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Surging farm bankruptcies point to Trump’s tariffs crushing NC family farms

This week the American Farm Bureau Federation released its 2019 report which, despite its bleak outlook, should give Rep. David Lewis some comfort.

The federation found that farm bankruptcies increased nearly 20 percent from 2018 and 2019 only trails 2010, the year following the Great Recession, in farm bankruptcy increases.

The Southeast experienced a 48 percent increase in farm bankruptcy filings from 2018. The second most of all US regions.

(American Farm Bureau Federation, 1/29/20)
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Races to Watch: 2019 End of Year Campaign Finance Reports

2019 end of year campaign finance reports were due January 31, 2020. Here we've aggregated totals for candidates on our 2020 Races to Watch list as well as key statewide races. Check back frequently for updates!

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Video: UPDATE: Rep. Mickey Michaux's Farewell Speech

Rep. Mickey Michaux's farewell speech on the House floor given June 29, 2018. 

Michaux was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Floyd McKissick. He was sworn in on Jan 14, 2020 and served for one day. He gave this followup farewell speech on the Senate floor on January 14, 2020.

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2020 Legislative Races to Watch

The following report reflects candidate fundraising information where available, detailed analysis of new legislative districts, and other qualitative data about each candidate, along with the 26 House and 14 Senate districts we believe are most likely to change parties this cycle. Expect the list to shift as we get closer to the election. 

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Nine Infuriating Things NC Republicans Did in 2019

North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, the only registered Republican on the NC Supreme Court, compared his colleagues to US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Newby said “Imagine seven AOCs on the state Supreme Court. Well, folks, we got six. It’s six to one.” Thes…

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2020 Filing and Retirement Tracker

See who is running (and who is not running) for NC House, Senate, and top-ticket statewide offices in 2020. This page will be update daily during the candidate filing period which runs December 2 to December 20, 2019.

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TLDR UNC BOG Chair: "This is fine."

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.

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Don’t Believe Bill Brawley’s Bipartisan Claims

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…

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Are Trump's tariffs to blame for Rep. David Lewis's crushing debt?

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.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rick Horner (R-Johnston, Nash)

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)

 

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