Joe Sam Queen, North Carolina General Assembly
Democracy Day at Western Carolina University
I enjoyed being included in Western Carolina University’s Democracy Day, where I got to meet one on one with many of the college’s student leaders and activists. I joined advocates like College Democrats, Down Home and Democracy Now to encourage students to be politically informed and active. Hundreds of students had a great opportunity to talk with candidates or their campaigns; congressional, legislative, judicial, council of state and presidential candidates were all present. All were encouraged to register and vote. To close out the event everyone “strolled to the polls” in the Student Union to do just that.
Pancake Day is always great. I joined Pastor Keith Turman on the serving line where First United Methodist Church of Waynesville offered Christian hospitality to the entire community, serving free pancakes and fixings to well over 3,000 friends and neighbors. What a Great Day.
Welcoming Dr. Shelley to Haywood Community College
I was pleased to join the entire community in a welcoming reception for Dr. Shelley White, our new Haywood Community College President. Here I join Dr. White along with Waynesville’s Fire Chief, Joey Webb, David Onder, HCC’s Director of Institutional Excellence, Research and Grants and Lee White, the husband of our new President for a commemorative photo. I assured Dr. White that I was a solid supporter of Community Colleges, especially during the current struggle to appropriately fund faculty and staff.
Visiting Chancellor Cable at University of North Carolina, Asheville
Chancellor Nancy Cable had a delightful open house at the Chancellor’s Residence on UNC Asheville’s campus. I was honored to be included. I assured the Chancellor of my appreciation of and support for North Carolina’s University System and was very impressed with her vision for UNCA.
Haywood Chamber of Commerce
Haywood, Jackson, and Swain Counties all have wonderful Chambers of Commerce. This month I met twice with Haywood’s, first for their Annual Elected Officials’ Reception, where I had a great visit with Ronnie Clark, a Haywood County School Board member and his wife. I assured him I was working hard with our Governor to improve teacher pay and to offer a true School Bond to assist local school boards in meeting their infrastructure needs.
I also participated in the the Haywood Chamber of Commerce’s Inter-Governmental Round Table, where we focus on improving the business environment, expanding capacity and access to healthcare and raising NC teacher pay to the national average. Increasing the pay for our Universities and Community Colleges was also a priority because they play the key role in workforce development. Rounding out our priorities was the incredible need for better Broadband all across Western North Carolina. I assured the group these were my prioritizes as well and I would be working for all of them.
Waynesville Supports Medicaid Expansion
I was given the opportunity to speak at the Town of Waynesville’s Medicaid Expansion Hearing this month. I took the opportunity to emphasize how important it is to stop the waste of $4 billion annually of our tax dollars that should be providing affordable healthcare and creating jobs in our community. Expanding Medicaid will not only help more people get access to affordable health care, it will promote economic development and job creation. Expansion would also lower all health care insurance rates for every North Carolinian by 7% to 11% by covering the uncompensated care that is currently being absorbed in their rates. That’s Real Money in Everybody’s Pocket! For more information check out the Mountaineer.
Here are the numbers of jobs created, people covered and the local economic impact for our district if we Expand Medicaid
That’s 394 more jobs, 7,824 more hard working neighbors with healthcare coverage, $60.6 million in local economic growth and over $10 million more in new county tax revenue, taking the pressure off of property taxes. All of this for no, ZERO, new tax dollars on our part.
And we would save dozens of lives here in Haywood, Jackson and Swain, lives now being lost because this Legislature is denying the healthcare we have already paid for.
It’s time, it’s past time to Expand Medicaid.