Archive for Patrick McHenry

Buncombe County, North Carolina residents who filed suit after finding their well water contaminated by chemicals from a CTS Corp. facility shuttered in 1986 will argue their case before the Supreme Court on April 23 (video clip from March 18). The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of 23 local citizens last year. CTS appealed.

At issue is whether the suit should be dismissed because of the lateness in filing the case. The pollution dates back decades. Community activist, Tate MacQueen, is among those leading the fight.

Because of the way North Carolina law is written, the Asheville residents may have no legal recourse. CTS shut down that plant and sold the property in 1987. A state statute cuts off a company’s liability 10 years after its last contaminating act, meaning the deadline for filing claims came and went in 1997. MacQueen’s heads-up letter arrived in 2008.

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Feb
26

Organizing for 2014

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Your Buncombe County Democratic Party needs you. We’re getting organized to make some change in 2014 elections, and every registered Democrat is invited to be a part of it. After the jump please find the time and location of your precinct meeting. Not sure which precinct you’re in? Use this handy tool.

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Raleigh-postcard

From The Progressive Pulse on the new budget, as it relates to education. Something wicked this way comes, folks.

“School vouchers: ‘Opportunity Scholarships’ to begin in year two of the budget, or for the 2014-15 academic year. $10 million set aside for $4,200 vouchers for students to use at private schools. Household income for those students cannot exceed 133% of the federal poverty level, at least for the first year.

Lawmakers will also decide this week on a separate bill that would give students with disabilities $3,000 per semester to use for private schooling.

Teacher tenure: teachers would become temporary employees with this budget. Instead of having ‘career status’, also known as tenure, teachers will have contracts that can be renewed based on performance measures.

Teacher pay: no raises for teachers, who have only seen a 1% pay increase in the past five years. Supplemental pay for teachers who have master’s degrees is gone, with the exception of those whose jobs require advanced degrees. A scheme for merit pay is included, with highly performing teachers getting bonuses in the second year.

Pink slips? Funding for teaching assistants was reduced by 21%. That cut will affect teachers, too, since many local districts also use that pot of money to fund their positions. And as we lose teachers, the cap on class sizes is lifted – so even more crowded classrooms to look forward to.

Pre-K: eligibility guidelines were not changed with this budget, and 2,500 slots were added. But since 5,000 slots are expiring this month, all this does is reduce the loss of pre-K slots by 2,500.

Charter schools: Language is included in the budget that calls for the State Board of Education to study virtual charter schools, including application requirements, enrollment growth and funding allocations.

The House budget proposal that included a half million dollars for PEFNC to develop charter schools in rural areas appears to have not moved forward.

Teaching fellows: The budget includes $12 million over the two year period for Teach for America, while the NC Teaching Fellows program is phased out.

Higher education: tuition will go up by 12.3 percent at UNC schools and community college students will also see increased fees.”

You can read more at The Progressive Pulse.

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It’s past time to start organizing and making sure that every registered Democrat has a state mandated voter ID card.

I would say this is unbelievable, but the rest of the budget is just a draconian, not to mention the last six months of GOP controlled North Carolina.

Honestly, what is wrong with these people?

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Nov
07

The Day After

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What a night. Congratulations to all of the winners. I’m looking forward to working with you. It takes a lot to stand for election, so great respect to those who ran whether they won or not.

Congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election. He won Buncombe County by over 25,000 votes though we weren’t enough to hold North Carolina for him. That huge Buncombe County Democratic advantage didn’t show up in our local races due, in no small part, to recent redistricting that boxed Buncombe’s Democrats.

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Nov
06

Today’s the Day

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I’ll be outside a voting precinct today advocating for the candidates I support. Over 40% of Buncombe County’s eligible voters already cast a ballot during early voting. The weather today is cool to cold and a threat of rain all day. Americans for Prosperity (a.k.a. Koch Bros.) are paying people to work the polls, even here in Buncombe. Democrats, meanwhile, have volunteers out helping.

If you have any time today, help out at your polling place. An hour or two can make an enormous difference. Here’s a handy list of Democratic candidates if you need it. It tends to be the case that a lot of Election Day voters come in not necessarily knowing about downticket races like Register of Deeds, County Commission, or the referendum. That’s where your presence makes a big, big difference.

Whether or not you work a poll, here are some other things you can do today to help:

1) Email all of your contacts urging them to vote.
2) Text all of your contacts urging them to vote.
3) Call the slackers in your life and urge them to vote.
4) Offer rides to the polls to people who need them.
5) If you’re using social media like Facebook and Twitter, be sure to link people to the above list of candidates.

It’s gonna be a nail biter, folks. No matter what happens, we’ll get through it together.

Oct
18

2012 Democratic Candidates

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You probably know just who to vote for in the Presidential race and the Congressional race. Maybe you even have your legislators and County Commissioners figured out. How many of you have the County School Board or statewide judicial races sussed? To help you sort out who’s who, the Buncombe County Democratic Party has put together a handy list of Democratic candidates. Use it if you want it, leave it if you don’t!

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Western North Carolina friends and supporters at NC Rep. Patsy Keever’s welcome home celebration explain why they stand with her. In contrast, Koch Industries, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs are among her opponent’s top ten contributors.

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Jul
11

Endorsin’

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Neither of the Democratic Congressional candidates in NC-11 and NC-10 will endorse President Obama. I’m not sure if GOP contenders Mark Meadows, Vance Patterson, or incumbent Patrick McHenry have endorsed Mitt Romney. Meadows reminds me of Romney.

I know that Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre, two Congressional Dems from further east aren’t planning on endorsing Obama either. The new GOP-drawn districts have created very difficult contests for Rogers, Kissell, and McIntyre, and they’re sticking to their own issues rather than trying to also advocate for the President.

Anyway, there are heads a’sploding across WNC as Dems work to build a united juggernaut that can approach the successes of 2008. What do you think of these developments, especially as they relate to the electorates of the various districts?

Apr
18

NC-10 Primary Open Thread

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As a result of the efforts of the GOP majority in Raleigh, I’m a newly minted resident of the 10th Congressional District, as are most Buncombe County citizens. Congressman Patrick McHenry has been serving for several terms after a successful stint as National Coalition Director for George W. Bush’s 2000 Presidential campaign. He’s got a Republican challenger in the primary named Ken Fortenberry. Be careful if you click that last link, it brings up his website with a mini-Ken that starts talking at you.

From an Asheville government perspective, we’re very hopeful that Rep. McHenry will be as supportive as Rep. Shuler has been in regards to securing transit funding resources as well as communicating with us about other opportunities for furthering our strategic goals.

There are three Democrats vying for the chance to unseat Rep. McHenry. Patsy Keever is a progressive standard-bearer with impeccable credentials and ethics, though it’s unclear how well her views will play with folks down the mountain. Her 2004 Congressional run against Charles Taylor was competently executed, so it’s clear she’s got the organizational chops. Keever is the strongest voice in the race for education and women’s rights, including the right to choose.

Mayor of Asheville Terry Bellamy is also running, and word is that she’s got the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which will help her organizationally and financially. Keever and Bellamy raised roughly the same amount of money according to the most recent documents. Bellamy has demonstrated a conservative streak that she’s balanced through advocacy for affordable housing and transit services.

The other Dem in the race is Timothy Murphy, who describes himself as proud liberal. I don’t know anything about him except what I see on his campaign website.

What’s the CW on this race? Keever and Bellamy will each get a lot of Asheville votes, but who has the edge in the rest of the district? Will the Democratic nominee’s stance on abortion rights be an important issue in the general election? Is McHenry beatable? Please opine at length in the comments.

Nov
15

Terry Bellamy V. Patrick McHenry

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AC-T:

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy announced today that she is running for Congress in the 10th Congressional District. Bellamy has served as mayor of Asheville since 2005, and is running for Congress on her record of creating jobs, finding pragmatic solutions that increase access to affordable housing and reducing violence.