Thursday, January 8, 2009

NCGOP E-Letter - January 8, 2009


NCGOP Press Release
January 6, 2009

RALEIGH—Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, released the following statement today.

"Serving as the Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party has been a great honor. The ability to serve the interests of the people of North Carolina has been one of the great privileges of my life. The best part of this job has been the ability to meet the many diverse people who make up the fabric of our state. I have spent many years working alongside dedicated, hardworking Republicans in North Carolina as a grassroots activist. It is these good people who make up the heart and soul of our party. Having the ability to see their commitment to making our state the best that it can be has given me renewed hope for our future each day.

I am proud of what Republicans have been able to accomplish together for the people of North Carolina over the last two years. The fruit of the labor associated with party building takes time to grow.

I think it is good and healthy for an organization to have fresh, new leadership periodically. At the conclusion of my term in June, I will step aside and allow someone else the honor and responsibility of guiding this party into the future. I am an activist and I will continue my work with candidates and Republican leaders across North Carolina to ensure our progress forward and to advocate for conservative fiscal and social policies. Between now and June, when a new chairman will be elected, I will continue to work diligently with our activists and other party leaders to assess our strengths and weaknesses and to begin the process of rebuilding."

The North Carolina Republican Party will elect a new chairman at the 2009 NCGOP Convention held June 12-14 in Raleigh.

They All Know It Is True

By John Hood
Carolina Journal Online
January 6, 2009

RALEIGH – I know the quote isn’t new, but I’d like to take this opportunity to call attention once again to what Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand said last month during a public appearance at Fayetteville Tech.

Discussing North Carolina’s expected budget deficit for FY 2009-10, currently estimated at somewhere between $1.5 billion and $3 billion, Rand remarked that, “We’ve thrown money away in the past. Now, we’re going to make sure we can justify every penny we spend.”

Rand’s candor invited some equal candid responses around the political world, ranging from ridicule to opprobrium along the lines of “what do you mean ‘we’?” But it’s worth considering for a moment that the senator is a smart and experienced state politician who knew what precisely what he was saying and how it would be perceived.

The fact of the matter is that anyone who has spent any significant time around the General Assembly knows well that Rand is correct. The state budget is full of waste, redundancy, and programs of dubious effectiveness. The problem has never been about public policy, about identifying areas to economize. The problem has been a political one. In most cases, the state spends many millions of dollars on questionable priorities because lawmakers have more of an incentive to placate spending lobbies, who are targeted and influential, than they have an incentive to placate the general population of taxpayers. …

Because these upswings in state spending growth were larger and longer than the recessionary downswings, the long-term trend is a substantial increase. Real state spending per capita today is 27 percent higher than it was 20 years ago. Obviously, the state budget would have to shrink quite a lot to offset the massive state spending increases of the 1990s. I’m not suggesting that the General Assembly will do so, or even that it should do so in a single year. But I will point out that North Carolina was still an attractive place to live and work in 1989, before the reckless fiscal policies of the ensuing years, and North Carolinians have not experienced large enough benefits – in better student performance, health outcomes, or public safety – to justify that 27 percent real increase in the scope and cost of state government.

Here’s hoping that Rand’s comments about the need for economical government in North Carolina translate into action. There is no shortage of good ideas on how to go about it.

Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation.

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NCGOP Press Release
January 5, 2008

RALEIGH—Before the new session of the General Assembly even convenes, one Democrat legislator is already facing misdemeanor charges. Democrat Representative-Elect Nick Mackey (D-Mecklenburg) has been charged criminally with failing to turn over business documents in connection with a civil lawsuit and a judgment against him for nearly $100,000. Mackey has been ordered to pay interest until the amount is paid in full and the offense is punishable by up to 120 days in jail. The Democrat also faces an unrelated professional grievance. ("Mackey faces misdemeanor charge linked to civil suit," Charlotte Observer, 1/3/09)

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

"It is a shame to start a new year and a new session of the General Assembly with the same ethical and moral cloud hovering over the state legislature. After being forced to expunge a member in last year's session, it is unacceptable that Democrats have learned so little from past mistakes. Until we have leaders we can trust in Raleigh, the public trust in the actions of state government will continue to erode."

Opening Remarks for the 111th Congress

January 6, 2009
Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) delivers opening remarks before the 111th Congress.


By Mark Binker
Capital Beat
January 6, 2009

Visiting with Coble in his Capitol Hill office tonight, I asked him what he wanted to tackle this session.

"Well my first order of business, old friend, is going to be maybe this week on this proposed pay increase," Coble said.

Rank-and-file members of Congress make $169,300 a year and are due for a $4,700 raise this year. That raise happens automatically unless Congress heads it off.

The automated raises were put in place more than a decade ago. In large part, they were supposed to avoid partisan wrangling over pay raise decisions. (No one would have to risk his neck or seat by sponsoring or debating in favor of a pay raise bill.)

Coble said that this year, with the economy tanking and people losing jobs, Congress should act to block its pay raise.

"When you have bills like this, it invites demagoguery," Coble said. "I'm not going to be a demagogue about it, but I think this is ill timed. You have thousands - strike that. You have tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs ... and then they're picking up the paper and seeing we're getting a $4,700 a year raise. I think it serves no good purpose."

Coble is not the first to this idea. …

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Networking on the Web gets politicians atwitter
Sites like Facebook offer unfiltered look

By Lisa Zagaroli
The News & Observer
January 5, 2009

WASHINGTON - His favorite movie is "Braveheart," and his favorite TV show is "24." He also loves playing tennis, running and sailing, according to his Facebook page. Job title: U.S. senator.

When it comes to using social networking sites and other modern forms of communication, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is embracing new ways of reaching out to constituents. He has pages on MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and some other Internet sites.

That makes him one of the more active members of Congress on the Web, at least in the Carolinas. Others have begun using the Web tools, too, to share news about their legislative work as well as campaign activity.

These days, that involves tweeting and friending and flickering and feeding.

"What we are seeing is it's probably more crucial policy- and legislative-wise now than from a campaign standpoint," said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who has a sparse Facebook page but a souped-up Web site that will offer a blog and more audio and video features.

"I don't think we can ignore the folks that are more likely to get their news off of some type of online source or [talk show host] Jon Stewart versus ones that have subscriptions to the newspaper," he said.

The Internet is giving lawmakers and viewers a chance to share information that isn't filtered or prioritized by the traditional news media. …

The politicians' Facebook pages are different from others: Members become "supporters" instead of "friends," and you can't send e-mail or live chat. You can post messages, though.

Not all lawmakers are entering the new age of communication as quickly.

"We do send out our newsletters electronically these days," offers Corey Little, a spokesperson for Rep. Mel Watt, a Charlotte Democrat. …

Not all Web users are looking for personal information. The most common visitor to Burr's Web site, for example, is just looking for a way to send him e-mail about an issue.

DeMint has a blog on his official Web site, mostly updated by staff members with his public statements and television appearances, and he contributes to other blogs, as well.

"New technologies allow quick and dynamic communication that reaches many folks who wouldn't necessarily read a newspaper or watch C-Span," DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton said. "It's a way not to just share the senator's views with a wide audience, but to interact and get immediate feedback from constituents about their concerns."

DeMint "tweets," too, on a site called Twitter that allows people to write brief updates about what they're up to. According to an online gauge, he is the fourth most followed member of Congress on Twitter.

An update a couple of weeks ago seemed appropriate:

"On a blogger conference call."

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