Ramsey’s central thesis was that while the news coverage has focused on “various leadership fluctuations,” change in itself “isn’t something to be feared.” In a sense, Ramsey is correct. Change is inevitable and an institution’s willingness to embrace transformative change and adapt is often a barometer of its health and longevity.
Of course, this point is wholly irrelevant. UNC is not undergoing a period of “leadership fluctuations.” Instead, leaders have fled (or been ousted) from a system that is at the mercy of a Board that has wrought ideologically-driven destabilization and austerity.Read More
Despite considering himself “bipartisan,” former Rep. Bill Brawley is anything but. He has repeatedly backed bills that put politics over people as well as several bills that have just benefitted Brawley himself. Brawley claims he’s “bipartisan,” yet he was part…Read More
Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) is being sued for more than $2.5M in unpaid debts by two large ag companies, both of which claim they sent multiple collections letters but received no response. Lewis’s financial struggles first made the news in October when WRAL found out he took a half a million dollar loan from a man later indicted on a bribery charge and two other six-figure loans over the past year and a half.
Headlines including “North Carolina soybean farmers take a hit due to US-China trade war,” “NC farmers caught in crossfire of escalating trade war,” and “NC tobacco farmers, already reeling, face new threat from tariffs” show that Lewis’s story sounds familiar to many farmers across the state. Sadly, even the second-most powerful Republican lawmaker in the NC House does not appear to have enough clout to force the NCGOP stand up for NC farmers and stand against President Trump’s trade wars.
Lewis said his farm “got into a real bind” that was worsened by the fact that most banks and lending institutions have cut off farms. National reports show this is a common story as cash flow problems have pushed many farmers into bankruptcy. Lewis, who operates three businesses in addition to his farm, collects a per diem for serving in the NCGA, and until last year worked as an insurance salesman, can’t be faulted for failing to diversify.Read More
Sen. Rick Horner (R-Johnston, Nash) is currently serving his second term in the North Carolina Senate. Prior to his election to Senate, Horner served as a board member of the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools Board for over fourteen years.
Since his election in 2016, Horner has made inconsistent claims about his support for health care access and education. Horner said the state should “take a serious look” at Medicaid expansion, but provided no further information on his position. Horner supported the 2019 budget, which failed to expand Medicaid. The 2019 Republican budget would have cut DHHS’s budget by $42 million.
Horner said he wants to bring urgency, accountability, and quality to education in North Carolina but as a lawmaker his votes did not support these claims. Horner, whose wife is a teacher, campaigned on teacher pay and said, “we need to listen to teachers,” but criticized the teacher rally and failed to follow through with his votes. Horner was the primary sponsor of a bill requiring school districts to repeal discipline policies that warned about racial disparities. Read more here.
"Not everyone up here was screaming bloody murder," Horner said when asked about the tensions between lawmakers and educators.” (Rocky Mount Telegram, 5/17/18)
Even NC’s other Senator, Richard Burr, who usually avoids speaking publicly, found strong words in opposition to Tillis’s primary challenger Garland Tucker. Politico reported that Burr said Tucker’s election campaign was nothing more than Conservative strategist and the late Sen. Jesse Helms aide Carter Wrenn’s “retirement fund.”
“This is Carter Wrenn’s retirement fund. That’s the only reason he’s got Garland running,” Burr said of the race. (Politico, 11/18/19)
The fallout from the firing of ECU Interim Chancellor Dan Gerlach has unveiled the depths of mismanagement and blatant ego on the UNC Board of Governors (BOG). In the most recent twist, an email released by the UNC System shows that lobbyist and BOG member Tom Fetzer’s private investigation into allegations against Gerlach, possibly stem from Fetzer seeking the position for himself. Specifically, prior to Gerlach’s appointment, Fetzer concocted a hackneyed plan that included a transition speech and action plan for the first few weeks of his appointment as interim chancellor.
According to the News & Observer, the email contains bullet points for a speech that included a note to insert an “inspirational quote,” and the outlines of a plan “for restoring ECU’s fiscal health.” The plan consisted of Fetzer committing a total of two hours a day of work in his first week on the job on financial management and student recruitment. Fetzer apparently pitched a half-baked plan to “Rescue ECU” by promising to work two hours a day.Read More
This week WBTV broke a story based on published emails that Tom Shanahan, the top lawyer for the UNC System, sent two cease and desist letters to Peter Romary, an attorney who had allegedly represented himself as a lawyer for the UNC System. Romary was in fact retained by individuals on the Board of Governors (BOG) to obtain damning video footage of ECU’s interim chancellor Dan Gerlach. The story implicates at least two BOG members, one of whom, Harry Smith, resigned from the board hours after emails became public.
BOG member Tom Fetzer hired Romary, who also invoked House Majority Leader John Bell to acquire video of since-resigned interim chancellor of ECU. Smith also hired Romary in the past. Notably, Fetzer previously asked Romary to investigate a chancellor candidate for WCU and ultimately derailed the search by breaking confidentiality.Read More
A bill that could lighten the responsibilities for college booster clubs is up for discussion again, and Republican House Speaker Tim Moore could become its greatest benefactor. Following the late September announcement that Interim UNC System President Bill Roper would be stepping do…Read More
In what appears to be a sudden change of heart, House lawmakers met Thursday to discuss three bills that would establish different versions of a “nonpartisan” redistricting process, H140, H69, and H648. All three bills enjoyed large coalitions of bipartisan sponsors when they were filed in February and April 2019. However, for six to eight months Republican leaders refused to grant hearings and the bills were stalled until Thursday’s discussion. Legislative staff shared a chart dissecting the differences between each bill pictured below from journalist Jeff Tiberii.Read More