Political notebook: Local politicians set New Year’s resolutions

Published 12:10 am Saturday, January 3, 2015

Nearly everyone’s got a New Year’s resolution — exercise more, read more often, spend less time watching TV — but elected officials also have political resolutions set for 2015.

The Salisbury Post asked several local elected officials what their political New Year’s resolutions might be in 2015.

In the North Carolina Legislature, Rowan County’s delegation all mentioned different ideas as their New Year’s resolution.

Sen. Tom McInnis, R-25, will travel to Raleigh in 2015 as a first-term senator. Similar to the top priorities during his campaign, McInnis said working on legislation that benefits the creation of jobs in rural North Carolina would be his New Year’s resolution.

“We’ve had great success in North Carolina in metropolitan counties since the Great Recession ended four years ago, but we’ve not had that same success in rural North Carolina, which continues to struggle and continues to lose population in many counties,” McInnis said when talking about economic development.

Similarly, McInnis said he would also work on ensuring schools in rural areas of the state have identical resources to school systems in large cities.

Attempts to contact Sen. Andrew Brock, R-34, were unsuccessful.

As for the N.C. House of Representatives, Rep. Carl Ford, R-76, mentioned two major transportation projects as his New Year’s resolution.

“My main two goals for Cabarrus-Rowan is continuing to push forward with this transportation plan and make sure to keep on schedule,” Ford said.

The transportation plan Ford referenced includes a bevy of projects across the state, such as an expansion of I-85 in Rowan County. The plan is scheduled to be finalized in summer 2015. One notable Rowan County project missing from the plan was an interstate interchange on Old Beatty Ford Road near Landis. Ford said working to get the Beatty Ford Road Interchange funded would be another part of his New Year’s resolution.

Rep. Harry Warren, R-77, said his New Year’s resolution would be to get the six bills he’s been working on passed and on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk by the end of the long session in 2015. Warren said he wouldn’t want to talk about some of the bills, specifically two local ones he’s working on, until he talks with locally elected officials in Rowan.

One example of a bill that Warren’s working on, he said, would expand reforms made on the Unemployment Insurance Program. Simply explained, Warren said the bill would “basically help people find jobs.”

State legislators weren’t the only ones with political New Year’s resolutions in 2015.

County Commissioners’ Chairman Greg Edds said his new year’s resolution would be to construct more “spec buildings” for economic development prospects in 2015. A “spec building” is usually constructed before a specific company or person inquires about locating in an area and could be built to suit interested companies.

Edds said other goals include completing a county re-branding effort and improving cooperation between county and city officials.

As for county manager Aaron Church, his New Year’s resolution is to build and improve relationships with appointed officials, city managers and nonprofit directors.

“I think its important that appointed administrators and executive officers for nonprofits and government entities have a positive working relationship and a professional rapport,” Church said.

New laws take effect in 2015

Starting Jan. 1, more than 80 new North Carolina laws, ranging from magistrate retirement age to credit for military training, took effect.

The laws were passed during the legislature’s 2013-2014 session.

All magistrates in North Carolina will now be required to retire at the same age as justices and judges of the General Court of Justice, which puts the effective age limit for magistrates at 72. However, the bill only applies to magistrates who begin their term on or after Jan. 1, 2015.

The list of laws effective this month also includes one that firefighters may need to pay attention to. Signed by McCrory on June 25, one of the many new laws will authorize criminal history checks for volunteers or paid fire department personnel and emergency medical services personnel.

Signed July 10, Session Law 2014-67 directs the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the State Board of Community Colleges to submit a plan that would ensure college credits are uniformly granted to students with military training.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246