Governor Bev Perdue announced this week that Anson County and the town of Marshville were awarded N.C. Catalyst Community Development Block Grants to upgrade various transportation, housing, economic development and public neighborhood projects. The N.C. Catalyst grant funds are provided through a federal interagency partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Catalyst funds are dedicated for projects serving persons of low- and moderate-incomes. Anson County has been awarded $448,134 to demolish and clear dilapidated housing units, as well as repair and relocate a senior center. The town of Marshville has been awarded $500,000 for housing rehabilitation and emergency repair for approximately 15 homes.
“These projects revitalize our communities and improve the lives of so many North Carolinians,” said Governor Perdue. “We’re proud of our local governments and their efforts to strengthen all aspects of their communities, and for the federal government’s assistance in doing that.” I certainly echo the governor’s words. When counties and towns step forward to revitalize our communities, we all benefit. It’s that time again, the general election is just 38 days away. If you are not registered to vote you have until Oct. 12, to get your registration in. There will once again be “Early Voting” and one day of Sunday voting in both Anson and Union counties. The most important thing we do in America as citizens is VOTE. It is a precious right that men and women have died for! Honor them and your country by casting your ballot on or before Nov. 6.
For complete election information, contact your Board of Elections Office. In Anson County go to: co.anson.nc.us/content/index.php?elections. or telephone 704-994-3223. In Union County the website is: co.union.nc.us/Departments/BoardofElections.aspx., the phone number is 704-283-3809. Vote! It’s your civic duty.
Interim committees continue to meet at the General Assembly to discuss and study education, health, transportation and other matters vital to our state. The hope is that in-depth evaluations of specific programs will lead to better decisions when the General Assembly returns to session in January.
I have also been active in many other events in our community during this interim as I continue to learn from you what needs to be done in Raleigh to improve conditions here at home. I appreciate the advice and guidance I receive from each of you about what you need me to do in the legislature. The legislature’s bipartisan Joint Legislative Ethics Committee has issued new guidelines prohibiting legislative employees who serve at the will of a lawmaker from having dating relationships or sexual relations with registered lobbyists or state agency liaisons unless they disclose the relationships to the employing legislators. The guidelines followed the resignations of two members of the Speaker’s staff who were found to have relationships with registered lobbyists.
A lawsuit challenging the legality of district maps drawn for the General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives continues, with both sides gathering evidence to bolster their case. The maps were drawn by the Republican majority and are being challenged by Democrats who allege the maps fail several legal requirements.
The plan drawn by the Republicans divided the city of Monroe into three different House Districts and broke Wingate off from Marshville and Anson County. That reshuffle clearly violated the state’s “communities of interest” requirement. Redistricting is done every 10 years after the states receive the latest U.S. Census data. The N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform found that all 60 people who completed a recent survey distributed to members of both parties want to see a new redistricting process that minimizes the influence of politics in map drawing. The coalition is still gathering responses, and they will be posted on its website, www.nclobbyreform.org. The House approved a bill, (H824) last session to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process, which I supported. The bill failed to pass the Senate.
Despite claims that the newest state budget would help improve the state’s economy, North Carolina continues to suffer with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates. The unemployment rate rose for the second consecutive month, reaching 9.7 percent. The rate in North Carolina is worse than all but four other states: Nevada, Rhode Island, California and New Jersey. The national rate is 8.1 percent. Over the past 12 months, the number of government jobs in North Carolina has fallen by 3,800. The number of construction jobs in the state fell by 3,400 in just the past month.
My hope is that both parties can work together in the coming session to better serve the people of North Carolina and NOT the “special interest” groups. It is wrong to add taxes and fees to working families while millionaires and corporations get the benefit.
I appreciate you taking the time to keep up with what is happening in the North Carolina House of Representatives. I hope you will contact me if you have any questions or if I can ever be of service to you.