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Political Notebook: Former congresswoman enters lieutenant governor’s race

Renee Ellmers says health care is the most important issue for her, and she wants to make North Carolina a leader in health care reform through bipartisan solutions as its lieutenant governor.

Ellmers served three terms in Congress as North Carolina’s 2nd District representative. She also was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as the regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services.

As lieutenant governor, Ellmers said she wants North Carolina to be a model for the rest of the country.

Her first task as lieutenant governor would be assigned special duties from the governor or General Assembly to head up a special health care task force.

“If I win that is a mandate from the people from North Carolina basically saying, we want Renee Ellmers to work on health care issues in North Carolina,” she said.

Ellmers said she has been focused on fixing health care since joining Congress in 2010 but found her voice getting lost among the 435 representatives.

“I went there because of health care and wanting to fix health care,” she said. “Your voice can get drowned out by a lot of other distractions and noise. After really watching health care over 10 years not moving forward in the way that I think needs to be from a solutions-oriented perspective, I thought what I do need to do is come back to the state and work on it at the state level.”

Ellmers said having health insurance means someone is responsible and it shouldn’t be unaffordable. She favors a free-market approach, contending that an expanding Medicaid won’t work. She thinks health care should be opened across state lines, and foresees a Trump executive order in the future, which she says will increase competition and drive down costs. She wants to expand telehealth to provide better access to rural communities while addressing those communities’ transportation needs. She would like to have price transparency so patients aren’t surprised by the cost and can possibly shop around. 

She wants the community to be involved with solving their health care needs, especially the opioid epidemic, through public/private partnerships. Recovery communities should look at providing resources after they finish treatment to be able to reenter into society. 

Ellmers sees health care being a divisive issue. Currently the governor and the General Assembly are deadlocked on the budget due to the governor’s request to expand Medicaid. She says expanding Medicaid will make vulnerable citizens have less access than they do already while continuing wasteful spending. Ellmers says health care should be a bipartisan issue.

“We can find common ground on any of these issues,” Ellmers said. “I think you have to do it on it on a bipartisan perspective in order to be successful. It can’t be my way or the highway. It has to be bringing folks together in a manner that welcomes everyone’s opinions and puts forward good, solid solutions.”

The lieutenant governors race is becoming crowded, with eight Republicans running. That includes State Superintendent Mark Johnson, who announced his run last week. Five are running on the Democrat side.

Incumbent Dan Forest is running for governor.

“Everyone that I have met so far that is on the campaign trail and running for lieutenant governor I can honestly say everyone is a conservative, everyone is a pro-life, everyone is pro-second amendment,” Ellmers said. “What I believe sets me apart from the others that I have a plan of action on day one on health care, and I’m the only one talking about health care.”

Rowan County Board of Elections prepares for filing

Filing for the county commission, state Senate, state House and Kannapolis Board of Election — Area 2 (Rowan) begins noon on Dec. 2.

The filing period will continue until noon on Dec 20.

Other offices will be on the ballot, including U.S. Senate and governor, but those will file with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Those with questions about local filing can call the Rowan County elections office at 704-216-8140.

The primary is March 3.

Beth Wood seeks 4th term as state auditor

North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood officially announced her candidacy for re-election for a fourth term on Tuesday.

She has served three terms.

“I possess the critical experience with public auditing, knowledge of state government and the credentials as a CPA that have resulted in the identification of hundreds of millions of dollars of inefficient spending over the past 11 years under my leadership,” Wood said. “The results of our audits have given rise to legislation aimed to prevent waste and inefficiency.”

Wood has 22 years of auditing experience. The first woman elected to that office, Beth has served as state auditor since 2009. She previously had worked in the State Auditor’s Office for more than a decade and also served in the State Treasurer’s Office. 

Tillis introduces bill to extend Terrorism Risk Insurance Program

U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. and Tina Smith, D-Minn., have introduced legislation that would extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program for seven years. 

Entities like the 2020 Republican National Convention, NASCAR, the NFL, and the NHL all require Terrorism Risk Insurance for their facilities.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Program was established in response to the scarcity of affordable insurance coverage for terrorism risk in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. A news release said, since then, the program has improved the availability and affordability of terrorism risk insurance coverage in the marketplace through a public-private partnership that allows the federal government and the insurance industry to share losses in the event of a major terrorist attack. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, enacted by Congress in November 2002, aims to ensure that adequate resources are available for businesses to recover and rebuild if they are the victims of an attack. Under the measure, all property and casualty insurers in the U.S. are required to make terrorism coverage available.



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