Political notebook: Half of council candidates are chamber of commerce members

Published 12:02 am Saturday, September 26, 2015

If you’re looking for a Salisbury City Council candidate, a Rowan County Chamber of Commerce event might be a good place to start.

Half of the 16 City Council candidates are chamber members following the 2015 membership drive. Four candidates were previously members. Four are new additions. Some candidates are members as individuals, while others are members as representatives of a company.

Salisbury City Council candidates who are members of the chamber of commerce include: Karen Alexander, of KKA Architecture; Brian Miller, of BB&T Bank; Maggie Blackwell, a member as mayor pro-tem of Salisbury; Roy Bentley, of Frontier Technology Services; Tamara Sheffield, of Pepsico/Frito Lay; David Post, of Post Law Center; Rip Kersey, as a candidate for City Council; Scott Maddox, as a candidate; and Mark Lewis, of Fidelity Bank.

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce President Elaine Spalding said it’s fairly common for candidates to join the chamber during campaign season. Joining the chamber offers candidates a chance to speak to Rowan County’s business community, she said.

Spalding said the chamber doesn’t endorse political candidates.

Alexander, Miller and Blackwell were members prior to campaign season, Spalding said. Post was previously a member of the chamber of commerce under his business called “The Post Group.”

Spalding said joining the chamber also means discounts at local businesses. She said chamber members often offer other members some type of discount.

Anyone, whether a business or individual, can join the chamber of commerce, Spalding said.

Union endorses three in City Council race

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations has picked candidates to endorse in a number of different municipal races across North Carolina, including Salisbury’s City Council race.

The North Carolina AFL-CIO has picked Mark Lewis, Todd Paris and Constance Johnson as its candidates to support in the Salisbury City Council race.

In Salisbury’s region, Charlotte, Mount Holly, Statesville and Gastonia were the only other races in which the AFL-CIO chose to make endorsements.

The AFL-CIO says its selections include “candidates who sought and received the endorsement of working people in the Fall 2015 elections across North Carolina.

University poll finds presidential candidate characteristics

In the 2016 presidential race, voters see Hillary Clinton as having middle class values and Donald Trump as taking action rather than talking, according to a High Point University Poll released this week.

High Point’s poll surveyed 402 adults via landline or cell phone between Sept. 12 and 22. The poll aimed to associate specific characteristics with the two top presidential candidates — Clinton and Trump.

Characteristics more often associated with Clinton included: connects well with ordinary people, has middle class values and willing to work with the other party. Trump was more commonly associated with honest and truthful, takes action rather than talking and understands the economy.

Both candidates were tied for phrases such as good judgement in a crisis and smart.

The poll also judged candidates on specific phrases related to policy issues. Phrases associated with Clinton included: providing quality health care, promoting education and preserving Medicare. Those associated with Trump included: improving economic conditions, creating jobs and protecting the U.S. from foreign threats.

McCrory signs three bills

Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday announced the signing of three bills into law.

The three bills address charter school tuition and fees, overgrown vegetation and criminal laws relating to court efficiency.

House bill 334 would prevent charter schools from charging tuition or fees, except for fees charged by the local school administrative unit in which the charter school is located and upon approval by the board of directors of the charter school. The fees cannot exceed the fees for the same extracurricular activities charged by a local school administrative unit in which 10 percent or more of the students enrolled in the charter school reside.

House bill 44 allows municipalities to notify chronic violators of overgrown vegetation ordinances via regular mail along with certified or registered mail. If service by regular mail is used, a copy of the notice must be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected.

House bill 173 extends time allowed to pay court costs from 20 to 40 days and requires that a bond be doubled for anyone charged with a new crime on pre-trial release. The bill also changes the term “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” to model two U.S. Supreme Court cases.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add Mark Lewis to the list of Salisbury City Council candidates who are members of the chamber of commerce. 

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.