There is no questions that the Republicans won big in the 2010 elections. In North Carolina, Republicans made history by taking control of the State House and State Senate for the first time since 1898. (No, that is not a typo; Republicans had not held the legislative majority in North Carolina in over 112 years.)
This is clearly good news for conservatives but there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and the work isn't going to be easy. Republicans have every reason to celebrate their recent victories, but they must quickly shift their focus to solving the problems that we are facing. The fact is, if Republicans drop the ball this time, they will pay the political consequences just as they did in 2006 and 2008.
In North Carolina, as in many other locations across the United States, Republicans campaigned on a platform of less government, less spending, and lower taxes. That was certainly the correct platform to run on. But now that Republicans have the legislative majority, they must put their words into action.
To be fair to Republicans, we should remember that we still have a Democratic Governor in North Carolina. This means that Republicans don't have complete flexibility on their legislative agenda. But controlling both chambers of the General Assembly will translate into a tremendous amount of power and influence, giving Republicans a great deal of leverage to implement changes in public policy.
Several weeks before the November election, the North Carolina Republican Party released a "10 Point Plan" to help North Carolina get back on track. Here is the plan:
1. Years of overspending by Democrats have given North Carolina the highest tax rates in the Southeast and a budget deficit of at least $3 billion; we will balance the State budget without raising tax rates.
2. High taxes are killing jobs. We will make our tax rates competitive with other states.
3. Pass The Healthcare Protection Act, exempting North Carolinians from the job-killing, liberty-restricting mandates of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obama-Care”).
4. Fight to protect jobs by keeping our Right to Work laws intact.
5. Reduce the regulatory burden on small business.
6. Fund education in the classroom, not the bureaucracy.
7. Eliminate the cap on charter schools.
8. Pass the Honest Election Act, requiring a valid photo ID to vote.
9. Pass the Eminent Domain constitutional amendment to protect private property rights.
10. End pay-to-play politics and restore honesty and integrity to state government.
Each of the points listed above make sense and should be implemented. If the Republicans are able to follow through on each of those priorities, I have no doubt that North Carolina will see a more prosperous future.
In order for this to happen, however, Republicans MUST stay true to the values and principles on which they ran their campaigns. They must work hard and remain focused on solving the problems that are facing North Carolina. The work is not going to be easy, but it must be done and it must be done correctly.