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Political Notebook: Barnes says Cooper veto freezes disaster relief funds

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After touring a Johnston County farm, state Rep. Lisa Stone Barnes blasted Gov. Roy Cooper for vetoing the state budget, saying the impasse freezes $100 million in disaster relief funding for North Carolina residents and businesses.

Barnes, R-Nash, accompanied state Sen. Brent Jackson and the N.C. Farm Bureau on a tour of Kornegay Farms in Princeton last week. In a Monday newsletter to constituents, Barnes described the business as “one of the many family-owned farms in our state that is still recovering one year after Hurricane Florence.”

“Growing up on a farm and working in agribusiness, I understand the impact that natural disasters can have on family farms and the importance of giving these farms the resources they need to recover,” Barnes wrote.

The Republican-majority General Assembly’s 2019-20 spending plan includes funds to increase debris removal and purchase disaster relief equipment.

“However,” Barnes wrote, “this funding cannot be accessed due to Governor Cooper’s political posturing and his unwillingness to sign the NCGA’s balanced budget. Through my seat on the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief, I will continue to work diligently to give North Carolinians the resources they need after disaster strikes.”

 Dems slam Tillis on gun control bills

The North Carolina Democratic Party said Monday that state voters “rallied across the state this weekend to demand Senator Thom Tillis pressure Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring commonsense gun safety reforms to a vote on the Senate floor.”

“But rather than stand up to McConnell, Tillis dodged a question from a voter about passing H.R. 8, the bill to expand background checks that passed the House earlier this year with bipartisan support,” a news release states.

“Rather than challenge Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s unprecedented gridlock and his refusal to bring a bipartisan bill to expand background checks to the floor of the Senate for a vote, Senator Tillis decided to lie to voters because he’s too weak to stand up to his party leaders in Washington,” N.C. Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard said. “North Carolinians deserves a senator who will listen to their constituents and have the courage to stand up to Mitch McConnell and the special interests, not a spineless politician who will say anything to sidestep their concerns about their safety.”

Goodwin blames Trump for racist letters

North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin released a statement last Wednesday regarding racist, threatening letters that several black elected officials in Charlotte received. The letters “invoked President Trump and echoed his racist attacks,” Goodwin said.

The letters said that people of color should “go back to where you came from.” The letters arrived about two weeks after a mass shooter in El Paso made reference to President Donald Trump’s past statements.

“President Trump came to North Carolina and spewed hate, encouraging dangerous racist chants while politicians like Senator Thom Tillis and state Senator Dan Bishop meekly stood by,” Goodwin said. “Now, black elected officials in Charlotte are receiving threatening letters invoking Trump’s name and using his own racist words. This is dangerous and unacceptable and must be denounced publicly and swiftly. This president continues to incite hatred, racism and even violence while spineless Republicans like Senator Tillis and Senator Bishop refuse to stand up to him and the hatred he encourages.”

Dems hold minority women leaders’ forum

On Saturday, the North Carolina Democratic Party held its second annual Women of Color Leadership Forum. The forum serves as an opportunity for women of color to meet, celebrate, share and learn from each other. About 200 North Carolina Democrats attended the forum, which was twice last year’s attendance. Special guests and speakers included former congresswoman Eva Clayton and N.C. Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls.

“This weekend’s Women of Color leadership forum allowed women to listen, learn and strategize on how to spread our Democratic values and elect more Democratic women of color to office,” said Bobbie Richardson, the state party’s first vice chair and the forum’s chairwoman.“We look forward to engaging more women of color next year.”

Environmental group praises Cooper

The Southern Environmental Law Center issued a Friday statement regarding the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s release of a draft clean energy plan.

“We applaud Governor Cooper for taking action to reduce carbon pollution in the face of the harm suffered by North Carolina residents and businesses from increasingly intense storms and flooding events,” said Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “Moving the state away from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy sources is integral to lowering carbon pollution and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. Now is the time for bold action to address ongoing climate change, which affects all North Carolinians but disproportionately harms the most vulnerable. We’ll review the plan and look forward to working with the state towards the goal of a better future for North Carolinians.”

The draft clean energy plan is open for public comment period until Sept. 9 and the comment form is available online at https://deq.nc.gov/cleanenergyplancomment/.

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK is a weekly roundup of local and state political news from The Wilson Times’ reporting staff. Send tips and comments to editor@wilsontimes.com.

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