Political Notebook: Rowan Republicans will elect new chair as race takes shape for N.C. House District 83

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Rowan County Republican Party Chairman Rev. Brad Jenkins plans to run for North Carolina House District 83, and the party will vote on a new chairperson during a special called meeting Nov. 30.

Recently approved maps show District 83 will comprise the southwestern portion of Rowan County and the northwestern corner of Cabarrus County, and does not contain an incumbent. Rep. Larry Pittman, who currently represents District 83, doesn’t plan to run for re-election and is drawn into another district if he changes his mind. So, the redrawn district will be open to any interested candidate in 2022.

Jenkins declared a run for District 83 against Pittman during the 2020 election but ultimately wasn’t on the ballot during the primary.

The NC GOP Plan of Organization states the chairman of the party must step down when making a run for elected office. The party is accepting nominations for the new chairman until the executive committee meets for a special called meeting on Nov. 30. Nominations can be made by contacting Jenkins directly at 704-785-0402. The new chair will finish the current term, which ends when Republicans meet for their county convention in 2023.

The meeting will be held in-person at 7 p.m. at the Rowan County Administration Building, located at 130 West Innes St.

Grant Campbell, a U.S. Army veteran and physician from Cabarrus County, says he’ll seek election to the 83rd District, too. In a news release, Campbell said he joined the U.S. Army Reserve in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, after learning about a shorage of physicians with surgical training. He was deployed three times and completed his military service in 2017 to continue working as a physician.

“I look forward to earning the trust and confidence of our community and neighbors to serve as their voice in Raleigh,” Campbell said.

Budd files resolution against OSHA vaccine mandate

Rep. Ted Budd last week joined hundreds of Republican lawmakers to file a resolution opposing President Joe Biden’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccine and weekly testing mandate.

On Nov. 4, OSHA issued a vaccine mandate and testing requirement for all employees at companies with at least 100 workers. The standard requires vaccinations or weekly testing. It has since been put on pause after a federal court issued a stay on the order. Last week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reaffirmed the stay, stating that the mandate was “fatally flawed,” and barred enforcement “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for permanent injunction.

OSHA shall “take no steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order,” the ruling stated.

“Every American should have the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” Budd said. “Placing this extreme federal mandate on private businesses and employees is unconstitutional and wrong. I’m glad to help introduce legislation that would stop this blatant executive overreach in its tracks.”

All 50 Senate Republicans signed onto the resolution. Sen. Thom Tillis, a Republican, said Biden’s mandate was a “gross federal overreach” and that it’ll hurt struggling businesses even more.

“Vaccines save lives and are the best defense against COVID-19, which is why I chose to get vaccinated, and I encourage everyone to make an informed decision to protect themselves and those around them,” Tillis said. “However, President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses is a gross federal overreach. I support any individual business’s right to make a decision for themselves, and small and large businesses across the country should not have to comply with this added burden. Many businesses are already struggling to get back on their feet from COVID-19, and this mandate will only hurt them more.”

Earlier this month, Burr, a ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued a statement opposed to the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for Medicare and Medicaid providers, stating it would exacerbate staffing shortages and burnout health care providers are already facing.

“America’s frontline health workers have done incredible, life-saving work throughout this pandemic, but the difficulties and challenges of the last two years have taken a toll,” he said. “By making federal funding contingent on a vaccine mandate, the Biden Administration is signaling to health care providers who allow employees to determine their vaccination status themselves that they are willing to prevent them from treating Medicare and Medicaid patients altogether. And because the Administration doesn’t actually know what proportion of health care workers are currently unvaccinated, it cannot say for certain how many patients will be impacted if unvaccinated workers leave their jobs in response.”

He added that while workplace and patient safety is critical, “so is making sure Medicare and Medicaid recipients have access to the care they need.”

U.S. Senate unanimously approves federal attorneys recommended by Sens. Tillis, Burr

The U.S. Senate last week unanimously approved the appointment of three U.S. attorneys recommended by North Carolina Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, both Republicans.

The Senate confirmed Dena King to be the U.S. attorney for the Western District, which funnels appeals cases to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. King currently serves as assistant attorney and previously served as special assistant in the Eastern District. She will also be the first Black attorney to lead the district, which stretches from the Charlotte metro area to the Tennessee line. King is a graduate of South Mecklenburg High School, N.C. State and N.C. Central University School of Law.

Sandra Hairston was appointed to lead the Middle District, which includes Rowan County. She will also be the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney — a position since held in the interim since March 1. She previously served as first assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District and is a graduate of UNC-Charlotte and N.C. Central School of Law.

Lastly, Michael Easley Jr., was appointed U.S. attorney for Eastern District. Easley is a litigation partner at McGuire Woods and is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC School of Law. He’s also the son of former Democratic governor and state attorney general Mike Easley.