White speaks to Democratic WomenPublished 9:59pm Friday, October 25, 2013
Former State Senator Stan White spoke at Thursday’s meeting of the Beaufort County Democratic Women. He discussed the changes the state senate has made since his narrow loss to Republican Bill Cook last year.
At the top of the list: the elimination of rural centers.
“The rural center really was a huge benefit to eastern North Carolina,” he said. “And it was a big loss when the decided to close all of them.”
White was concerned about new formulas for allocating Department of Transportation funds. He said the new procedure concentrated on street congestion, which is less of an issue in rural areas like Beaufort County. That meant that the county’s roads would be less of a priority than those in Pitt County or Rocky Mount.
“It’s just going to make it more and more difficult for rural North Carolina to receive DOT funds,” he said.
When the state opted out of the Medicaid expansion, White said it left 500,000 people uninsured and forfeited an estimated 25,000 new jobs that the program would have created.
“It was one of the major things that contributed to the closing of the Belhaven hospital because it couldn’t get Medicaid benefits,” White said. “I think we’re going to see more and more closings of rural hospitals.”
He was critical of new regulations that would allocate $10 million of public school funds to private school vouchers, especially after freezing teacher salaries, eliminating extra pay for advanced degrees and doing away with tenure.
“They are really doing it to stimulate the growth of charter schools,” he said.
White said the Restored Confidence in Voting Act targeted Democrats with laws requiring voter I.D.
“One study said 318,000 registered voters in North Carolina don’t have proper I.D.,” he said. “And that’s usually the elderly and those with a lower income. This isn’t about voter I.D. It’s about voter suppression, in my opinion.”