NC GOP Put Their Agenda In Question By Bucking Funding to Bolster Supply Chains

Every member of North Carolina’s Republican U.S. House delegation voted against funding to strengthen our country’s supply chains

Last week, the Biden-Harris administration announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will invest $14 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other appropriations to strengthen port and waterway supply chains in North Carolina and across the country. 

While Republicans in Congress, including Reps. Greg Murphy (NC-03), Virginia Foxx (NC-05), David Rouzer (NC-07), Richard Hudson (NC-08), Dan Bishop (NC-09), Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), Ted Budd (NC-13), have spent recent months railing against supply chain issues, President Biden and Democrats have sought solutions by passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into law – an historic bill that secures unprecedented investments to bolster the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and strengthen our defenses against climate change. 

“After all their complaining, you’d think that Republicans would do everything in their power to address supply chain issues on behalf of their constituents. The fact that every member of North Carolina’s U.S. House delegation voted against the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s funding to strengthen supply chains begs the question – is the GOP’s agenda meaningless? Obstruction is the name of the game for the Republican Party while President Biden and Democrats continue to deliver for working families,” said NCDP Spokesperson Ellie Dougherty.

GOP Candidates Trade Blows At Candidate Forum

The GOP circus came to Moore County last week as local Republicans held a candidate forum for the U.S. Senate primary. McCrory and Walker “leveled sharp criticism” and “stepped up their attacks” on Budd as he continues to gain ground in public polling and benefit from millions of dollars in support thanks to Club for Growth Action.

McCrory lashed out at Club for Growth, calling their mailer “full of lies,” while Walker questioned Budd’s independence, saying: “Somebody spends $6 (million) or $7 million on you, who owns that voting card?” Budd’s team fired back, calling McCrory a “thin-skinned, professional politician” who “doesn’t like to be held accountable for his mistakes.” 

North Carolina Republicans enter 2022 in a combative, negative primary. Check out the latest nasty infighting:   

News & Observer: Republican U.S. Senate candidates unite, targeting fellow candidate on the rise in polls 

  • With just a few months left until North Carolina’s U.S. Senate primary, two Republican candidates stepped up their attacks on a third endorsed by former President Donald Trump and steadily moving up in the polls.  
  • Former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker each leveled sharp criticism of U.S. Rep. Ted Budd and the political action committee supporting him at the Moore County Republican Men’s Club luncheon Thursday afternoon — a sign they may be growing concerned by his rise, though they say otherwise.
  • Budd spoke to attendees via video conference because he was in Washington, D.C., for votes, but did not mention other candidates in his speech. He also only mentioned his most important backer, the former president, once, in the context of foreign affairs. /p>
  • McCrory, by contrast, slammed the group backing Budd, which FEC reports show has spent more than $3.5 million in support of Budd and nearly $500,000 in opposition to McCrory. McCrory then called out to Walker from his small stage. “Ain’t that right, Mark?” McCrory asked. 
  • “100 percent,” Walker replied from the crowd.  
  • McCrory, a former governor and former Charlotte mayor has led in the polls in recent months, according to internal polling from both McCrory’s and Budd’s campaigns. McCrory’s lead is shrinking and Budd’s is rising, however, according to those same polls. 
  • For Growth Action, which backed Budd in his 2016 U.S. House race, has committed to spending $10 million to support Budd’s election to the Senate. It’s spent millions already for ads touting Trump’s endorsement of Budd and for ads critical of McCrory. It also sent out a full-color mailer attacking McCrory. 
  • “They’re throwing ads out there that are the most deceptive, deceiving ads. You ought to, if you get a mail out, put it in the fireplace. It’s full of lies,” McCrory said.  
  • Budd’s campaign pushed back on that. “Since 2016, Governor Pat McCrory has failed to support President Trump’s America-First Agenda,” Budd senior advisor Jonathan Felts said in a text. “Now he’s being held accountable for it, and like the thin-skinned, professional politician he is, Governor McCrory doesn’t like to be held accountable for his mistakes.” 
  • “This is the voting card given to every member of the US Congress,” Walker said, holding his up to show the crowd. “Somebody spends $6 (million) or $7 million on you, who owns that voting card? Do you? Or those people that tell you?” 

GOP Rep Lies About “Secret Maps” and Cheats With Closed Door “Strategy Sessions”

News and Observer: “a top Republican redistricting leader said on the witness stand that he had used secret maps, drawn by someone else, to guide his work.”

Yesterday, Republican Rules Chairman Rep. Destin Hall was caught lying and cheating after admitting to using “secret maps” to draw new districts, according to reporting from WRAL.

Catch up: 

What do these secret maps that contributed to the future of our state contain? According to Hall they have been “lost and no longer exist.”

In Rep. Hall’s own words, “the map you draw has got to be the one that you do in here [the live-streamed room] and nowhere else and that it’s up to the members and their integrity.” Now, despite Republican leaders’ many promises (hereherehere, etc.) that they are taking “unprecedented” steps to facilitate the “most transparent redistricting process in state history,” they have once again lied and cheated in attempts to stack the deck in their favor. Integrity.

Read more: 

WRAL: Secret maps, now gone, were used to draw parts of NC election map

News and Observer: Top GOP lawmaker relied on secret maps, later destroyed, NC gerrymandering trial reveals

Political stakes are high as trial begins in NC gerrymandering lawsuit

BY WILL DORAN UPDATED JANUARY 03, 2022 3:35 PM

RALEIGH

The gerrymandering trial over North Carolina’s new political maps kicked off Monday, with lawyers and redistricting experts sparring over whether the edge that the maps give Republicans is so extreme as to be unconstitutional. Over the next few days the Republican state legislators who drew the maps will defend their work against liberal challengers who are seeking to have the maps overturned as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. The challengers’ arguments largely echo those they made, successfully, in a 2019 lawsuit that resulted in the state’s maps being redrawn for the 2020 elections. But then the 2020 Census results came out, so the state had to draw new maps again in 2021. Those are what are being challenged now. Unless they’re overturned in court, they’ll be used in every election from 2022 through 2030.

The testimony Monday largely focused on the case being made by the challengers. Republicans will mount their defense later in the week, with closing arguments scheduled for Thursday. The trial is being held in a relatively small courtroom at Campbell University’s law school in downtown Raleigh, so seating is limited, but members of the public who wish to follow along can livestream the trial on WRAL’s website.

WHY IT MATTERS

Both major political parties are heavily interested in this case. Not only could it determine the balance of power in the state legislature, it could also be the difference in which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2022 elections, since Democrats currently have only a slim majority there. Under the maps GOP lawmakers drew last fall, their party would almost certainly be guaranteed a majority in the state legislature for years to come and would have a decent shot at getting back a veto-proof supermajority. At the congressional level, The News & Observer has reported that if the statewide vote were to be split roughly equally, Republicans would be expected to win 10 or 11 of the state’s 14 seats in the U.S. House. Because of the high stakes, the N.C. Supreme Court recently ordered the 2022 primary election to be delayed by two months, from March to May. That way, if the maps are overturned, there is a greater chance of them being redrawn in time for this year’s elections instead of any fix having to wait until 2024.

The three superior court judges picked from around the state to hear the trial this week are two Republicans, Nathaniel Poovey and Graham Shirley, and a Democrat, Dawn Layton. If the case makes it to the state Supreme Court, however, the political tables could be flipped since Democrats currently have a 4-3 majority on that court.

REDISTRICTING LAWSUIT DETAILS

Legislative leaders have said they did not use any political data when they drew the maps last fall, in a process that was open to the public to watch in person or streaming online. And Republicans have previously defended the lopsided results as being a natural result of North Carolina’s political geography — in other words, the fact that Democratic voters tend to live in cities while Republicans tend to be more spread out across the rural areas of the state.

The first expert witness to testify Monday, however, said he used a computer algorithm to come up with 1,000 different ways of drawing North Carolina’s 14 congressional districts — and that he came to the conclusion that the GOP argument about geography doesn’t hold up. Jowei Chen, a political scientist from the University of Michigan, said only 3% of the maps his computer program drew had a 10-4 GOP split. The legislature’s map is also an outlier on other factors including how many times urban areas were split up between multiple districts, Chen said, focusing specifically on the Triad region around Greensboro. “The enacted plan is a partisan outlier and I found that the Republican bias in the enacted plan cannot be explained by North Carolina’s political geography,” he said.

Most of Chen’s maps resulted in a likely 9-5 GOP split, he acknowledged under cross-examination by legislative attorney Patrick Lewis — not far off from the 10-4 split the legislature’s maps would create. But Chen said a key difference is that his maps tended to have numerous competitive districts, while the legislature’s maps do not.

A report from Chen that challengers submitted to the court shows that the current congressional map drawn by GOP lawmakers has 10 seats in which Republicans would be expected to win by 5 percentage points or more. Most of his 1,000 maps, on the other hand, only had four or five such solidly Republican districts — and none had even nine, let alone 10. Chen said Republicans in the legislature were able to give their party so many more-or-less guaranteed seats by creating several heavily Democratic districts. Packing many liberal voters into a small number of districts, he said, has the ripple effect of turning neighboring districts from competitive to solidly Republican. For instance, Chen said, none of his 1,000 maps had a single district that’s as heavily liberal as the Charlotte district that GOP lawmakers drew for Democratic Rep. Alma Adams.

Chris Cooper, a Western Carolina University political science professor, also testified as an expert witness for the challengers. He said the new maps were drawn because of the 2020 Census results, in which North Carolina gained so much new population that it gained an extra congressional seat.

Even though the “vast, vast, vast majority” of that growth occurred in heavily Democratic counties, Cooper said, the new maps would give Democrats less political representation than they currently have. The GOP’s edge in the state congressional delegation would be expected to grow from 8-5 to 10-4. “We got an extra congressional seat, yet the Democrats will lose voting power in Congress,” he said.

Read more at: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article257010887.html#storylink=cpy

Editorial: Nameless bureaucrats aren’t N.C. public schools’ problem, it is legislative neglect

Posted December 24, 2021 5:00 a.m. EST
Updated December 24, 2021 8:58 a.m. EST

Miles Turmon teaches an elementary school class in Durham. (WRAL/Lora Lavigne)

CBC Editorial: Friday, Dec. 24, 2021; Editorial #8724
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.


It seems Phil Berger, leader of North Carolina’s legislature, now agrees that our state’s public schools do, in fact, fail to meet the State Constitution’s guarantee of making sure every child has access to a quality education.

“Lagging achievement,” he says of our public schools. “Outright failure,” he goes on. So, he does agree that the state –which by the way includes Phil Berger and the other legislators who serve under his leadership – is in violation of the Constitution. It is good to see that he’s come around to agreeing with no fewer than two affirmations of that by our State Supreme Court since 1997.

Judge David Lee, who Berger regularly personally insults, denigrates and mischaracterizes, did what he was assigned to do by former state Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin (a Republican like Berger). He brought the plaintiffs and defendants together in OPEN court, reviewed the facts of the matter and the positions of the opposing parties and facilitated a mutually agreeable resolution.

What Berger doesn’t like is that it is an affirmation of public education and our state’s constitutional principle that it is state government’s responsibility to provide every child with access to a quality education.

Does Berger believe that’s what is happening today? The Education Law Center, in its “Making the Grade 2021: How fair is school funding in your state” gives North Carolina an “F” in funding level – 49th among the 50 states and Washington D.C. The state gets another “F” in funding effort – 47th. Who’s responsible for those bottom-of-the-barrel levels?

Berger blames “a failed education bureaucracy.”

Is he talking about the state Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the women and men who serve on local boards of education, school district superintendents, the classroom teachers and their students?

Of course this presumes Berger and his legislators have no responsibility.

Blame the bureaucrats. It’s a nebulous, meaningless dodge of the responsibility Berger shoulders. Who was the champion of abolishing the Teaching Fellows program? Who continues to push private school vouchers that funnel millions of dollars to schools that aren’t required to show reasonable or transparent measures of student achievement – they aren’t even required to show that students show up at class.

In a transparent and methodical way, the plaintiffs (local school systems, students and parents) and defendants (the state of North Carolina and the state Board of Education) worked together under Judge Lee’s guidance to reach agreement on specifically where North Carolina’s schools were failing to provide for a quality education and what specifically needed to be done to remedy the situation.

It’s not, as Berger suggests, an “unconstitutional scheme to funnel $1.7 billion in extra money to a failed education bureaucracy.”

It’s far from a “simple application of more money,” as Berger suggests. That, in fact, has been the way he’s going about directing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund his private school voucher program.

It does take a lot of money to address the decades of neglect that North Carolina’s public schools – its teachers and students – have suffered.

The plaintiffs and defendants, working with the Friday Institute for Education Innovation at N.C. State University, the Learning Policy Institute in Washington and coordinated by WestEd, came up with a comprehensive plan to deliver a sound basic education for children in North Carolina public schools.

It is no broad-brush solution but a highly detailed program that pinpoints specific areas of need throughout the public education process to help make teachers more effective and provide students with resources and support services so they’ll be better learners.

It is an example of leadership that Berger should be praising and supporting.

Current Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt should be in the forefront to support and fund this critical effort – instead of sheepishly and quietly remaining on the sidelines.

Now that Berger has said he agrees that North Carolina has been violating the State Constitution when it comes to meeting its obligation to provide a quality education to all children it’s time for him to speak up.

If you don’t agree with the detailed program outlined in the Leandro remedial program tell us, just as specifically, what you’d do to right this awful wrong.

Just blaming un-named bureaucrats is a dodge.

Throwing more money at the situation – as is being done through his private school voucher program – is just more of what he says are unproductive efforts.

North Carolina students deserve the quality education they’ve been promised and too-long denied. Berger and his legislators need NOW to put-up or get out of the way.