NC House Speaker Tillis holds local meetings

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 18, 2011

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — The N.C. Speaker of the House is coming to Salisbury on Tuesday, and he plans to give local residents a chance to do the speaking.
Rep. Thom Tillis will invite questions and comments from constituents during a legislative town hall meeting — one of many he’s holding across the state — at Cooper’s, located at 122 E. Fisher St. in Salisbury.
The event will begin with a dutch lunch at 11 a.m. Tuesday, followed by the town hall meeting at noon. Those planning to attend the meeting are asked to send an email to speaker.rsvp@ncleg.net
“This is the eighth town hall I’ve done over the past four or five weeks,” Tillis said. “The main reason I’m doing it is to really go directly out to the people and cut through the middle man.”
He said broadcast and print media often don’t have enough time to talk about legislative issues in detail or answer specific questions about them.
Tillis, a resident of Cornelius, was elected speaker at the start of this year’s legislative session in January. It’s the first time in more than a century that Republicans have had a majority in both houses of the General Assembly.
The speaker will give a brief update Tuesday about the legislative session, talking about this year’s budget, reform bills, consitutional amendments and other recently proposed and passed laws. He’ll then invite feedback.
“I try to make sure that every person who wants to ask a question gets the opportunity,” Tillis said. “We haven’t been at a loss for questions or comments at any that I’ve done.”
So far, Tillis said, attendance at his town hall meetings has ranged from about 80 people to nearly 250.
He said they’ve asked about tax cuts, budget cuts, job creation and gay marriage.
Last week, state lawmakers passed a bill that would amend North Carolina’s constitution to ban gay marriage. Tillis said the amendment also would prohibit civil unions.
“It doesn’t change the law,” he said. “What it effectively does is change the bar if in the future that law was to be repealed.”
To amend the constitution, two-thirds of the General Assembly must agree to bring the amendment before voters, a majority of whom must then approve it.
The marriage amendment will appear on the ballot for the state’s May primary.
Later Tuesday, Tillis also will visit a meeting of the Cabarrus Republican Women at The Village Church. The church is located at 9280 Davidson Highway ,U.S. 73 just West of Odell School Road, in Concord.
Registration and a social hour begin at 6 p.m. with light refreshments. The program begins at 7 p.m.
The event is open to the public, and all interested women and men are invited.
In addition, Cabarrus Republican Women will welcome a special guest , Rep. Linda P. Johnson, of N.C. District 83 in Cabarrus County.
Reservations for the Concord meeting can be made by emailing CabarrusRepublicanWomen@gmail.com or calling 704-621-6984.
Those planning to attend the Salisbury town hall meeting can reply to speaker.rsvp@ncleg.net

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