Heading to the November 2018 elections

Published 1:31 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018


During mid-term election years, voter turnout and interest are usually low. November 2018 will be different especially here in North Carolina. Voters need to ask whether they see our state and country moving in the right direction. In our opinion (as proud Democrats), they are not. The need for more Democrats in both the North Carolina Legislature and nationally is obvious. Let’s look to the future.

Democrats believe in the fundamental principle that representatives, once in office, do what the people want. We realize that we must seek out and listen to a wide range of voices who want real change in the form of legislators doing what is best for constituents. We are doing this now by organizing frequent community forums, town hall meetings, web discussions and, in short, providing many opportunities for voters to tell us what they want in the future. At the state level, we have established a full-time communications shop, new digital strategies, added a whole cadre of interns, revamped our Votebuilder software and have gone to a year-round organizing effort to find out what the voters want. In Beaufort County, we have over 95 percent of our precincts organized and ready to help people vote (precincts are meeting in early February 2018 and if you need a contact, please email me at the address below). Our list of well-qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds grows daily.

Our major focus will continue to be economic growth. Under Democratic leadership, job growth nationally has increased for the last 87 months, but it is now time to insure those jobs pay a living wage and provide health care for employees. The typical CEO at a Fortune 500 Company received $53,846 for showing up at the office for one day’s work on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. The median American received $44,668 for working the entire year of 2017. This is wrong. The Democratic party continues to fight for corporate profit sharing so that the people who make the tires, drive the trucks, install the solar panels and serve the meals will earn more when the company makes more.

Our educational system must be better funded. To be competitive in attracting new industries to North Carolina we must have educated/vocationally trained workers ready to fill new technology-related jobs. Unlike the GOP, investing in our youth/young adults has always been a priority of the Democratic Party. Democratic leadership in educational efforts will also pay huge economic dividends is energy production focusing on renewable energy. In 2016, the average job growth in all job sectors was around 2 percent while in solar energy it was 25 percent. Right now, it is cheaper to produce a kilowatt hour of electricity using solar (0.038 cents/kilowatt hour) and wind energy than using oil or coal (0.068 cents/kilowatt hour). Democrats have proposed legislation to increase green energy in North Carolina while the GOP stifles it. This new technology will not only lead to more and better-paying jobs but will help reduce pollution and dependence on foreign oil. Partnerships should be created between solar energy companies and low-income communities so that this new source of energy is made available to people from all socioeconomic strata.

We are proud that ours is a rural, historically agricultural region. While honoring the time- tested traditions of family farming, Democrats have and will continue to help farmers to understand and use new technologies which result in increased efficiency of crop production. This efficiency can and must be compatible with protecting the environment especially our rivers.

Beaufort County is a socioeconomically and culturally diverse area. Democrats embrace this heritage by being the party of inclusion. You need to look no further than the racial makeup of both parties in Raleigh to see how different we are from the “established” GOP way of representing a region. Including diverse views in the decision process is the way to solve complex problems.

Significant differences exist between the Democrat and Republican parties, and it is clear that the GOP is complicit in the turmoil coming out of Washington, D.C. and Raleigh. That needs to change. There is one last point that we hope you will consider: every positive path we have mentioned above is in direct opposition to actions of the current North Carolina Republican legislature. We can do better.

Peter A. Farrell and Elaine Wood are members of Beaufort County Democrats. Farrell can be reached at paf1147@gmail.com; Wood, at elainew312@gmail.com.