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
Mike Clampitt is currently serving his first term in the NC House of Representatives for HD119 and lives in Bryson City, NC.Before finally winning election to the General Assembly in 2016, Clampitt ran unsuccessfully for public office several times. Losing twice in races for NC House and losing a 2010 bid for the Swain County Board of Commissioners.
North Carolina public schools are the largest employer in most of Clampitt’s district. Despite this, he supported bills that shortchange teachers and prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy over funding classrooms. Despite not being in office, he was an outspoken supporter of the 2013 budget, even though he was not in office. Clampitt voted for the 2017 budget which prioritized tax cuts for corporations over raising teacher pay and per pupil spending, forcing teachers to pay out of pocket for classroom supplies.
Clampitt voted to block an amendment that would have expanded access to health care for low-income, rural North Carolinians. He has the wrong priorities, voting for policies that benefit wealthy corporate interests over the people of HD119 who are working hard to make ends meet. All three counties Clampitt represents have a higher percent poverty rate than the statewide average along with a higher childhood poverty rate and a lower median income.
Clampitt voted for bills that roll back environmental protections, putting North Carolina’s natural resources and drinking water in jeopardy. He voted in favor of the “garbage juice” bill and for other bills that make it easier for large corporations to pollute North Carolina’s air, soil, and water.
Read on for more about Clampitt’s record during his first term in the NC House.
“Clampitt said that if elected he would not support more dollars for schools.” -Sylva Herald, 12/27/13
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.
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:
In February Senator Wesley Meredith introduced S65, the BRIGHT Futures Act which encourages the establishment of a digital infrastructure, “necessary for economic innovation,” including broadband, in rural areas.
Meredith joined Cumberland Rep. John Szoka and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest for a press conference on February 9, in which Meredith expressed excitement about the bill saying it was something he had been working on for six years.
“We have a lot of people who do not have access to broadband,” Meredith said, “we need to have that.”
S65 puts the Rural Economic Development Division in charge of giving grants to the Rural Infrastructure Authority to build digital infrastructure to support broadband. But while S65 is stuck in Senate Rules, Meredith had a chance to vote for the exact broadband investments he says he wants.
Instead, Meredith voted against a budget amendment that would have resurrected his six-year endeavor to connect rural North Carolina during the late-night Senate budget debate on May 12.
Earlier this week, Sen Phil Berger told the crowd at Rural Day that the Senate remains focused on “how we can improve the life of hard-working folks like you and your families” such as “confronting the opioid crisis” and creating common senses change that “enables rural North Carolina to thrive just like the rest of North Carolina.
Apparently, he forgot to tell his budget writers because the Senate budget clearly cares more about millionaire’s than rural communities.