and slipped into the same white convertible. Squeezing into a red leather seat alongside Gov. John Connally, they joined a motorcade that wound through streets lined with cheering crowds to Carswell Air Force Base.

OPINION

Smithfield Herald:Here are more education factsIn response to Sen. Ronald Rabin’s guest column, “Facts aid education debate,” I would like to address a few of the “facts” he cites. First, former congressman Bob Etheridge was not the host of the education forum; he did serve as the event’s moderator. Had the senator turned his program over, he would have seen that the event’s hosts were the Johnston County Association of Educators, Public Schools First NC and a group of concerned educators, of which I was one. Second, Sen. Rabin writes that certain groups have created a myth about what the key issues in education are, including teacher salaries, teacher tenure, compensation for master’s degrees and class size. These might not be the only issues, but substantial research reflects that each of these directly impacts student outcomes. So they are critically important.

Washington Post: How we got Obamacare to workIn our states — Washington, Kentucky and Connecticut — the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is working. Tens of thousands of our residents have enrolled in affordable health-care coverage. Many of them could not get insurance before the law was enacted. People keep asking us why our states have been successful. Here’s a hint: It’s not about our Web sites. Sure, having functioning Web sites for our health-care exchanges makes the job of meeting the enormous demand for affordable coverage much easier, but each of our state Web sites has had its share of technical glitches. As we have demonstrated on a near-daily basis, Web sites can continually be improved to meet consumers’ needs. The Affordable Care Act has been successful in our states because our political and community leaders grasped the importance of expanding health-care coverage and have avoided the temptation to use health-care reform as a political football.

Winston-Salem Journal: Chris Fitzsimon on Berger’s telling bluster on NC PreK rulingThis month’s narrowly written North Carolina Supreme Court decision about NC PreK didn’t really break any new ground. It mostly reinforced the status quo, affirming again that all children in the state have a constitutional right to a sound, basic education that includes access to pre-k programs for at-risk kids. It also vacated a lower court decision that found new specific barriers to pre-kindergarten access unconstitutional because the General Assembly removed the new barriers that it had earlier imposed. But if the decision itself wasn’t earth-shattering, the reaction to it spoke volumes, particularly from folks like Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, who couldn’t have been more pleased, saying that the ruling was “a clear affirmation of the General Assembly’s central role in shaping education policy – and the size and scope of North Carolina’s pre-K program.”

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Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
MBeasley
Twitter: @Micah4NC

Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.