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North Carolina legislator profile: Senator Phil Berger (R – Rockingham)

Over the next several months Real Facts NC will release a series of reports on key North Carolina legislators and how their work impacts the people in their districts. In the first of the series we’ll take a look at the man claimed by many to be the most powerful individual in state government, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger.

Berger has represented Rockingham County since 2001 and became minority leader in 2004 and Senate President Pro Tem, the leader of the Senate, in 2011. While Berger has succeeded in Raleigh enacting his conservative agenda, Rockingham county has seen more than its fair share of setbacks in recent years. 

Read below a summary of how while Phil Berger has gotten ahead in Raleigh, Rockingham has fallen behind. Find the full report: here.

Summary

  • Phil Berger’s hometown hospital went bankrupt and “it is neither inaccurate nor unfair to point one finger squarely at the state’s most powerful legislator.”
  • (Dwane Powell, The News & Observer)Phil Berger has led the charge to block federally-funded Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, costing more than a half-million people the opportunity to have health care.
  • In 2016, the MillerCoors brewery, one of Rockingham County’s largest employers, closed in Senate Leader Phil Berger’s district putting 520 people out of work.
  • While Berger has played politics with unemployment benefits, opposed the minimum wage, and supported reduced funding for education, 1 in 4 of his neighbors in Eden now live below the U.S. poverty line. People in Eden talk about the middle-class as a distant memory as families choose between paying their utility bill or eating, according to a Financial Times documentary on the town.
  • “Republicans will continue to support policies to provide students with the resources needed to succeed in the classroom; our view is that policymakers should be graded based on the only criteria that matters – what our students achieve.” – Phil Berger
  • “In every subject and almost every grade, Rockingham County students fall below the state average. According to state test results, they are woefully underperforming in math, English and science.”

For the full report: click here.