NCDP Clips for November 8, 2013
88.5 WFDD: Forsyth County Republican & Democrat Parties Step Up Efforts to Support Local Candidates
North Carolina Democrats are celebrating big wins in targeted local races across the state, including Charlotte, Greensboro and Boone, and Winston-Salem. On Tuesday, thousands of people across the state went to the polls to cast ballots in the Municipal General Elections. Susan Campbell, chair of the Forsyth County Democratic Party, says locally the party provided transportation and other support to get voters to the election polls. “Our voters count on us, the Democratic Party, to help them get to the poles if they have a transportation problem and they know that and we are always there for them. It’s the candidates getting out in the neighborhoods and knocking on those doors that won the races. The party was supporting them but they were driving it,” says Campbell. According to Rob Coffman, Forsyth County elections director, voter turnout was low across Forsyth County, with just 10 percent of the nearly 200,000 registered voters casting a ballot.
News and Observer: State auditor named as one of 25 most influential
State Auditor Beth Wood is being recognized as one of the 25 most powerful women in accounting. CPA Practice Advisor magazine lists Wood, a Democrat, among company chief executives, authors and top private sector officials. She is the only elected official on the list, which is the first of its kind from the industry publication. The magazine said it “realized that women were not receiving the recognition they deserved despite their enormous influence on the accounting profession. We became committed to honoring the women who are making the greatest impact in this profession.”
SWF Institute: Janet Cowell
Wharton-educated Janet Cowell is the state treasurer of the State of North Carolina. She is the first woman to the win the position. Being a steward of more than 80 billion in public pension fund money, Janet has rallied for increased independence at the North Carolina Retirement System. One of the major initiatives is enabling flexibility in alternative asset to allocation to permit the fund of possibility to earn high returns and reduce investment fees.
Citizen-Times: NC DOT alert blames women, Obamacare for wreck
A contractor working for the N.C. Department of Transportation is out of a job after the agency issued a public alert blaming a traffic accident on Obamacare and female drivers. The alert issued by e-mail on Twitter Wednesday afternoon by the state’s Traveler Information Management System advised motorists that a traffic accident had closed an exit ramp on Interstate 440 East in Raleigh. The post said the crash was the result of “Women Drivers, Rain, Obama Care” and advised “Stay Home.”
WITN: NCDOT apologizes for “inappropriate” messages
The North Carolina Department of Transportation said Wednesday one contractor was fired after an investigating linked that worker to a handful of inappropriate traffic alert messages. Investigators said they linked the messages to a contractor who had been hired six months before the incident. That contractor was said to have been conducting routine testing on the TIMS, but violated procedure by not turning off the external feed.
WRAL: Wos: Medicaid reform to be tailored for NC
Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos said Thursday that she expects to have a Medicaid reform plan outlined by March that meets North Carolina’s specific needs. In an exclusive interview with WRAL News, Wos also placed some of the blame for the troubled launches of two computer systems at the feet of counties and the media, and she defended hiring and compensation decisions that have been widely criticized in recent months. Cost overruns in the state’s $13 billion Medicaid program have caused budgeting problems for lawmakers for years. The legislature was forced to come up with about $500 million to bail out the program during the fiscal year that began July 1.
WNCN: NC pledges to fix struggling mental health system
Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration pledged Thursday to repair North Carolina’s struggling system for treating people with chronic mental illness and substance abuse, but provided few details about how it would fix the problems. State Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos called a news conference to announce a new Crisis Solutions Initiative to include government officials, health care professionals, law enforcement and patient advocates. She said the new panel will study local programs around the state that are having the most success getting people help.
Roll Call: Senate Passes Gay Employment Rights Bill
The Senate on Thursday approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a tempered win for gay rights advocates who still need a reluctant, GOP-controlled House to take up and pass the bill. In a bipartisan vote, 64 senators supported the ENDA legislation, championed in the Senate by Democrat Jeff Merkley of Oregon. The bill, if it were to become law, would set a federal non-discrimination standard to ensure that private employers cannot fire employees based on their sexual orientation or identity. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats to pass the gay rights bill, while 32 Republicans voted against the measure. Few opponents rose to speak against the bill, however. As of Wednesday evening, no one had risen to speak in opposition. Sen. Dan Coats was the first to do so on Thursday morning. He raised concerns about protections for religious institutions who believe same sex relationships are sinful.
Politico: Senate passes gay rights bill in historic vote
The Senate made history Thursday, voting 64-32 to pass landmark legislation extending workplace protections to the LGBT community. The legislation now heads to the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) opposes the measure. GOP aides argue that the protections contained in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — which bans workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation — are already enjoyed by American workers. Democrats disagree — and noted that Boehner’s home state of Ohio is a state where such discrimination is not prohibited.
News and Observer: Hagan introduces sportsmen’s bill
Sen. Kay Hagan on Wednesday introduced a bill that she calls the Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions (SPORT) Act. Some of its key provisions are to expand access to federal public lands, partly by improving easements through private property to get there, and increasing federal funding support for wildlife habitat protection. Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, said in a statement it’s an important way to increase jobs in North Carolina and nationwide. “Hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing are important parts of North Carolina’s heritage, as well as crucial economic drivers in our state,” she said, adding that North Carolina has 1.5 million sportsmen. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation contributes more than $19 billion annually to North Carolina’s economy, supports 192,000 jobs in the state and generates $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.
Political Wire: Rand Theft Caught-O
Jon Stewart tears apart Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) over plagiarism
WRAL: Goldman, boyfriend in political spotlight
Former Wake County school board member and Republican candidate for state auditor Debra Goldman has once again been elected to office – and once again, she’s at the center of a political controversy. Goldman, her boyfriend, Kevin Reece, and Reece’s political ally Sam Foster were all elected Tuesday as write-in commissioner candidates in Ronda, a tiny Wilkes County town. They took over three of the town’s four commissioner seats, defeating an incumbent and shifting the balance of the board against Mayor Victor Varela, a longtime political foe of Reece’s. According to Shirley Johnson with the Wilkes County Board of Elections, unofficial tallies show 60 voters wrote in Reece’s name, 59 wrote in Goldman’s and 75 wrote in Foster’s.
CNN: Meet the de Blasios, the new face of America
New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio may look like the privileged white male so many Americans have come to associate with the face of, and in many cases the problem with, American politics. But as his 19-year-old daughter, Chiara, told a crowd at an August fundraiser, de Blasio is not just "some boring white guy." And the truth behind that statement — not to mention the young woman who made it — probably won de Blasio the race to become the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years.
Throughout his campaign, de Blasio campaigned on a progressive platform: more jobs, better schools, affordable housing and inclusive city politics. But what kept his platform from being rhetoric per usual was the undeniable strikingly visual proof that de Blasio was different in a very modern and appealing way.
News 14: Greensboro District 1 city council race undergoes recount
Election night is in the history books but one Greensboro race isn’t fully written. Incumbent candidate T. Diane Bellamy-Small of District 1 requested a recount, Thursday morning. Unofficial poll results show she lost the seat by only 15 votes. "If a candidate is within one percent, they are entitled to an automatic recount if they request it," said Guilford County Board of Elections Director Charlie Collicutt. Council member-elect of District 1, Sharon Hightower, said she could barely watch the poll results. "It’s kind of like riding a roller coaster. I’m just going to wait, take the ride, feel the exhileration and then get off and I made it safely,” said Hightower.
Talking About Politics: Boone on the Rise
It’s one town and one election, but it was one hell of a shot in the arm for an old Democratic war horse like me. A dedicated, sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated crew of young organizers and Appalachian State students helped sweep the Boone Town Council races for a slate of progressive, forward-looking candidates, including Andy Ball for Mayor. This, mind you, at ground zero of the Republican Party’s voter-suppression campaign. I was there Tuesday night to watch them celebrate their win. I take special pride because our daughter, Maggie, is one of the crew (and she’s the new finance director of the Watauga County Democratic Party!) She was one of an impressive band of brothers and sisters who did the hard, time-consuming and often-thankless work of turning out voters.
News and Observer: Coble announces he’s done with politics after 15 terms
As expected, 15-term U.S. Rep. Howard Coble said Thursday that he will not seek re-election next year. The announcement opens the doors for what is already a crowded field of prospective and confirmed candidates to replace the Republican representative from the 6th Congressional District. Coble, 82, made the announcement at a news conference at the Guilford County Republican Party headquarters in Greensboro, where about 200 people gave him a standing ovation, The Associated Press reported. He is the longest-serving Republican in North Carolina’s congressional delegation.
News and Record: Video: It’s official: Coble to retire from U.S. Congress
Coble pointed out that the recently redrawn 6th District — which includes Guilford, Davidson and Surry counties in addition to seven others — could be a difficult seat for a Republican to win.“As a result of redistricting, the district is now a more Democratic district. That’s bad news for Republicans,” Coble said. “I think the right Democrat could win.”
Dome: Morning Memo: Senate candidate Greg Brannon faces plagiarism question
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Greg Brannon is facing questions about whether he plagiarized significant portions of his campaign website from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. "The campaign website of a Republican candidate for the United States Senate in North Carolina, Greg Brannon, who Mr. Paul supports, includes descriptions of various policy positions that match those of Mr. Paul’s 2010 campaign website word for word." Brannon is running as a tea party candidate, much in the model of Paul, who endorsed him. Brannon’s campaign did not respond to the charges first posted Thursday night. A spokesman said Brannon plans to issue a statement Friday.
Dome: Politifact calls a claim in ad attacking Hagan ‘false’
The fact checkers concluded: More than 1,000 companies have received Obamacare waivers, but there’s no evidence to suggest that those groups are all Obama’s “friends.” Meanwhile, Congress and their staffs do have to adhere to the reform’s individual mandate, and in a key way are treated worse than other Americans by the law, which is a curious definition of “special treatment.” “We rate Americans For Prosperity’s claim False.”
Politics NC: Here they come
Well, it looks like the Republican primary for U. S. Senate is heating up with the march of national players coming into the state. It also looks like the real contenders are shaping up. Karl Rove and is band of pranksters is coming to the state to aid Thom Tillis. Janet Huckabee, wife of former Arkansas Governor, former presidential candidate, Fox News show host and self-righteous blowhard, Mike Huckabee, is coming to raise money for the Reverend Mark Harris. And Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon is following Rand Paul’s example by plagiarizing–from Rand Paul.
Dome: Jim Hunt gives UNC board a pep talk
Former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat, had an invitation and a little friendly advice Thursday for the UNC system’s Board of Governors, which is majority Republican. Speaking at the new N.C. State University library that bears his name, Hunt invited the board to the Emerging Issues Forum in February, which focuses on recruiting, retaining and supporting “world-class” teachers for North Carolina’s public schools. And he had a message about economic development in a post-recession North Carolina. The university system is the key to luring business and creating the jobs of the future, he said.
News and Observer: Lower test scores for NC schools show results of tougher standards
The sobering consequences of more rigorous classroom standards became clear Thursday when the state Board of Education revealed the dramatic drop in performance by students, schools and districts on standardized tests. The overall passing rate was 55.8 percent in Wake, 34 percent in Durham, 68.5 percent in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, 50 percent in Orange County and 43.3 percent in Johnston. The overall statewide passing rate was 44.7 percent. Districts have 30 days to send individual student scores to parents. Compared with 2012 results, passing rates have dropped from 16 to 25 percentage points in reading, from 27 to 44 percentage points in math, and from 9 to 33 percentage points in science, depending on the test.
WNCN: School test scores released, show results of new curriculum
The state released last school year’s test results Thursday, and parents will likely notice significant drops in some districts from previous years. The READY Accountability results show how well students did last school year when the state began teaching a new curriculum for reading and math, known as Common Core. As a result, scores on end-of-course (E.O.C.) and end-of-grade (E.O.G.) tests are lower than previous years. State Superintendent June Atkinson said teachers were not completely prepared for the Common Core, and that scores were better in districts that added the new curriculum earlier. She said schools will not be graded this year and students will not be impacted. Atkinson said growth is expected next year and schools will receive a letter grade.
News 14: Nearly 29 percent of NC schools fail to meet growth goals
Statewide student performance scores are in and the results are not what educators want for North Carolina. Last year marked the first time students were assessed using the more rigorous Common Core standards for the math, language arts and English portion of the end of grades tests. Nearly 29 percent of schools in North Carolina did not meet the goals set forth under the Common Core standards. The NC Department of Public Instruction released state and local results from End of Grade and End of Course testing for the 2012-2013 school year on Thursday.Out of all NC schools, 691 did not meet their growth goals. However more than 70 percent met or exceeded expected growth, according to figures from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Huffington Post: Naomi Jakobsson, Illinois State Rep, Left Her Dying Son’s Side To Vote For Gay Marriage Bill
An Illinois state representative made a decision any parent would dread in order to press the "yes" button on legislation she had co-sponsored to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. She left the bedside of her gravely ill son. Tuesday afternoon, state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, a Champaign Democrat, rushed to the state capitol in Springfield to vote on the measure. With her support, the bill was approved with 61 votes in favor — only one more than the minimum it needed in order to pass.
New York Times: CBS Correspondent Apologizes for Report on Benghazi Attack
The correspondent for the disputed “60 Minutes’’ segment about the attack on the United States Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year apologized on the air Friday morning, saying it was a “mistake’’ to put on a security officer whose credibility has since been undermined by his diverging accounts of his actions that night. The correspondent, Lara Logan, said on “CBS This Morning’’ that the news division was misled by the officer, adding, “We will apologize to our viewers, and we will correct the record on our broadcast on Sunday night.” The apology followed disclosure by The New York Times on Thursday evening that the security contractor, Dylan Davies, had provided the F.B.I. an account that contradicted a version of events he provided in a recently published book and in the interview with “60 Minutes,” which was broadcast on Oct. 27.
Charlotte Observer: ‘Moral Monday’ protesters arrested same day get different verdicts
Two men sat with their attorney this week at a Wake County courtroom table, each facing the same district court judge on charges from the same summer protest at the legislature. Ben Leo, a Habitat for Humanity deconstruction superintendent from Raleigh, and Michael Gross, an East Carolina University history professor from Greenville, each had been arrested on July 22 inside the N.C. Legislative Building. Their arrests were days before the close of the historic North Carolina legislative session in which Republicans, for the first time in more than a century, had control of both General Assembly chambers and the governor’s office. Each was charged with the same crimes. But on Wednesday, with the same lawyer representing them, the same prosecutor presenting evidence and the same judge presiding over their simultaneous trials, Leo was found guilty of second-degree trespass and Gross was not.
The Washington Post: Something people forget about Social Security: It’s America’s biggest anti-poverty program, by far
The official poverty rate isn’t that great a guide to the state of poverty in the United States. It’s defined as the amount of money a family of three would have to make to spend less than one-third of their income on food in 1963 and 1964. Seriously. The only changes from a half-century ago have been adjustments for inflation. At no point was the measure changed to account for other costs, like health insurance, transportation, or housing, or to factor in income from transfer programs like food stamps or WIC. The Census released the 2012 numbers for that alternate measure yesterday, which show no change from 2011. But the differences between the alternate measure and the official one allow one to see the influence of various non-wage income sources — including tax credits, transfer programs, government subsidies, child support, workers compensation, and unemployment insurance — on poverty. Far and away the most important of the bunch is Social Security, which keeps millions of seniors and disabled people from falling below the poverty line. Many seniors still fall through the cracks — which might argue for expanding Social Security — but far fewer than if the program didn’t exist.
News 14: Stars of M*A*S*H* visit Fayetteville to honor veterans
Stars from the hit television show M*A*S*H are in Fayetteville to honor veterans. Jamie Farr, Loretta Swit, and William Christopher will honor Korean War veterans at the Heroes Homecoming this weekend. This year is the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the war in which more than 36,000 Americans were killed. The homecoming features four days of events, including a parade, exhibits, and recognition ceremonies. A meet-and-greet with the cast members will be held on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the North Carolina Veterans Park.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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