Plans for a shifted Congress unsettling
To the Editor:
Well folks the Republican leadership has been mum this past summer in revealing what they intended to do if they gained the majority in Congress in November. More recently, they have revealed their plans in the vague terms of Impeach, Investigate and Obstruct the Biden administration at every turn. Now with the election near, they have finally told us in clear, unambiguous terms what they intend to do, cut entitlements, specifically Social Security and Medicare. Why? Because they are now worried about the deficit.
Of course, they were not concerned with spending when they passed tax cuts for the rich and increased the deficit by nearly $8 trillion during the Trump years. But now the deficit is a major issue again for Republicans and their solution to fix it is to penalize seniors who paid into the system over their working careers and jeopardize this valuable entitlement.
I know some will say this is fear mongering, that Social Security is safe and no changes will occur, but many said the same about Roe vs. Wade. Republicans said they would overturn it and they did. (Does anyone remember when the GOP criticized judges as unelected activists?).
Republicans are now plainly and openly saying what they intend to do. Why would we doubt them now? Of, course our GOP candidates for U.S. House and Senate will deny this plan, but are we willing to take that gamble? I for one am not!
We each have the opportunity to make our voices heard this election and reject this radical GOP attack upon the social safety net which has kept many families out of poverty. Inflation pales in comparison to what could happen to millions of seniors if this ill-conceived plan is successful. Remember, “Elections have consequences.” Let’s send a strong message to “Just Say No” to these crazy GOP plans.
Tom Massie, Sylva
Labels don’t matter, but issues do
To the Editor:
Who cares if you’re a Republican or Democrat? Who cares if you like Biden? Who cares who will run for president in 2024?
Right now, if the current brand of Republicans win, Social Security will go back on the chopping block … the cap on drug prices will be popped off … victims of rape and incest will be forced into an involuntary choice.
As for inflation, that is a worldwide problem because of Putin’s war and his nuclear threats to us all – threats that can’t be ignored. Yes, that means the cost of living has gone up in the U.S., but it has skyrocketed in other countries around the world.
Mary Joyce, Sylva
Pray and vote for the born
To the Editor:
I was driving home from work and noticed a sign in the midst of several political yard signs. The sign read “Pray and Vote for the Unborn.”
I thought about this message for a long while and decided that we should also pray and vote for the born. We should pray for children who are unloved, unwanted neglected or abused. We should pray for children who do not receive basic health care services. We should pray for children who cannot access necessary mental health services. We should pray for children who don’t get a good public education. We should pray for homeless children. We should pray for hungry children.
We should pray for women who have no access to family planning information and contraceptives. We should pray for women who have no access to affordable women’s health services. We should pray for women who have an ectopic pregnancy. We should pray for women whose unborn child is malformed or dies in utero. We should pray for pregnant women with chronic, life-threatening conditions. We should pray for women who need therapeutic abortions, and we should pray for their doctors who, fearing prosecution, refuse to give potentially life-saving treatment.
We should vote for candidates who care about these souls.
Ann Fulton, Sylva
Says Buchanan has right leadership tools
Rick Buchanan, candidate for Jackson County sheriff has served under four different sheriffs during his career. Through those years he has gained workable knowledge of all duties and obligations of the office of sheriff.
Rick has the leadership skills and the ability to work with the citizens of Jackson County to arrive at solutions to the problems we face. The office of sheriff is “of the people and for the people.” As our sheriff, Rick will humbly serve the people with integrity.
I am expressing my support for him as our next sheriff of Jackson County. Rick became a member of my department in 1991, and has dedicated himself to serve the citizens of Jackson County as a sworn office for 31 years.
I am asking you to vote for Rick Buchanan on Tuesday, Nov. 8, to ensure the people of Jackson County continue to have the best possible leadership in the office of sheriff.
Allen is a former Jackson County sheriff.
Vote against election deniers, for democracy
If Donald Trump is so smart, if he loves America as much as he claims, why did he not show us the “election flaws” in 2016? As you recall he won that hotly contested election. Yet, for the next three years he said and did nothing. He had the ideal position to analyze the process, identify flaws (and there are some) and recommend changes that would strengthen democracy.
Then as the 2020 election approached, he began his rant about the possibility of a rigged election, still with no suggestion of how to make it more secure. Does this sound patriotic to you? Is there any hint that Donald Trump was working for democracy?
Why no action to secure the election system in the face of an election which he lost massively? Here’s the simple yet dangerous truth: Donald Trump is the “hood ornament” of a national movement to re-write our Constitution in favor of the wealthiest individuals and businesses. There are various groups working relentlessly at this endeavor. They are right-leaning in political philosophy. Many at the worker level are your neighbors. Some know what the goal is. Others are merely loyal Republicans or independents who hope for the best for America.
Now, hope won’t save democracy. Americans need to study democracy and decide if they/we actually want to keep our form of government. If not, then vote however you want. If you do cherish democracy, then vote against election deniers. A big hint here – most of them are Republican. I doubt that there has ever been an election that was perfect. But near-perfect elections will uphold democracy. Merely harping about a few flaws is only meant to undermine the process.
Let’s identify the election deniers and vote against them. Vote for democracy!
Cheri Beasley is the better choice
Along with voters of both political parties, I am concerned with the future of democracy and the form of government that has given the citizens of our country freedoms and rights that are protected by the United States Constitution.
Many times, these rights are challenged, and at times they become clarified or in some cases seemingly expanded or diminished. Most recently, many women, in particular, have questioned their equality under the laws since the SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade. This decision has added to the partisan fray that has been explosive, unyielding and downright destructive over the last few elections. It seems our U.S. Congress has been paralyzed in its lawmaking duties and problem-solving role while wrestling with partisan nonsense. No one benefits from this, other than perhaps, the participants in the fray.
We are facing yet another election cycle that seems to be nothing but a repeat of accusations of leaning too this way, or too that way, with the intent to scare a voter into voting with fear, rather than making a rational, thoughtful decision on how to cast their votes.
We should be looking at policy preferences, ability to perform the job, and most important the willingness to do a job for all of their constituents. The U.S. Senate seat is a good example of the candidates that offer choices of voting out of fear versus voting to choose a candidate that will provide thoughtful, balanced input to legislation.
Cheri Beasley is a former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice. Sitting on the bench forces an individual to balance facts and law and reach a conclusion that is fair and just.
Contrast this to her irresponsible opponent who skipped U.S. Congress floor votes to attend a CPAC convention. Additionally, Beasley’s opponent is a member of the Freedom Caucus. This a tip-off that a vote for that candidate will be a continuation of the shenanigans that have been ongoing since the early days of Mark Meadows. And we now know where that led us.
So, instead it seems like voting for a candidate that took an oath to justice and had to balance the interests of divergent points of view would give North Carolina a voice of wisdom that could represent us to accomplish the legislating that needs to get done.
Al Platt will be terrific state representative for NC 119
Al Platt will be a terrific N.C. 119 District representative. Al is an upstanding, respected and successful businessman, a family man and community advocate from Brevard.
If elected, Al will work hard to serve the needs of the people in Jackson, Transylvania and Swain counties. He will vote to expand Medicaid to help working families have healthcare while creating jobs and strengthening rural economies.
Al knows we don’t have a shortage of teachers, rather a shortage of people who are willing to be underpaid, overworked and disrespected. He knows how hard teachers work and how important they are to our children’s education.
He believes our climate is changing, that we still have a chance to change things and leave our planet better than we found it. Al believes our democracy is important!
Al’s opponent, incumbent Mike Clampitt, has proclaimed being a proud Oath Keeper for years. He only spoke out to say he didn’t condone the Oath Keeper participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 Insurrection after his name publicly appeared on a leaked Oath Keeper membership list in the fall of 2021. Clampitt is now saying he hasn’t been a dues-paying member of the group for several years. It seems to me being a member, at any point, of a group like the Oath Keepers that has consistently espoused extreme conspiratorial anti-government rhetoric since its founding should be disqualifying. Publicly distancing one’s self from the group only after a failed coup shouldn’t absolve them from the consequences of past membership.
Can we really trust Clampitt to uphold our fragile democracy? Vote for Democracy. Vote for Al Platt for NC House District 119.
Democracy is a fragile thing
In his Oct. 6 Opinion piece, “You’re not entitled to your own set of facts,” Tom Campbell wonders where the voices of the silent majority are. I think I’ll toss my voice into the ring.
The far right wing of the Republican party has always had more than its share of delusional people: anti-vaxers, hollow-earthers, people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked and those poor souls who believed that the world would end on a particular date at a particular time and sold all their possessions in anticipation.
With the rise of the internet, these kindred spirits found a home. We now have people who believe that the Democrats are running a ring devoted to the kidnapping, sexual abuse and cannibalization of children. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. Now, exactly the same kind of delusional thinking has arrived in the form of the Big Lie; the idea that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election and had it stolen from him by a vast conspiracy.
This is now mainstream Republican thought and is being used vigorously by almost all candidates. This is terrifying. If they do well in the coming election, Republicans will see this as a viable strategy and we will never again witness the smooth transition of power that this country has been proud of. Every result the Republicans don’t approve of (those they lose) will be litigated to death.
I think most people believe that our democracy is a strong one, buttressed by our Constitution and the division of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. This is far from the truth. Our democracy is a fragile thing. It is supported by the good will of men and women who put their country above their politics. Well, we just lost half of them.
We can’t afford Scott’s proposal
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, chair of the Senate Republican Coordinating Committee who is responsible for electing Republican senators in 2022, came up with a Plan to Rescue America which seems to have a varying number of points. The presumption is that newly elected Republican senators will embrace and support his plan. His plan contains most of the MAGA talking points, a few I want to mention here.
On the one hand he wants to cut taxes on the people who are paying them, i.e. those making more than the standard deduction, which is a common Republican means to increase the debt. But his initial companion (since rescinded) proposal was to tax all those Americans making less than the standard deduction. That was somewhat watered down to encourage all Americans under 60 to work and pay taxes. Another one of his callous proposals is to put all laws on the chopping block every five years, including Social Security and Medicare, as a way to do away with them, another MAGA dream.
This would also put the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and numerous other important statues at risk. In addition, he links conservative religious doctrine and science in a rather bizarre way. He would have children recite the Pledge of Allegiance, salute the flag, and learn that America is a great county, despite SCOTUS decisions that do not force these requirements. The Senator would eliminate diversity training and any recognition/acknowledgment of past wrongs based on race or other characteristics. All in all, a MAGA wish list.
I don’t know that Ted Budd has officially adopted or endorsed this plan, but the Senate Republican Coordinating Committee is expecting newly elected Republican senators to support it. We can’t afford this plan in North Carolina and the only way to stop it is to elect Cheri Beasley (D) as North Carolina’s next senator on Nov. 8.
Reader tells why he’s backing Buchanan
I want to share a personal story. I have a different perspective than a lot of people in Jackson County.
For many years I was an addict. I know the struggles of addiction and how much someone may want to get clean, but just can’t. I have been there. I was arrested many times and I remember being interviewed by Rick Buchanan very often. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is he always took the time to encourage me and offer help to me to stop using drugs. Rick was always compassionate even though he still had a job to do.
Rick understands the drug crisis in Jackson County and what must be done to fight this epidemic that has affected so many families. Rick Buchanan made a difference in my life and this is why he is my choice for sheriff.
Are Jackson voters smart or gullible?
Here we are, less than a month from the midterm elections, and the ridiculous ads are flooding the airways. Ridiculous with candidates just stating the obvious, such as “inflation is bad.” OK, thank you for that obvious revelation, but what do YOU want to do about it!? Do you even know what’s causing it?
How about fancy catch phrases, such as “my opponent doesn’t share our mountain values.” What does that even mean? I also love the ones who attack the character of their opponent, or say that we must stop their radical agenda, without stating what that perceived agenda might be. What is it we’re supposed to fear so much?
Conversely, does anyone actually stand for something anymore?
Why would anyone vote for a candidate who has no stance or conviction on a particular subject? How much talent or character does it take to bad mouth someone else, without saying how they could do better? Surely, Jackson County voters are not that shallow or gullible, are we?
Additionally, I agree with Tom Campbell’s column in the Oct. 6 edition about everyone not being entitled to their own facts.
Facts are facts. They are provable, and are not an opinion poll. For example, the sky is blue, the earth is not flat and the 2020 election was not stolen.
Unfortunately, spreaders of “alternative facts” will enthusiastically vote based on made up stuff, so it’s up to the rest of us to counteract those votes based on informed decisions, not YouTube videos, quack experts on various subjects, or QAnon theories.
I’ll bet that Jackson County voters are smart enough to not even think about basing their decisions on those sources. Who’s with me on that?
I bet that Jackson County voters can realize when they’re being lied to, or simply not being offered a choice based on a stance, with a coinciding action plan.
I also agree with Tom Campbell in that we can’t just dismiss the spreaders of disinformation (lies) as kooks to be laughed at, because they will vote and prevail. We must be smart and vote in overwhelming numbers to be sure we’re governed by people who know the difference between fact and fiction. Otherwise, our democracy will be lost forever.
N.C. education, educators
First, let me say thank you to all the public education employees who continue to devote their time, energy and expertise to our children, our most treasured resource. As a retired educator, I understand the importance of public schools. It was disappointing to watch our N.C. legislature decrease resources while increasing expected outcomes over the years.
Even with the proposed salary increases in North Carolina’s 2022 Appropriations Act, the state is projected to fall from 38th place last year to 40th this school year. N.C. is 44th in the nation when it comes to per-pupil K-12 spending.
In the 1994 Leandro v. NC case, the court decided that N.C. was not meeting the needs of its students. In 1997 and 2004, the N.C. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina has a constitutional obligation to ensure all children have access to a “sound basic education” that should include competent and well-qualified teachers and principals, as well as sufficient funding across districts. In 2018, The Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan was ordered by the court as a resolution for Leandro v. NC to ensure every child has access to a sound basic education by 2028. Our Republican legislature is still fighting to overturn a November 2021 court decision that would fund the first two years of that plan.
N.C. has provided inadequate public education funding, but the dollars allocated to N.C.’s private school voucher program (Opportunity Scholarships) got a massive boost. These budget increases are greater than current demand for the program. At the end of each year, dollars have been left unspent. Instead of going into the general fund for use in public schools, the dollars were allowed to carry over to the next year, increasing each subsequent year’s voucher budget.
Republican legislators are funneling more dollars to private schools through voucher programs, but they are failing to require similar levels of transparency about student achievement and school finances. N.C. should hold all schools receiving Opportunity Scholarship funds to the same accountability standards as public schools. Why aren’t statistics about teacher credentials, student test performance and finances posted, as they are for traditional public schools and charter schools?
Some people want to complain about what teachers are doing or teaching or expecting. Parents want to be involved. Great! Volunteer. Do homework with your children so you know what they are learning. Check their agenda books daily. Keep up with their assignments and grades (they’re online). Read the same books they read, both so you know what they are reading, and so you can discuss the content. Compare it with your family’s understanding of the world. Educators are experts who need your support, not your uninformed opinions.
The problem in our N.C. schools is not our educators, but the limited resources directed toward public education. N.C. House candidate Al Platt recognizes the importance of public education. N.C. Senate candidate Karen McCracken has been a teacher. I’m voting Blue in November for legislators who care about strong public schools in North Carolina.
Why are teachers leaving?
In recent years, we have seen a number of people leaving the teaching profession or moving to other states for higher salaries among other reasons. According to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the percentage of teachers leaving the profession increased from 7.53 percent in 2019-20 to 8.20 percent in 2020-21. In 2020-21, the most common reason for leaving was personal reasons (44.6 percent), followed by other reasons (25.5 percent), beyond control of the district (24 percent), and initiated by the district (5.9 percent).
In the early 2000s, North Carolina was near the top in the South in teacher pay and per pupil spending. Its teacher incentive pay tied to end-of-grade and end-of-course testing programs was a model for education reform throughout the country. Soon after that when Republicans controlled the General Assembly, they began doing away with extra pay for tenure, teacher pensions, master’s pay and the N.C. Scholars Program that gave student-teachers a reason to stay and work in N.C. after college graduation. Democrats were opposed to these changes but they were outnumbered, and our education system began to decline.
According to Salary.com, the average teacher salary in N.C. is $58,910 as of April 26, but the range typically falls between $51,500 and $68,055. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including degrees earned and the number of years spent in the profession.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s 2022-23 budget had $526 million for education which includes $90 million to enhance early childhood education and $52 million for pre-K expansion. In the final week before the end of the fiscal year, the Republican-led House and Senate agreed to a budget compromise that includes a 4.2 percent average raise for teachers for 2022-23. Beginning teachers will now start out at $37,000 instead of the slightly more than $35,000 they previously got.
At the March Indivisible Swain County meeting, Swain County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Sale said the legislature tells the counties what to pay teachers. We need to tell legislators that teachers require more pay and ask them to increase salaries. Sale said there needs to be a way to provide a supplement for teachers above their salary on the local level. In the recently approved state budget, teachers and school based instructional staff have been allotted small school supplements. However, Jackson, Haywood and Buncombe Counties and Asheville are giving a locally supported supplement in addition to the state sponsored supplement. Rep. Mike Clampitt and Sen. Kevin Corbin supported the state sponsored supplements. Sale is encouraged.
Teachers shape our children and the country’s future. They often spend more time with the children than parents/guardians. Can we afford not to pay teachers what they are worth when the cost to our children’s future is so high? What are we willing to give up to provide equal compensation for teachers and support staff for their work with our children? The least we can do is support county commissioners and legislators who will increase teachers’ pay. Are you willing to do this?
First, let me say THANK YOU to all the public education employees who continue to devote their time, energy, and expertise to our children, our most treasured resource. As a retired educator, I understand the importance of public schools. It was disappointing to watch our NC legislature decreaseresources while increasing expected outcomes over the years.
Even with the proposed salary increases in North Carolina’s 2022 Appropriations Act, the state is projected to fall from 38th place last year to 40th this school year. NC is 44th in the nation when it comes to per-pupil K-12 spending.
In the 1994 Leandro v. NC case, the court decided that NC was not meeting the needs of its students. In 1997 and 2004, the NC Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina has a constitutional obligation to ensure all children have access to a “sound basic education” that should include competent and well-qualifiedteachers and principals, as well as sufficient funding across districts. In 2018, The Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Planwas ordered by the court as a resolution for Leandro v. NC to ensure every child has access to a sound basic education by 2028. Our Republican legislature is still fighting to overturn a November 2021 court decision that would fund the first two years of that plan.
NC has provided inadequate public education funding, but the dollars allocated to NC’s private school voucher program (Opportunity Scholarships) got a massive boost. These budgetincreases are greater than current demand for the program. At the end of each year, dollars have been left unspent. Instead of going into the general fund for use in public schools, the dollarswere allowed to carry over to the next year, increasing each subsequent year’s voucher budget.
Republican legislators are funneling more dollars to private schools through voucher programs, but they are failing to require similar levels of transparency about student achievement and school finances. NC should hold all schools receiving Opportunity Scholarship funds to the same accountability standards as public schools. Why aren’t statistics about teacher credentials, student test performance, and finances posted, as they are for traditional public schools and charter schools?
Some people want to complain about what teachers are doing or teaching or expecting. Parents want to be involved. GREAT!! Volunteer. Do homework with your children so you know what they are learning. Check their agenda books daily. Keep up with their assignments and grades (they’re online). Read the same books they read, both so you know what they are reading, and so you can discuss the content. Compare it with your family’s understanding of the world. Educators are experts who need your support, not your uninformed opinions.
The problem in our NC schools is not our educators, but thelimited resources directed toward public education. NC Housecandidate Al Platt recognizes the importance of public education. NC Senate candidate Karen McCracken has been a teacher. I’m voting Blue in November for legislators who care about strong public schools in North Carolina!!!