This installment of Real Facts NC’s legislator profile series focuses on Representative Dennis Riddell, a Republican from Snow Camp, N.C., in Alamance County. Riddell was first elected to the NC House in 2012, and is now in his third term having run unopposed in 2014 and 2016. Riddell’s bid for the House was hardly his first foray into the #ncpol scene. Riddell served as the Alamance County GOP Chair and was active with the Koch-funded NC Citizens for a Sound Economy in the early 2000s.
Riddell spends his time in the General Assembly continuing to advance the Koch's national conservative agenda. He supported corporate tax cuts at the expense of students and teachers, even afterpromising ABSS Board of Education members he would stop the NCGA from cutting TA positions. Riddell supports deregulation in favor of big businesses over protecting clean soil, air, and water for North Carolinians. Read more on him here.
The National Education Association released its annual report Monday. It highlights that, despite political talking points, North Carolina continues to rank near the bottom of teacher pay and per pupil spending when compared to the rest of the country.
In this legislator profile, we focus on Rep. Gregory Murphy, the Republican representative from District 9. Murphy was appointed in 2015 to fill the vacancy created when Brian Brown left to work for Sen. Thom Tillis.
Since his appointment in 2015, Murphy has fallen in line with his Republican colleagues to enact policies that weaken environmental protections, shortchange education, and prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy over policies that help hardworking North Carolinians, including rural communities, teachers and families. Read more on Murphy here.
“I hope to be able to contribute to the health, education and welfare of the people of eastern North Carolina and our entire state.” - Greg Murphy (02/16/17)
According to the News & Observer, State Superintendent Mark Johnson described the base starting salary of $35,000 for teachers was “good money” and “a lot of money” for people in their mid-20s. Johnson’s comments were criticized by some school board members for failing to reflect all of the challenges faced by teachers. In tuesday’s Council of State meeting, Johnson doubled down on his comments.
Johnson likes to tout his classroom experience, having spent two years in the classroom, two on a local school board, and having just finished his first year as Superinendent. With those 5 years of experience in public education, if he were still on the teacher pay scale he’d be making $38,300 – less than a third of the $127,561 he currently makes with the same amount of experience in public education as an elected official.Read More
In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Representative Holly Grange, the first-term Republican from District 20. She was elected in 2016 after a contentious Republican primary decided the seat as there was no Democratic challenger. Grange currently chairs the House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality, a committee created in the aftermath of the GenX crisis in her district. She also sits on the Appropriations on Education Committee.
"The idea of shutting down Chemours might make some folks feel better, but we hope the DuPont spinoff stays open as long as it's no longer taining the water." - Rep. Holly Grange (Wilmington Star News, 7/29/17)
Grange’s priority as a lawmaker are clear, instead of looking out for middle class families in her district she’s protecting the wealthy and well connected. Grange’s district is suffering from the aftermath of the GenX spill, and her solution is to get rid of environmental protections for big business. She altered the language of the budget to fund a state aquarium to be built on a prominent Wilmington developer’s “mega-development.” She ran on teacher pay, but voted for a budget that failed to raise their salaries to the national average while per pupil spending has actually gone down over the last school year.Read More
In the next two installments of Real Facts NC's series of legislator profiles we focus on Charlotte-area representatives Scott Stone and Andy Dulin.
Stone was appointed to the District 105 seat by former Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term after winning the election in November. Before serving in the NC House, Stone had tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics: he ran for the Arlington County Board in 1996 and ran for Charlotte mayor in 2011 and 2015. Rep. Scott Stone did not think the NCGA should change HB2 until Charlotte changed its own ordinance, even though HB2 cost Charlotte at least $100 million and he opposed all parts of Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance, including protection for LGBT community. Stone claims he is concerned about education, but supported a Republican budget that shortchanges NC teachers and students. Read more on Stone here.
Similarly, Dulin was elected to the District 104 seat in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term. Before serving in the NC House, Dulin tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics outside the Charlotte City Council. He ran for the Mecklenburg County Commission in 2004, ran for NC Senate in the 2008 primary, and Congress in 2012. Dulin is an out-of-touch member of Charlotte’s elite, putting his own advancement above the will of constituents and pushing the needs of corporations over students and teachers. Additionally, Dulin supported a measure that would make nondiscrimination ordinances subject to referendum less than a year after HB2 cost Charlotte millions. Read more on Dulin here.Read More
This unconstitutionally elected Republican majority continues to legislate, not on behalf of the people of North Carolina, but on behalf of their billionaire backers. Instead of protecting the middle class and building world-class public schools, this budget gives tax breaks to billionaires. Under this budget, North Carolina will keep falling behind when it doesn’t have to.
In addition to education, the GOP budget fails to provide for critical areas of need for rural North Carolina - including broadband and economic development..
The GOP budget also wastes money on projects of the extreme right:
It’s clear from Senate Republicans’ proposed budget that they are determined to follow their same misguided priorities - placing the millionaires and billionaires that fund their campaigns ahead of the needs of everyday North Carolinians. When compared to the governor's budget, this budget falls short in several key ways:
Instead of investing in schools, the Republican leaders in the Senate are willing to give away hundreds of millions of dollars on tax breaks for billionaires and giant corporations.
This plan would give millionaires a tax cut 60 times the size of what middle class families would receive.
Since Republicans have taken control of the state legislature they’ve chosen millionaires before the middle class every step of the way. Under the Senate plan, eighty percent of state tax breaks since 2013 went to the wealthiest North Carolinians.