Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas. Be safe if you travel and enjoy the day. I hope Santa Claus is good to you this year!

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
- Calvin Coolidge

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Update from the Campaign Trail

Christmas Parades

There are three Christmas parades that I will be participating in as a candidate for NC House:

Greensboro Jaycees Holiday Parade
Where: Downtown Greensboro
When: Saturday, December 3rd @ 10:00 AM

Pleasant Garden Christmas Parade
Where: Pleasant Garden, NC
When: Sunday, December 4th @ 3:00 PM

Gibsonville Christmas Parade
Where: Gibsonville, NC
When: Saturday, December 10th @ 2:00 PM

Campaign Kick-off Fundraiser

Our first campaign fundraiser will be held on Wednesday, January 11th. This event will help us raise the funds necessary to keep our campaign moving forward. Special guests will include Congressman Howard Coble and Speaker Thom Tillis of the NC House.

More details on the event will be provided when they are available. Please mark the date on your calendar for Wednesday, January 11th!

Outreach to Small Businesses

Over the past few days I have been reaching out to small business owners in the community to seek their opinion on state government. All of them have essentially expressed the same concern: Don't raise taxes!

The business owners that I have spoken with want the government off their back. They know that high taxes and excessive regulations are bad for their business.

As a fiscal conservative, I will not vote to raise taxes. In fact, I will work to lower taxes and to decrease the overall size of government. Doing this will create a better economic environment for small businesses, which will lead to higher productivity and job creation.

Website is Up and Running

Our new campaign website ( is up and running. Please check it out and share it with your friends. Also, feel free to provide me with feedback if you have any comments or suggestions!

Well, that's it for now. More campaign updates will be coming soon...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

Today we honor the brave men and women who serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces. Freedom as we know it would not be possible without their sacrifice. Thank you to all of those who have dedicated their life to keeping our country safe and secure.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Excellent Run by Chris Lawyer

Chris Lawyer, who is a close friend of mine, made an excellent run for City Council at-large. He did not win but he ran a very effective campaign and came close to getting elected.

There are three at-large seats on city council. Six candidates, including Chris Lawyer, advanced through last month’s primary contest. Out of those six candidates, the top three get elected to City Council.

With the results being complete but unofficial, Chris finished in fourth place out of the six at-large candidates. Out of more than 90,000 votes casted, Chris was less than 1,000 votes behind third place. He also won the second most amount of precincts, second only to Yvonne Johnson.

This is a very strong showing for a first-time candidate. Chris is a bright young man who has natural ability as a political candidate. Chances are good that you haven’t seen the last of Chris Lawyer.

Friday, November 4, 2011

We're Going to Win in 2012!

Yesterday I issued an email containing a press release stating my candidacy for N.C. House District 59. Since then, I have received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement about my campaign.

I am very thankful for all of the support that I have received in the past 24 hours. We are on track to build a strong and successful campaign. There is no question that our efforts will be successful if we work together and stay focused.

Now I would like to explain why I decided to run for this position and why the announcement was made when it was.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Justice pre-cleared the redistricting maps that were passed into law by the General Assembly. This indicates that the maps are legal and that they are in compliance with the Voting Rights Act.

Although there will be lawsuits, it is now more difficult for the maps to be challenged in court. Therefore, it appears likely that the maps will go into effect for the 2012 elections.

Under the new maps, I am located in N.C. House District 59, which is an open seat. This particular district leans Republican in voter registration, which makes it very winnable for a conservative candidate.

After discovering that I would be living in this district, I decided that I would more than likely make a run for it. I then began to lay the groundwork for a possible campaign, but I didn't want to go public with my intentions until the maps were cleared.

When the maps were cleared earlier this week, I knew that it was time to go public with my intentions. I then put together a press release, which I submitted to the local media on Wednesday night.

Running for public office in 2010 was a fantastic experience. I met a lot of great folks and learned a lot on the campaign trail. Being a candidate was a humbling experience and it increased my passion for public service.

As you know, we have been faced with a serious economic downturn in North Carolina. In fact, the unemployment rate here is higher than the national average. This, of course, is unacceptable.

Fortunately, the citizens of North Carolina elected a conservative majority to the General Assembly in 2010 for the first time in over a century. But there is still work to be done. It is important that we expand our conservative majority in the General Assembly and elect a Republican governor in 2012.

As we move forward, we are going to run a positive campaign that focuses on ideas and solutions. Economic development and job creation are going to be the most important part of my platform. As a fiscal conservative, I believe that we must rely on the private sector, not the government, to pull us out of this recession.

Please know that I need your support to make this campaign a success. I am dedicated to winning this election but I need your help to make it happen. There is no way that I could do this without generous support from people like you.

North Carolina is my home and I want to help secure a bright future for our citizens. Times are tough but I know that our best days are still ahead. Best wishes and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Special Announcement

The following is a press release that was sent to the local media yesterday:

Greensboro Native Jon Hardister Announces Bid for NC House District 59

Contact: Jon Hardister: (336) 404-8791
November 2, 2011

GREENSBORO, NC - Greensboro native and resident Jon Hardister announced Wednesday his intentions to seek the Republican nomination for NC House District 59.

In a statement, Hardister said, "I was born and raised here in Guilford County. This community has taught me that hard work and perseverance are vital to success and afforded me the opportunity to prosper. I want to give back to the community that has given me so much. It is my passion for public service and concern about North Carolina's future that has encouraged me to run for office. My campaign platform will center on economic growth and job creation for the citizens of Guilford County and all of North Carolina."

Jon was born and raised in Greensboro, NC as the only child of Wayne and Carolyn Hardister. He attended Moorehead Elementary School, Kiser Middle School, and Grimsley High School. After graduating from high school, Jon attended Greensboro College where he obtained a BA in Political Science. His plan was to attend law school after graduating from college, but decided that he was ready to go to work instead. He currently works at First Carolina Mortgage, a business that his family started in 1990.

Jon added, "Trust and accountability will be an important part of my message to the voters. I look forward to running a positive campaign that focuses on ideas that will help secure a better future for our citizens."

More details coming soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chris Lawyer for Greensboro City Council

Several months ago I had a conversation with a good friend of mine named Chris Lawyer. We had a discussion about politics, which wasn't an unusual topic for us to discuss. We both share a conservative political philosophy and we have a habit of discussing political issues.

While in this particular conversation, I was reminded of the passion that Chris has for helping people and establishing a better form of government. Suddenly, I remembered that municipal elections are coming up this year and an interesting idea came across my mind: Chris would make an excellent candidate for public office.

After pondering the thought for a moment, I asked Chris if he would consider running for Greensboro City Council. Without hesitation, Chris told me that he would, indeed, consider running for public office. This was a surprise to me, because I fully expected him to say no. After all, there are a lot of folks out there who would make a good candidate for public office but they don't want to enter the rugged world of politics.

But Chris had an important caveat along with being willing to run for public office: He said that he would only do so if I agreed to manage his campaign. Because I believe in Chris to such a great degree, I told him that I would be more than willing to help him get elected.

Shortly thereafter, we filed papers to form a campaign committee for Chris to run for Greensboro City Council At-Large. He decided to run for an at-large position on the City Council because he wants to serve all of Greensboro rather than a fraction of the city.

Since launching his campaign, Chris has proven to be a fantastic candidate. This is his first run for public office, but he handles himself in a professional manner and campaigning seems to come natural to him. He understands the issues facing Greensboro and he is dedicated to making his campaign a success.

Chris is a true conservative and he is passionate about securing a better future for the citizens of Greensboro. He understands that we can't spend money that we don't have and he knows that it is our citizens, not the government, that make Greensboro such a wonderful place.

As a physician assistant in a local ER, Chris has dedicated his career to helping people. While working in the ER, Chris has made a habit of listening to problems that people are having and coming up with solutions. He knows how to handle high-stress situations and he is able to work under pressure.

Furthermore, I am writing this in hopes that you will join me in supporting Chris. Running for City Council as a first-time candidate is a difficult task, but Chris is on the right track and he has an excellent chance to win.

Please vote for Chris Lawyer in the upcoming City Council Primary and encourage your friends to vote as well. Early voting began last week and the Primary Election is on October 11th.

If you have questions for Chris, feel free to send him an email: You can also find Chris on the web:

I really hope that you will support Chris. He is a person of sound character and he sincerely wants to serve the community.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dr. Mike Beitler for Secretary of State

Dr. Mike Beitler of Greensboro recently announced that he is going to run for Secretary of State in North Carolina. Although the 2012 election is over a year away, Dr. Beitler has begun the process of traveling the state to promote his candidacy and garner support.

Mike is a true conservative with libertarian views. He knows that government is often the cause of our problems, not the solution. He is passionate about public service and there is no question that he would be an excellent Secretary of State.

Please consider offering your support to Dr. Mike Beitler in the 2012 elections.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

General Assembly Update (July 30, 2010)

The North Carolina General Assembly reconvened this month to finalize redistricting and to address other unfinished business. Here are some notable outcomes:

General Assembly approves redistricting maps

New maps for Congressional districts as well as state House and Senate districts were approved by the General Assembly. These maps will now have to be approved by the Department of Justice or a federal court before they officially go into effect.

As expected, the new maps were a source of controversy across the state. Democrats accused Republicans of gerrymandering districts while Republicans argued that they followed the law and crafted districts that are "fair and legal."

General Assembly fails to override Voter ID Veto

State legislators attempted to override Governor Perdue's veto of legislation that would require voters to present a valid form of photo ID before voting. The legislation was intended to stifle voter fraud and protect the integrity of the ballot box. Unfortunately, the override of Perdue's veto failed as the Republican majority in the state House were not able to get any Democrats to join them in the override. State legislators voted along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor of the override while Democrats voted against it.

This issue is expected to be a major factor in the 2012 elections. Most polls indicate that the vast majority of North Carolina voters favor photo ID requirements for voting.

General Assembly advances restrictions for abortion

The General Assembly was successful in overriding Governor Perdue's veto of legislation that would place new restrictions on abortions in North Carolina. The legislation requires health providers to fully disclose the potential health implications from having an abortion and to provide the patient with images from an ultrasound. It also requires those seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours after consulting with a health provider before proceeding with the procedure.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Letter to the Editor

Here's an excellent letter to the editor that appeared in today's edition of the Greensboro News & Record:

Voter ID requirement safeguards elections

Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed the Voter ID bill and has demonstrated partisan politics at its worst. She chose to ignore the will of more than 75 percent of North Carolinians who view presenting a photo ID to vote as simple logic. To most citizens, it makes sense to implement the same requirements for voting as are in place for opening a bank account, cashing a check, renting a hotel room or even visiting the governor's own office in Raleigh.

Many of the requirements to present ID are designed to prevent fraudulent transactions involving our money. Isn't the integrity of our elections at least as important as the integrity of a checking account?

People moving to North Carolina from other states are amazed when they show up at the polls to vote the first time and find there are absolutely no requirements to prove your identity. Twenty-nine states in the U.S. require some type of identification for all voters. Voter ID is a common-sense safeguard for our election system. It provides integrity in the process and restores voter confidence in our elections.

Jeff Cox

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Here's wishing you and yours a happy and safe 4th of July. I feel very fortunate to have been born in America. Many thanks to all of those who have fought to protect and defend our freedom.

Happy Birthday, America!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Perdue Vetoes Photo ID for Voters

Governor Perdue vetoed a bill that would have required voters to show a valid photo ID before casting a ballot.

According to the bill, voters would have to produce a valid photo identification such as a driver's license, passport, or military ID. Local boards of elections would provide voter ID cards - free of charge - to voters who do not posses a valid photo ID.

If a voter went to the polls and did not have a valid photo ID, he or she would be able to cast a provisional ballot, which would be counted at a later time when a valid photo ID is provided.

The purpose of the bill is to curtail possible voter fraud and to protect the integrity of the voting process. Backers of the bill argue that it would improve voting confidence and promote fair elections.

Opponents of the bill argue that it would infringe on the right of citizens to vote and would provide an unnecessary obstacle in the voting process. But it is hard to make that argument when you consider the fact that local board of elections would provide voter ID cards - free of charge - to eligible voters

The concept of requiring voters to produce a valid photo ID is popular among voters. Earlier this year, an Elon University Poll found that 75 percent of adults in North Carolina support photo ID requirements for voters.

It is important that we protect the integrity of our voting system. Requiring voters to provide a valid photo ID is a reasonable course of action in protecting the integrity of our elections process. Unfortunately, Governor Perdue had a different take on the situation.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

General Assemby Overrides Perdue's Budget Veto

The North Carolina General Assembly has successfully voted to override Governor Perdue's historic budget veto.

Early Wednesday morning, shortly after midnight, the N.C. House voted 73-46 to override Perdue's veto. Five Democrats joined with the entire GOP House delegation in favor of the override. On Wednesday afternoon, the N.C. Senate voted 31-19 along party lines to override Perdue's veto.

Now that the veto override is complete, the $19.7 billion becomes official and will go into affect July 1.

In addition to making necessary cuts to the state's budget, the new budget allows two temporary taxes to expire and adds another tax cut for small businesses. These tax breaks will improve North Carolina's business environment, which will encourage economic growth and job creation.

Many will consider the veto override to be a major political defeat for Governor Perdue and a victory for the GOP. That may be true, but the real winner are the citizens of North Carolina.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Governor Perdue Vetoes GOP Budget

On Sunday, June 12, Governor Perdue vetoed the Republican-led General Assembly's budget plan. This marks the first time in North Carolina history that a governor has vetoed a proposed budget.

Perdue's veto comes as a disappointment to those who were hoping see a more responsible state budget. To their credit, North Carolina Republicans worked hard to create a budget that cuts government spending, allows a temporary sales tax to expire, and does not raise taxes.

The budget that the GOP proposed was a positive step towards stabilizing North Carolina's economic future. It would help to bring down the cost of government while creating a better business environment for the private sector. Unfortunately, Perdue had a different view of the situation and decided to exercise her veto power.

Now that the budget has been vetoed, the General Assembly will attempt an override. Republicans have a veto-proof majority in the Senate, but are four votes short in the House. Five Democrats in the House voted with Republicans to pass the budget. In order for the veto override to be successful, Republicans will need at least four of those five Democrats to join them.

It is expected that the General Assembly will attempt a veto override in the next day or two.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

N.C. House Gets Ready to Advance $19.6 Billion Budget

The N.C. House is on the verge of sending a final version of the General Assembly's state budget to Governor Perdue.

The budget, which passed the Senate on Thursday before moving to the House, totals somewhere around $19.6 billion. It cuts state spending and allows a temporary sales tax to expire. It also allows an income tax surcharge to expire and exempts the first $50,000 of small business earnings from taxation.

Republican legislators claim that the budget is a responsible effort that will help to balance North Carolina's economic future. Democratic opponents of the bill, including Governor Perdue, claim that the cuts in the budget are too deep.

If the budget goes on to pass the House and ends up on Perdue's desk, it will then become a question of whether or not Perdue uses her veto power. If she vetoes the bill, there is a chance that the General Assembly could override her veto.

Republicans currently have a veto-proof majority in the Senate, but they are slightly short of a veto-proof majority in the House.

The House voted in favor of the budget by a vote of 73-44. All Republicans voted in favor of the budget and they were joined by five Democrats. In order to override a possible veto, Republicans would need at least four of those Democrats to join them in the override.

We will now have to wait and see what Perdue does. If she vetoes the bill, it is almost certain that the General Assembly will attempt an override.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

This is a day when we commemorate those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. There is no way that we could enjoy freedom without the selfless sacrifice of those who gave their life serving our country. Please remember to thank a veteran for his or her service and let us remember those who gave their life in defense of our freedom.

Best wishes to you and your family for a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

North Carolina Republicans Work to Reform Annexation Laws

As it stands currently municipalities have the ability to annex unincorporated areas without the consent of those who live in the area that is being annexed. Many people feel that this is a breach of property rights and an abuse of government power. Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly, however, are working to restrain the government's ability to exercise forced annexation.

The Annexation Reform Act of 2011 (House Bill 845) would give property owners facing forced annexation a voice in the process. If passed, the bill would give people the ability to stop a proposed annexation by getting 60 percent of property owners to sign a protest petition. It would also require cities to provide water and sewer services to annexed property owners at no cost to the property owner.

This particular bill passed its second reading in the House on Thursday and is expected to pass a final reading on Monday. If it passes the House it will advance to the Senate where it is likely to face minimal opposition.

There is no question that forced annexation is a serious violation of property rights and personal liberty. Fortunately, our leaders in the General Assembly are taking the initiative to address the problems with North Carolina's annexation laws.

Friday, April 29, 2011

North Carolina Legislators Seek Public Input on Redistricting

Last night I attended a public hearing on redistricting in Guilford County that was hosted by North Carolina Senator Bob Rucho (R- Mecklenburg). The purpose of the hearing was to allow private citizens to voice their opinions about the current redistricting process to members of the General Assembly. Each individual who chose to speak was given five minutes to do so.

Senator Bob Rucho, who presided over the meeting, is chairman of the Redistricting Committee in the NC Senate. Also present were several members of Guilford County's House and Senate delegation, including Representatives John Faircloth, Maggie Jeffus, Alma Adams, and Pricey Harrison. Senators Don Vaughan and Gladys Robinson were also present.

The prevailing sentiment among those who expressed their opinions was that legislative districts should be fair, legal, and apolitical. It was clear that some speakers were liberal and some were conservative, but almost everyone seemed to agree that politics shouldn't play a role in redistricting. Some speakers even made specific recommendations as to how certain districts should be reconfigured.

Due to the importance of the issue I felt compelled to sign up as a speaker. When it was my turn to speak, I contended that gerrymandering has played a role in how current districts are configured and that the General Assembly should cast aside any temptation to reconfigure districts based on partisan politics.

Also, I pointed out that we have six House districts in Guilford County and that not one of them is competitive. Districts 61 and 62 are so heavily Republican that they are uncompetitive. On the other hand, districts 57, 58, 59, and 60 are so heavily Democratic that it is nearly impossible for a Republican to compete in any of those districts.

This, of course, represents a fundamental problem because it takes competition out of the equation and creates "safe seats" for the incumbents. Unfortunately, this leads to a situation where voters have little choice over who they want their representatives to be.

I also pointed out that I ran for public office last year as a Republican in House District 57, which is heavily Democratic. Before attending the meeting last night, I called the Guilford County Board of Elections to confirm the breakdown of voter registration in District 57. I was informed that the district is 51 percent Democratic, 25 percent Republican, 23 percent unaffiliated, and less than two percent Libertarian.

While Republicans only make up 25 percent of voters in District 57, I was able to obtain 44 percent of the vote. This, I contended, indicates that I would have likely won the election if the numbers in the district were competitive.

Furthermore, I appealed to the General Assembly to draw districts that are fair and legal and competitive. I also asked that our elected officials follow state and federal guidelines when implementing the redistricting process.

At the hearing, Senator Rucho stated that the General Assembly is committed to configuring districts that are fair and legal and that all of the necessary guidelines will be followed. He asserted that the process will be done in a way that is efficient and transparent. Senator Rucho also stated that maps will become available for the public to see in late May or early June.

More than likely, the General Assembly will vote on a redistricting plan in June. If the plan passes the House and Senate, it will be submitted to the United States Justice Department for approval.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Legislators Debate Cell Phone Limits for Drivers

Members of the NC House are debating a bill that would increase restrictions on cell phone use for those behind the wheel. There is already a ban on young drivers from using cell phones and no one is allowed to text while driving. Some legislators, however, feel that current laws are insufficient and are pushing for further restrictions.

House Bill 31, which was introduced by Rep. Garland Pierce (D – Scotland), would make using a cell phone while driving illegal unless the driver is able to talk hands-free. (Using a wireless headset or a voice-activated phone would be permissible.)

Fines of $100 or more would be levied upon those who violate the law, but driver’s license points would not be imposed. Exceptions would be allowed for making emergency 911 calls and for law enforcement officers and rescue workers performing official duties.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Republicans Introduce Voter ID Legislation

In an effort to protect against possible voter fraud, North Carolina Republicans are pushing legislation that would require citizens to present valid photo identification before voting.

The legislation, which was recently filed in the North Carolina House by three Republicans, would require voters to present one of eight valid photo ID cards. Valid forms of identification would include a driver's license, U.S. passport, and a new voter ID card that would be issued for free by county election boards.

Supporters of the legislation contend that voter fraud is a serious concern and requiring voters to show photo ID would protect the democratic process. Opponents argue that fraud is not a serious problem and the requirement will discourage people from voting who may not have a photo ID.

As far as public opinion is concerned, a recent Elon University Poll found that 76 percent of North Carolina citizens support photo ID requirements for voting.

In 2010, Republicans campaigned on promises to implement photo ID requirements for voting, and that is exactly what they are trying to do. There will be plenty of debate on the subject, but the legislation is likely to pass the House and go to the Senate for consideration.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Republicans Unable to Override Perdue's Veto

Yesterday, North Carolina Republicans attempted to override Governor Perdue's veto of House Bill 2, which would have expressed a firm challenge to federal health care regulations. The Republican majority in the Senate had the votes to override the veto, but they were four votes short in the House.

House Republicans knew that it would be difficult to achieve the three-fifths majority required to override the veto. But given the importance of the issue, they thought that it was worth a try. When it was all said and done, all Republicans and one independent voted in favor of the override, while all Democrats voted against it.

Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R - Mecklenburg) released the following statement in response to the General Assembly's inability to override the veto:


This afternoon, we debated the VETO override for House Bill 2 (Protect Health Care Freedom Act). My House GOP colleagues knew we had an uphill battle, but we strongly believe that the Governor must not have the last word on our efforts to defend North Carolina from the overreach of the Federal Government.

Contrary to the contrived/official name, we believe the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" will NOT protect more patients and we are absolutely convinced that it will NOT be affordable. In fact, we strongly believe OBAMAcare will create another fiscal crisis for our Great State. It is a job killing bill that is opposed by pro-business (read: job creating) organizations across North Carolina and the United States.

To say that I am disappointed with the loss of the override vote is an understatement. However, I am proud of my GOP colleagues who fought the good fight. We may have lost this battle but the war continues. We must educate the citizens of North Carolina, and we need your help. I hope you will continue to join us in future battles to protect the future of North Carolina.

Good Night and God Bless, Thom T.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Governor Perdue Vetoes Challenge to Health Care Law

On Saturday, March 5, Governor Bev Perdue vetoed House Bill 2, which would have set forth a firm challenge to federal health care regulations.

If House Bill 2 were enacted into law, it would have exempted North Carolina citizens from the federal mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance. It also would have directed North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to join other states in lawsuits challenging the federal health care law.

In an attempt to explain her veto, Perdue called the legislation "unconstitutional" and "ill-conceived." She went on to say that the General Assembly should not enact laws that conflict with federal law.

The Republican majority in the General Assembly will more than likely attempt to override Perdue's veto. Republicans on the Senate side have a veto-proof majority, so they will have no trouble overriding the veto. Republicans on the House side, however, will need to pick up at least four Democratic votes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spending Cap Legislation Introduced in North Carolina House

Representative John Blust (R - Guilford) recently introduced a bill in the North Carolina House that would tie budget growth to inflation and population. The legislation (House Bill 188) is widely known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

Blust, a Republican, has pushed for this kind of legislation for the better part of 10 years. But because Blust has been in the legislative minority, he was not able to get the legislation through the Democrat-controlled legislature. Now that Republicans are in the majority, however, Blust will likely have more success in getting the legislation to pass.

TABOR would limit the growth of the state budget by tying allowable spending to changes in inflation and population. This is a good thing, because it will help to keep the state budget under control and force politicians to be more accountable with taxpayer dollars.

If the bill ends up passing the General Assembly, it will go before the voters as a constitutional amendment. If approved by the voters, the amendment would require a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly in order for lawmaker's to exceed the spending limits.

If TABOR ends up becoming law, it will help to stabilize the financial future of North Carolina.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Republicans Work to Advance "Castle Doctrine"

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are working to advance legislation that would expand protections for individuals who use deadly force in threatening situations. Senate Bill 34, which is loosely referred to as the "Castle Doctrine," is currently being debated in the NC Senate and, if passed, will be sent to the House for consideration.

Republicans are pushing for passage of the law because they want to provide legal cover for individuals who use deadly force to defend themselves. Senator Andrew Brock (R - Mocksville) is the primary sponsor of the bill. The legislation receives its nickname from the notion that "a man's home is his castle and he has a right to defend it."

In essence, the Castle Doctrine would make it so lawful occupants of homes, businesses, and automobiles are presumed to be in fear of their life and justified in using deadly force against a person who is illegally breaking into a building or car. Therefore, the burden of proof would be shifted to the prosecutor instead of the victim in proving whether or not it was an act of self defense.

The legislation would also limit the "duty to retreat," making it so crime victims may stand their ground and use deadly force when they are being threatened.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is a Class Act

I recently spent a few days in Columbia, SC. While I was there, I decided to pay a visit to the state capital building.

The South Carolina State House is the capital building for the state of South Carolina. It is a beautiful building with stunning architectural features. Construction on the building began in the mid-1800s, prior to the Civil War.

When I arrived at the state capital building, I walked upstairs to the lobby located between the House and Senate chambers. The South Carolina General Assembly is currently in session, so the room was full of lobbyist, reporters, and elected officials. I spent a few minutes sitting in the lounge area of the upstairs lobby, observing the activities.

After spending about an hour in the upstairs lobby, I walked downstairs to the main lobby. When I got there, I noticed that there was a press conference taking place. As I got closer, I was able to see that it was Governor Nikki Haley who was holding the press conference.

When the press conference was over, I was able to approach the governor as she was walking back to her office. I introduced myself and we had a brief conversation. She then gave me her autograph and took the time to take a picture with me.

Governor Haley was very cordial and gracious with her time. She has a warm personality and a professional demeanor. At the age 39, she is the youngest governor in the United States. She has had an impressive career thus far, and I have a feeling that it is only going to get better.

Friday, February 18, 2011

GOP Objects to Extension of Extra Sales Tax

Yesterday, Governor Bev Perdue introduced her budget proposal for the new fiscal year. It is a $19.9 billion budget that includes spending cuts along with the extension of a “temporary” sales tax increase. While Republican lawmakers applauded certain parts of the budget proposal, they are decisively against any effort to retain any part of a sales tax increase.

In the summer of 2009, Governor Perdue asked for and received a “temporary” 1-cent increase in the state sales tax. When asked why anyone should trust that the sales tax increase would be temporary, Perdue responded by saying, “Because I’m the governor.”

Now, less than two years later, Perdue is proposing a budget that extends three quarters (0.75 cent) of the 1-cent sales tax increase in an effort to generate revenue for the government. Republicans lawmakers, many of whom campaigned against tax increases, are not happy with the proposal.

Perdue also advocated a two percent cut in North Carolina’s corporate tax rate, which would bring the rate down to 4.9 percent. This would be a good move because lowering the corporate tax rate will create a better business environment and help to make North Carolina more competitive. Republican lawmakers, many of whom have spent years advocating for lower taxes, applauded the idea.

While Perdue’s budget doesn’t decrease any funding for classrooms and teachers, it does call for the government to cut funds for non-instructional services (such as janitors) within the public school system. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) expressed concern over such a move, asserting that it would be unfair to shift the burden to local governments because they would be forced to either raise taxes or cut services.

Perdue’s budget also calls for the elimination of 10,000 state government positions. As many as 3,000 of those positions may currently be filled, making layoffs a near certainty.

Now that Perdue has released her budget ideas, Republican lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House and Senate will move forward with writing their own tax and spending plans. Once finished, these plans will be sent to Governor Perdue, who wields veto power over whatever the General Assembly may send her. This means that there is plenty of debate that will take place before a final budget goes into effect.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

North Carolina Republicans Work to Reduce Government Regulations

Republicans in the North Carolina Senate are proposing legislation that would overhaul the regulatory powers of state government.

For starters, there is a bill in the Senate (SB 22) that would prohibit state agencies from imposing new regulations until a committee is put in place to oversee the process. And another bill (SJR 17) establishes the committee, which will be comprised of members of the House and Senate, to scrutinize the state regulatory process.

The committee would also travel the state to hear from business professionals and citizens on the effectiveness of existing regulations.

Both of these bills are expected to pass the Senate in the near future. In which case, they will be sent to the House for consideration.

This is good news for North Carolina because there is no question that excessive government regulations stand in the way of economic development. Putting a moratorium on new regulations and creating a special committee to scrutinize government regulations is exactly what we need.

Also, one of the best aspects of the proposed commission is the fact that it will be designed to hear input directly from our citizens. This is good because there is no doubt that our citizens can provide valuable insight as to what our government should do in terms of regulatory reform.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

North Carolina Republicans Work to Remake Charter School System

Republicans in the North Carolina Senate are working on legislation that would drastically change the way that charter schools operate. During the 2010 campaign season, Republican candidates promised to eliminate the existing cap on charter schools, which is currently set at 100. But the legislative measures pending in the Senate go beyond those promises.

For starters, Republicans want to change the state’s charter school law by creating a new state oversight board to oversee charter schools. This board would operate independently from the State Board of Education and the NC Department of Public Instruction. The measures would also increase public funding for charter schools and reduce current regulations, such as eliminating limits on how fast charter schools can grow enrollment.

These measures represent a positive shift in education policy in our State’s Capital. It is clear that our education system has room to improve, but expanding the role of government is not the answer. Supporting charter schools, on the other hand, will help to make education less bureaucratic and will give more flexibility to parents and teachers.

Friday, February 4, 2011

North Carolina House Passes Healthcare Protection Act

On February 2nd, 2010 the North Carolina House of Representatives passed the “NC Healthcare Protection Act” (HB 2) by a vote of 66 to 50. The legislation protects North Carolina citizens from the federal mandate to buy health insurance set forth by the “Patient Protection and Affordability Act.” It also calls for North Carolina to join other states in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the federal healthcare legislation.

This comes on the heels of U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling that the federal healthcare bill is unconstitutional. In essence, Judge Vinson’s ruling asserted that Congress does not have the constitutional authority to mandate that individual citizens purchase health insurance.

Now that the bill has passed the House it will go to the Senate for consideration. Due to the Republican majority in the Senate, the bill is likely to pass there as well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

North Carolina Republicans Work to Pass Health Care Protection Act

Last week, the Judiciary Committee in the North Carolina House voted 23 to 16 to pass the North Carolina Health Care Protection Act. The bill has moved to the House floor for debate and will be voted on in the near future.

In short, the bill seeks to exempt North Carolinians from the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care plan that was signed into law in March of 2010.

Although it is currently being debated, the bill is expected to pass due to the fact that Republicans have the majority in the North Carolina House. More than likely, the bill will pass along partisan lines, with most Republicans voting in favor of the bill and most Democrats voting against it.

If the bill goes on to pass, it will be a positive step in the right direction for North Carolina.

Monday, January 24, 2011

God Bless Jack Lanne

Jack Lalanne, the man who has long been hailed as the "godfather of fitness," died last Sunday at his home in California. His death was caused by respiratory failure due to pneumonia. He was 96 years old, and would have turned 97 in September.

This is very sad news to me. Jack Lalanne has been one of my inspirations for many years. I was hoping to have the chance to meet him someday.

Lalanne was born in 1914. He claimed that he was out of shape and addicted to sugar in his adolescent years. But in 1929, he was introduced to the benefits of exercising and maintaining a good diet. After that, he began a vigourous exercise regimen and developed a healthy diet.

Lalanne had a television show that lasted for more than 20 years where he promoted the virtues of physical fitness. He has also written several books and is famous for promoting his "Power Juicer" on infomercials.

But Lalanne is probably best known for the spectacular feats that he performed to celebrate his birthdays. Here are a few of the notable feats that Lalanne has performed:

Age 40: swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, underwater, with over 100 pounds of equipment.

Age 42: set a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on a television show with Art Baker.

Age 60: swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf, handcuffed and shackled, while towing a 1,000 pound boat.

Age 70: towed 70 rowboats one mile in Long Beach Harbour while handcuffed and shackled.

In addition to the amazing feats that he performed, Lalanne was also known for coming up with interesting quotations. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Your body is your slave; it works for you."

"If man makes it, don't eat it!"

"Anything in life is possible if you make it happen."

"Your waistline is your lifeline."

"Exercise is King and nutrition is Queen; put them together and you have a Kingdom."

"Don't exceed the feed limit."

"If it tastes good, spit it out."

"I can't die, it would ruin my image."

Lalanne would exercise for two hours a day, seven days a week. His workouts consisted of an hour and a half lifting weights, and 30 minutes of cardio exercise. He kept up with his exercise regimen even when he was in his nineties, claiming that he wanted to see how long he could keep it up. He also claimed to never have missed a workout since 1929.

Filled with passion and the desire to help people, Lalanne would constantly harp about the benefits of exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. He would travel the country and make speeches about how you can live longer and live better by taking care of yourself. He said that his goal was to help people help themselves.

When I first became aware of Jack Lalanne, I was extremely impressed with the energy and vitality that he displayed as he was advancing in age. Even into his nineties, he was able to do an impressive amount of push-ups and pull-ups. When I took notice of this, it inspired me to become dedicated to my exercise regimen and to maintain a balanced diet.

It is highly unfortunate that Jack Lalanne was struck with such a bad case of pneumonia. I had thought for certain that he would live well beyond 100, but pneumonia is a very dangerous illness. In fact, it has even been know to take the life of people who are in their twenties. Although Lalanne was in fantastic shape, he was still 96 years old and pneumonia can put a lot of stress on the body.

Jack Lalanne is an American icon and his legacy will live forever. The influence that he has had on the physical fitness industry is monumental. Lalanne has been and always will be a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world.

He said that he couldn't die because it would "wreck his image." It looks like that is the only thing he was wrong about.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

No Plans to Run for City Council in 2011

Over the past few weeks I have received encouragement from numerous folks to run for Greensboro City Council at-large in this year's municipal elections. I had never thought about running for a position on city council, but after several folks encouraged me to give it a shot, I decided to give the idea some consideration.

After thinking it over, however, I decided that I am not going to run for public office this year. Although I care a great deal the City of Greensboro, I am not yet ready to get back to the campaign trail. My focus in 2011 will be to keep an eye on elected officials and to support the candidates whom I believe are best suited to serve on city council.

Jordan Green of YES! Weekly contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I had any intentions to run for city council. He said that he had heard through the grapevine that I may be throwing my hat into the ring. I told him that I had given the idea some thought, but I had ultimately decided against running for public office this year.

Running for public office in 2010 was a great experience and I wouldn't rule out another run in the future, but it won't be this year.