Wednesday, July 17, 2019

There Is No Disgrace in Losing a Political Contest

Joan and Jimbo Perry
Dr. Joan Perry of Kinston lost a runoff election for Congress last week in the Third Congressional District which runs down almost the entire coast of North Carolina. State Representative Dr. Greg Murphy of Greenville will be the Republican candidate running to fill the unexpired congressional term of the late Congressman Walter B. Jones on September 10.

It was a tough campaign with lots of outside money involved and lots and lots of tough ads. 

“Too tough” some said. There were ads that were so tough that many people say they could never run for elective office if they were the target of such ads.

Joan Perry stepped up and ran. Negative ads and all.

What could drive an otherwise seemingly “normal” and accomplished person into running for public office in this hyperventilated and often-times false and fact-distorting day and age?

Dr. Joan Perry came to The University of North Carolina in the fall of 1975 in the first class of 10 female students to win the Morehead Scholarship as Joan Templeton of Charlotte. The Morehead, now Morehead-Cain Scholarship is awarded on many factors but primarily it is a “leadership scholarship” based on the model of the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University in England.

From the moment Joan stepped on campus, everyone pointed to her and said: “She is going to do something really important with her life. She is a natural-born leader”.

That she has. She has been a practicing pediatrician for the past 35 years and treated thousands of infants in Lenoir County and surrounding areas. She raised 5 sons, no small feat on its own, and is now grandmother to 10 Perry grandchildren. She has served on numerous boards including the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and many church and civic organizations to help make her hometown and our state a better place to live for everyone.

She participates in international triathlons. At age 62.

She didn’t have to run for Congress. No one does. No one has to run for Congress or any other legislative body. She is a very busy woman doing very important things for her family and community.

She felt a calling to run. Great leaders always do. As was said of Robert F. Kennedy at his funeral, they see injustice and try to correct it; they see suffering and try to heal it; they see war and try to stop it. They run to put out fires that other people start and neglect to put out.

In her case, she was compelled by her pediatric work and her faith to do something about the infanticide bills passed in states such as New York and Virginia this past spring. She wanted to help reform our immigration laws and balance our budget so those children she treated wouldn’t have to pay the bills we are now piling up on them. She wanted to represent the needs of our veterans and military in Congress.

There is no disgrace for any great leader losing a political contest. There is great disgrace in not even trying when and if you think you have the capacity to effect change and improve things for the rest of us.

Abraham Lincoln lost five of the twelve elections in which he was a candidate. Was he a great leader? What if he had quit after one loss or worse yet, never run at all?

How many thousands of great leaders have self-selected themselves out of ever becoming a great political leader because they were afraid of a tough negative ad hurting their feelings?
RFK is oft-attributed as the source but the following words originally came from the pen of George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as they are and ask why; I dream things that never were and ask why not?”

Some women dream the same things and do something about it. Like Joan Perry of Kinston.

(first published in North State Journal 7/17/19)

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Merry-Go-Round for US Senators from North Carolina

Sam Ervin

Over the past 78 years since World War II began in 1941, how many U.S. senators has North Carolina elected to send to Washington? 

Answer: 18.  

Go ahead. See you if can list them from memory:  

Bailey, Reynolds, Broughton, Hoey, Smith, Ervin, Scott, Jordan, Helms, Morgan, East, Sanford, Faircloth, Edwards, Dole, Burr, Kagan, Tillis. Four others were appointed to fill an unexpired term but did not win the next election, which means North Carolina has had 22 different U.S. senators since 1941. 

Other states have sent relatively few senators to Washington. South Carolina has elected nine: Smith, Hall, Maybank, Johnston, ThurmondHollings, Graham, DeMint, Scott. Mississippi has elected six: Eastland, Stennis, Cochran, Lott, Wicker and Hyde-Smith. 

Compared to other Southern states, North Carolina has been a revolving door for U.S. senators. 

On top of the electoral merry-go-round, no senator other than Lauch Faircloth got appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. None ever served on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee which is the queen bee of all subcommittees in the U.S. Senate. 

Sen. Lee Overman served 21 years on Senate Appropriations, including as ranking member 
Overman died in 1930Eleven years before WWIIEighty-nine years ago. Almost a century. Let that sink in a little bit. 

SenLauch Faircloth was appointed to the D.C. Subcommittee of Senate Appropriations for two short years with the hopes that it would help his re-election in 1998. 

It didnt. 

If a U.S. senator from North Carolina ever did get appointed to Defense Appropriations, it would be one of the few cases where literally one person could help transform a states economy. 

When a U.S. senator gets on Defense Approps, they can steer large-scale defense manufacturing contracts to their home state. The level of advanced technology training for defense manufacturing jobs goes way up for their constituents as well as their salaries. 

Once workers in a state start building advanced military armaments, other industries move to the state to take advantage of a highly trained qualified pool of workers. Those jobs will never go overseas either. 

There are myriad reasons why defense companies locate a new facility in any state. North Carolina is the only Southern state that does not have a major defense manufacturing installation. North Carolina is also the only Southern state that does not have a major automobile manufacturing facility such as the BMW plants in South Carolina or Volkswagon in Tennessee. 

Coincidence, perhaps? Possibly. 

However, as one defense contractor told me when I was working with a coalition to recruit defense industry to North Carolina: We are very impressed by the rapid prototyping we see in the NASCAR shops. Call me when you get a North Carolinian on Defense Approps and then we can talk.” 

If you need proof that one U.S. senator can transform a state from a perch on Defense Appropriations, look no further than the defense contracting facilities in Alaska, of all places. 
Alaska is 48th in population. It is cold, remotebarren and far away from major distribution and shipment channels. 

Alaska is fifth in the nation in terms of dollar amount of defense manufacturing contracts received. 
SenTed Stevens of Alaska served as Appropriations chair for forever, it seemed. He also served as chairman of the Defense Subcommittee for a long time before his death in 2010. Billions of dollars of defense contracts flowed to defense contractors who set up operations in Alaska, which then flowed down to thousands of workers who otherwise might be unemployed. 

Whoever you vote for in the 2020 U.S. Senate election, ask them to please get on the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee for the sake of future jobs in the state. Imagine what can be done when NASCAR engineers start designing tanks and drones for the 21st century. 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Happy July 2nd!

July 4 around the globe is like any other day in any particular country. No fireworks. No parades. No cookouts. No memorial prayer services. 

Had John Adams had his waythe Fourth of July would be the same in America today. He thought The Second of July was going to be the most memorable Epocha in the History of America.” 

Every nation that has adopted the freedom principles for self-governance in the Declaration of Independence should join America with massive fireworks displays to celebrate what happened in Philadelphia, 1776, whether it was July 2nd or July 4th. 

When Thomas Jefferson wrote these immortal words below, the whole world changed whether people around the world living today know it or not:  
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,  That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 
 The Revolutionary War was already a year old when the Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776

On June 7, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia started the process toward independence with a resolution that readResolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. 

On June 11, Jefferson was selected to head up a committee to write a formal Declaration of Independence. Delegates voted for Independence on July 2, which led John Adams to believe that the Second of July should be celebrated forever.  

However, given that it was a legislative body, slight revisions to Jeffersons text were made on July 3 and late into the afternoon of July 4 when the Declaration was officially adopted. Nine colonies voted yes; Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted noDelaware was undecided and New York abstained.  

Historical hagiography has led everyone to believe that Continental Congress President John Hancock of Massachusetts assigned his beautiful John Hancock to the newly adopted document with a flourish right then and there 

No one signed the Declaration until a month later on Aug. 2, 1776. But Hancock did sign it first. 

John Adams was so moved by the passage of the Declaration that he wrote his wife, Abigail, on July 3:  
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.  
Adams was right about that. Except it is the 4th now, not the 2nd. And every free nation on earth beyond our continent should celebrate with America. 

Those remarkable words in the Declaration of Independence have changed the lives of billions of people the world over who have read them and adopted the concepts of freedom and self-government embodied in the Declaration and later from our U.S. Constitution. 

Everyone in America should read them again. Wneed a rebirth of appreciation and gratitude for the amazing gift of equality and freedom these men gave us 243 years ago. 

(first published in North State Journal 7/3/19)

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