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Two Republican primary candidates vying to challenge Rep. G.K. Butterfield for Wilson’s U.S. House seat are burnishing their conservative bona fides with high-profile endorsements this week.
Women for Trump cofounder Amy Kremer is scheduled to endorse Michele Nix during a Tuesday morning speech at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Rocky Mount, according to a news release. Kremer also chairs Women for America First and is a former Tea Party Express chairwoman.
Nix, of Kinston, is the North Carolina Republican Party’s former vice chairwoman and has been a popular figure with the GOP’s grassroots organizers.
Rep. Mark Walker endorsed Sandy Smith of Winterville for the 1st Congressional District seat on Monday. Walker has served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee and is eyeing a U.S. Senate bid. He is not running for reelection in the House this year.
“Sandy is a strong fighter for our Constitution, conservative values and President Trump,” Walker said in a statement. “She will be a strong conservative in the House and has my full support to replace G.K. Butterfield.”
Smith, who describes herself as a “pro-Trump conservative businesswoman,” thanked Walker for his vote of confidence.
“I’m grateful for Congressman Mark Walker’s endorsement,” she said in a release. “It means a lot to have such a strong conservative in congress endorse my campaign to help take back the House.”
Nix and Smith face fellow GOP candidates Ethan Baca, a Pender County businessman, and James Henry Glisson II of Goldsboro in the March 3 primary. Butterfield has no Democratic primary challengers and will run for reelection in November against the Republican nominee.
Sanctuary city veto draws criticism
The North Carolina Republican Party said Monday that Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of House Bill 370, a bill that would curtail “sanctuary city” policies, put public safety in jeopardy. The GOP cited the case of a Honduran man who entered the country illegally and attempted to kill his girlfriend.
“Cooper’s penchant for appeasing the radical left is putting North Carolinians in danger,” NCGOP spokesman Jeff Hauser said in a news release. “Between Cal Cunningham, Erica Smith and Roy Cooper, they have yet to explain how sanctuary cities keep people safe. How many more people have to endure preventable violence because of these harmful policies they support?”
Medicaid a top priority for Dems
The North Carolina Democratic Party said this week that pressure is increasing on the state’s Republicans after Medicaid expansion in Kansas.
“Expanding Medicaid remains a top priority for Democrats, particularly after a report found that every single county in North Carolina would benefit from expansion,” said Robert Howard, a spokesman for the N.C. Democratic Party.
“While rural leaders and leaders of local health care systems continue to call on the General Assembly to expand Medicaid, Republicans continue to ignore their requests and make politically motivated decisions rather than making important progress for their constituents.”
Tillis backs post-foster care housing
Sen. Thom TIllis, R-N.C., co-sponsored legislation to help provide housing options for youth as they transition from foster care to adulthood.
The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act of 2019 would provide Family Unification Program vouchers to youth who are at risk for homelessness as they age out of the foster care system.
“Foster care youth aging out of foster homes should be doing more to help make this transition smoother,” Tillis said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation would change lives and present stability to those finding themselves without the basic need of a home once they enter into adulthood.”
Roughly 20,000 youth each year age out of the foster care system, with many struggling with housing instability due to the loss of financial, education and social supports.
Cooper announces early childhood funding
Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday announced the award of $56 million in federal funding spread over seven years to support children’s health and well-being.
“When all children have the tools they need to succeed, we will have a healthier and stronger North Carolina for generations to come,” Cooper said in a release. “The science is overwhelming that early childhood education and intervention make a significant difference in whether a child succeeds in school and beyond. Every child deserves the best chance to succeed. That means we have to support families, early childhood teachers and all those who have an impact on early childhood development.”
The grants are from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The funding will be used to provide professional development, expand access to Family Connects through the Smart Start network and implement the Integrated Care for Kids model to reduce costs and improve care for Medicaid-insured children.
Funding secured for coastal storm damage
Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr announced a $281 million award from the Army Corps of Engineers for storm damage reduction projects for Surf City, North Topsail Beach and Carteret County.
“Each storm that hits North Carolina takes a toll on our beaches and river basins,” Burr said in a statement. “After the historic damage inflicted by recent hurricanes, it was clear that more preventive measures needed to be taken to better protect our coastal communities. This additional $281.5 million allocation will do just that. I applaud the Corps of Engineers for investing more than $321 million in North Carolina so we can reduce the impact of future storms.”
While specifics of the projects were not released, North Topsail Beach will receive $237 million while Carteret County gets $44.5 million.
GOP wants travel details from Cooper
North Carolina Republican Party spokesman Jeff Hauser criticized N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper last week for allegedly refusing to comply with public records law in disclosing how he traveled to a re-election campaign event in New York last year.
“As a candidate, Cooper pledged to provide public records within 30 days of a request,” Hauser said in a release. “For his travel records to just these two events, it’s been nearly six months of keeping taxpayers and journalists in the dark. Cooper gave a disastrous interview where he claimed he had no idea how he got to New York, yet another example of the culture of corruption surrounding the governor.”
POLITICAL NOTEBOOK is a weekly roundup of local and state political news from The Wilson Times’ reporting staff. Send tips and comments to email@example.com.