Political notebook: Local municipalities travel to Raleigh for “Town Hall Day”

Published 12:10 am Saturday, April 1, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Two weeks ago, state legislators hosted a town hall meeting, but on Wednesday the town hall was in Raleigh.

Staff and elected officials from several Rowan County municipalities traveled to Raleigh on Wednesday for an event known as “Town Hall Day.” Hosted by the N.C. League of Municipalities, the event is designed as an opportunity for member towns and cities to talk to legislators.

Some of the local towns who attended included: East Spencer, Granite Quarry, Kannapolis, Landis, Rockwell and Salisbury.

Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander said a number of local municipalities had a lunch with Sen. Andrew Brock, R-34; and Reps. Harry Warren, R-77, and Carl Ford, R-76. Alexander said the meeting included talk about the latest legislative activity and efforts to repeal House Bill 2. Later in the day, Salisbury officials were scheduled to meet with Sen. Tom McInnis, R-25.

In addition to Alexander, City Manager Lane Bailey and Communications Director Linda McElroy also attended Town Hall Day.

Alexander said Town Hall Day is valuable because it allows city officials and legislators to all gather and discuss important issues.

She said impact fees, a charge on new development, were one issue discussed on Wednesday. Alexander said Salisbury doesn’t charge impact fees, but other cities could be negatively affected following a court ruling last year that found the charges unconstitutional.

Alexander said Salisbury didn’t lobby for or against any specific pieces of legislation in its visits with legislators.

Community colleges make Raleigh trip, too

Municipalities weren’t the only ones in Raleigh this week. Community colleges joined in on the lobbying, too.

A group of students and staff from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College were among the schools in Raleigh. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s newest Board of Trustees member Jeanne Dixon also attended. The group met with Brock, McInnis and Rep. Linda Johnson, R-83.

“We were so impressed with what the students learned and how well they advocated for the College and the community college system,” said Rowan-Cabarrus Community College President Dr. Carol Spalding. “They gained a lot from understanding how our funding works and had gained experience giving away college-branded hats and pins and taking photos that were shared on social media.”

Hudson happy with Trump’s action to dismantle Clean Power Plan

This week, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, cheered a presidential executive order aimed at dismantling President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Obama’s plan mandated that electricity companies reduce emissions in order to meet greenhouse gas emissions standards. America had been one of 194 nations that signed onto a global warming pact in 2015. An executive order this week by President Donald Trump puts America’s ability to meet that pact in jeopardy. For example, Trump’s action would ease restrictions on methane gas releases at drilling facilities.

While cutting emissions, Obama’s action would have also negatively affected coal-fired plants, by forcing come to close and stopping construction of others.

Hudson framed Obama’s action as protecting North Carolina from energy bill increases.

“I continue to hear from constituents who are concerned with the EPA’s overreach and what it means for their jobs, their paychecks and their electricity bills,” Hudson said. “By some estimates, the Obama administration’s power plant rule would increase energy bills in North Carolina by 20 percent or more, which is exactly why I’ve fought to stop it.”

Continuing, Hudson said Trump’s action would help create a more abundant, affordable and reliable energy supply.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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