Defending Democracy with Informed Community Action in WNC

Summary of Remarks by NC House Speaker Tim Moore

Tim Moore spoke to the Buncombe County Bar Association meeting on March 14, 2018.

He is a lawyer in Cleveland  County, which voted 62% Drumpf in 2016.

Re: why has the GA made judicial elections partisan?

Per Moore, it is because “outside organizations” were coming in and calling candidates Republican or Democrat and urging people to vote on that basis in certain areas. Apparently judicial races were partisan until 1998.

 

Re: Judicial Redistricting

Per Moore, the current consolidated judicial system was created in 1968 and any changes to it have been repeatedly kicked down the road. Two schools of thought on how to redistrict: 1) look at the actual caseloads, but consider in the rural areas also the geographical area and distance from the courts. 2) Do a population formula, with number of districts and judges driven by that. He is leaving drawing the districts to the Joint Senate House Committee on Judicial Redistricting.  They are trying to avoid doubling up judges in districts.

 

Re:  Treatment of Buncombe County by legislature—and is it time for home rule?

We are not a home rule state. The constitution delegates certain authority to county and city and that’s what they get. For example, the minimum wage should not be determined at the local level. Companies like consistency across a state, so Asheville will not be able to require a certain wage level to address low income and high expense issues.

 

Re: How to address uneven economy in state

The urban areas are doing well as the millennials are going to the cities. The rural areas need extra attention to health care and transportation, and the incentives for businesses to relocate to rural areas should be increased. According to Moore, Forbes stated that NC is the No. 1 state in which to have or start a business.

 

Re: Status of medical marijuana

The medical community will have to weigh in.

 

Re: Opioids

The GA should limit opioid prescriptions statewide. He is concerned about the diversion of drugs to nursing homes.  He also cited the multi-district litigation against drub manufacturers as being an avenue to deal with the problem.

 

Re:  Keeping voters from election judges and leaving to GA

He is not in favor of this. If there is a vacancy however, he wants the GA to be involved in selecting a replacement. Apparently the Senate passed redistricting legislation to see what would happen, but the House has not done so. He has been around the state to talk to people in the various districts.

 

Re: State incentives for business relocation

He suggested that one incentive should be a refund of income taxes collected from employees, if the businesses actually create jobs. Or if the business gets the refund and certain benchmarks are not met, the business has to return the money.

 

Re:  Guns and gun safety legislation

The legislature has set up a School Safety Select committee which is bipartisan and involving the sheriffs and local law enforcement and educators. The first meeting is 3/21. The committee is working through issues such as bumpstocks and caps on large magazines.  He would support getting rid of bumpstocks, but wants to see the “data” on high cap magazines. He has no strong opinion on that.

 

Re: Money for schools

Capital needs is a local issue. Lottery funds can also go to school construction. NC has raised teacher salaries in consecutive years and now the average is over 51,000.00 with starting pay at $35,000.00. More money has gone into education than at any time in state history. The budget contains $271 million for pay raises.

 

Re: Dreamers

No easy answer. The federal government is supposed to do immigration. Even though immigrants who work without official legal status put in their tax dollars, they cannot get citizen benefits if they are not a citizen. He thinks is it entirely unrealistic to think we are going to tell all 11 million illegal immigrants to leave and wants the federal government to straighten it ou.

 

Re: Upcoming session

It should be short, 4-6 weeks. He wants to focus on work force development since NC employers need qualified workers.

Budget: 23 billion with most in education, followed by Health and Human Services. He expects a surplus because of revenue increases.

 

Re: NC GA

Georgia’s 6th Senate District has approximately 178,000 people in it. It includes parts of Cobb and Fulton, including parts of Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Smyrna and Vinings.

The current senator is Hunter Hill, who defeated incumbent Democrat Doug Stoner in 2012, by a relatively narrow margin. Hill is very conservative and is now running for the Republican nomination for governor. In 2016 he defeated Democrat Jaha Howard, by a 52%-48% margin.  Howard did much better in the Cobb portion of the district and Hill did much better in the Buckhead and Sandy Springs areas. Clinton won the district by 15 points last year.  Racially it is predominantly white, has about 22000 black residents and about 3000 Hispanic. It does not seem to be undergoing significant demographic changes.

The median income is $62,500.00. 63% have a higher educational degree higher than high school.

There are three Democratic candidates declared for the primary so far:

Jaha Howard, a young black pediatric dentist. So far he has raised $82,000.00. He graduated in 2003 from Howard University and also received his DDS degree from there in 2007. He attained a pediatric specialist certificate from U. of Illinois at Chicago in 2009.  I do not see that he has a campaign website up yet.

Jennifer Jordan (pronounced Jerdan) who is a young forties’ woman lawyer with excellent trial experience and overall credentials. She has raised $130,000.00. Her trial experience includes cases against payday lenders in Georgia, scoring a win for consumers.  She also sued Brian Kemp in 2015 over that information breach at the SOS office.

She graduated from Georgia Southern magna cum laude, and likewise for U. of Ga school of law. She clerked for District Judge Anthony Alaimo after law school. (A District Court clerkship is a very desirable position and speaks very well that she was a clerk). She is a 2008 graduate of Leadership Georgia. And is a member of the State Bar Board of Governors. She is married with two children. Her website is up and running at www.jen4ga.com.

Nigel Sims is a young black banker working at Wells Fargo. He worked on the Michelle Nunn campaign. He does not have a website that I can tell and has very little history that I can find on the internet.

It looks like there will be a couple of excellent choices for Democrats in this race.

The only declared Republican so far is Leo Smith, the State GOP Minority Outreach director. He is, from the little bit I can find, a youngish black Republican strategist, but his internet footprint seems to be light. I cannot find any other work history.

I am sure there will be several more republicans joining the primary fight.

I do not see any endorsements out there yet for anyone.

This district appears to be a good possibility for a democratic success.