Political notebook: City council candidates split into two groups

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 19, 2015

During an Oct. 15 City Council candidate forum, participants will be split into two distinct groups.

A larger portion of candidates during the 6 p.m. forum don’t have any experience on City Council. The second, 7:30 p.m. forum includes two of the three incumbents running for re-election and three with council experience. Catawba College’s Hedrick Little Theater will host the candidate forum.

Catawba Politics Professor and Provost Michael Bitzer, who will moderate the candidate forum, picked names out of a hat prior to Tuesday’s City Council meeting to decide the order.

The 6 p.m. group includes: Tamara Sheffield, Kenny Hardin, Todd Paris, Troy Russell, Maggie Blackwell, Rip Kersey, Mark Lewis and Stephen Arthur.

The 7:30 p.m. group includes: Karen Alexander, William Peoples, Constance Johnson, Scott Maddox, Brian Miller, Roy Bentley, David Post and Jeff Watkins.

Hudson’s bill passes Congress

A bill to increase airport safety and authored by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, unanimously passed Congress this week.

Called the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act, the bill was first introduced during Hudson’s first term. It also passed the U.S. House in his first term.

Among other things, the bill would direct the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to give technical assistance to verify airports have plans for responding to security incidents in the facility’s perimeter, including acts of terrorism and active shooters.

“As threats to our security continue to grow and evolve, we must ensure our transportation community is prepared to protect themselves and the traveling public,” Hudson said in a news release about the bill. “This bill will create safer airports and transportation hubs across the country by providing more extensive coordination between all transportation security stakeholders. Given the partisan gridlock in Washington, I am proud of the support from folks on both sides of the aisle, and I encourage the president to join us in our efforts to keep travelers safe.”

All Rowan legislators vote for state’s budget

When budget votes first occurred in the N.C. General Assembly, Rep. Carl Ford, R-76, was the only legislator representing Rowan who opposed his house’s budget.

At the time, Ford mentioned increases in motor vehicle fees as one reason for his opposition.

The General Assembly this week approved a conference report — a compromise between House and Senate leaders — and got the support of all legislators representing Rowan. The conference report passed the Senate by a count of 37-13. It passed the House by a count of 81-33.

Approval of the budget came on day 128 of the current legislative session. It was nearly three months after an original due date.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed the budget into law on Friday.

 Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.