The COVID-19 pandemic continues to persist and North Carolina’s trends have continued to be worrisome. We need to keep in mind the health of all North Carolinians. We are all in this together.
The key to successfully containing this virus is building our citizen’s participation in proven preventative measures and by increasing our testing and tracing capabilities.
The key to restoring our economy is containing the virus.

Leadership Matters

Our Governor is working hard to move North Carolina forward with common sense steps. We are staying behind him and Secretary Cohen because they are leading us through this pandemic carefully and thoughtfully. Their leadership during this pandemic has provided North Carolina a stable platform to cope with the spread of COVID-19 all across our state.
We have sustained the Governor’s authority by sustaining his vetoes and we continue to support his data driven approach. We are all in this together.

Don’t Forget…

Doing your census is vitally important to our state’s function. Data collected from the census allows for us to appropriately allocate grants and funding to all of North Carolina. Please fill out your census, and spread the word to family and friends to do likewise. Being counted is key to us getting our fair share of future resources.

The Challenges of Education

The next big thing across the state is how are we going to get our schools and colleges up and running safely. And it’s complicated.
All hands on are deck. Except the legislature, which has adjourned until September, with no budget and lots of loose ends. Imagine that.
Even before the pandemic, the past decade of education policy has been dominated by a series of not just bad policies, but bad policies that are incredibly poorly crafted. Over the past 10 years the Republican Leadership has defunded North Carolina’s School system through budget cuts, reduced the number of teachers and increased the size of each class.
North Carolina should commit to the following list to account for past failures:
  1. Revising the state funding model to provide adequate, efficient, and equitable resources.
  2. Providing a qualified, well-prepared, and diverse teaching staff in every school.
  3. Providing a qualified and well-prepared principal in every school.
  4. Providing all at-risk students with the opportunity to attend high-quality early childhood programs.
  5. Directing resources, opportunities, and initiatives to disadvantaged students.
  6. Revising the student assessment system and school accountability system.
  7. Building an effective regional and statewide system of support for the improvement of low-performing and high-poverty schools.
  8. Convening an expert panel to assist the Court in monitoring state policies, plans, programs, and progress.
For a full report, check out this link.

What’s to be Done

Admittedly, there are a lot of unknowns. We will not have our state revenue numbers until July 15th, the extended tax filing deadline. We don’t know the full extent of our shortfall until we get those numbers.
We don’t know what the much anticipated and much needed next round of Federal Stimulus will be. We are hoping Congress will see fit to help the States and Local Governments to cover lost revenue and continue to meet public needs.
But we could Expand Medicaid right now, stopping the waste of $4 Billion of our tax dollars and bringing them back. We need the $4 Billion in North Carolina now. It’s an $8 Billion dollar difference to our state this year. We desperately need it now!
We could put a $4 Billion Dollar Bond on the ballot this November to help fund schools, universities, broadband, water and transportation projects all across our state. We desperately need it now!
We could pass HB1122 and advance broadband across our state. We desperately need to do this now!
We could Restore our Unemployment System. Presently the Great State of North Carolina has the nation’s worst unemployment benefits. During Governor McCrory’s Administration, with Tillis as Speaker of the House and Dale Folwell as Head of the Department of Employment Security, our state’s unemployment benefits were slashed from 26 weeks to 12 weeks and financial benefits were cut by over half. Tens of thousands of former recipients were just thrown off as ineligible. Now, in the midst of this unprecedented unemployment crisis we desperately need to restore North Carolina’s unemployment benefits!
We could Pass a Budget that… solves a lot of things. We desperately need to do this!

Joe Sam’s Notes

When we started this short session, we were working together. Similarly, Congress and the President were as well. But since then, things have gone south. We need to get back on track. This is not the time to be acting cavalier and irresponsible.
We have good options and we need to get on with them, let’s be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Stay tuned.
Until we speak again, stay safe. If you or a loved one is concerned about your health, the numbers for each of District 119’s Health Departments are listed below:
Haywood – (828) 452-6620
Jackson – (828) 586-8994
Swain – (828) 488-3198