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Archive for December, 2008

If those backing a state prison seem rather urgent in their push to build public support, it’s probably from feeling the competition breathing down their neck. Much as been made of Surry’s geographic location as a good spot for a prison, since there aren’t any in the region. But some of our neighbors are also campaigning for one, some for much longer. In nearby Wilkes, the recruitment effort has gone on for years and recent comments indicate government officials there are stepping up on that front. Rockingham County is not only on record recruiting a prison, they already have a site picked out and have held a public forum on the issue. Caldwell County is a little later getting into the game, but the clout of their legislative delegation in the General Assembly could help them leapfrog other contenders. Oh, and don’t forget McDowell County either.

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Governor-elect Bev Perdue is on a listening tour across the state, and folks in Surry have plenty to say.

But while the new chief executive for North Carolina has made plenty of stops in more heavily populated areas such as Greenville or the Triad, she has yet to arrive in this corner of the state. That had a number of local government types chatting Monday during the bus ride to Taylorsville’s prison on booking Perdue in Mount Airy. There’s PR and photo-op potential on her end (she got a big endorsement during primary season from Andy Griffith after all) and we get the chance to get her ear on local initiatives needing state assistance.

But where does she go? Debate flew back and forth on whether to sit Perdue down in an abandoned factory (a jarring image that might cause her handlers to balk) or give her the more cushy Snappy Lunch treatment in a play for more face time and thus more chances to plead their case.

With the county’s legislative delegation both rookies, it would be nice to have some identity and recognition from the governor’s office. Here’s hoping a visit, wherever it takes Perdue, can come together before inauguration day.

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Hitting the news just before election day, the widely criticized $700 billion bailout of the financial sector may have given local Congresswomen Virginia Foxx a boost. Her opponent took a nuanced view of the bailout legislation’s pros and cons, while Foxx vehemently shot the bill down. Soon after, she won reelection by a margin above her 2006 reelection even in a year when the Republican Party was very much a toxic brand. The margin was also above what a summer poll of the district indicated.

Now Foxx has followed up that stance by proposing a resolution that effectively cuts the bailout funds to $350 billion. Her comments focus on the lack of planning and oversight regarding use of the funds, which have now been proposed for industries and assets not discussed during the original bailout vote.

The bill is currently sitting in committee. And it’s not alone. More than a half dozen similar bills were filed the same week. They range from requiring Congressional approval for use of additional funds to making sure they help the ailing auto industry to putting more layers of oversight in place, but they all deal with the idea of undoing the authority granted in the original bailout legislation.

With a new economic team coming into office next month, I imagine we’ll see some action clarifying the size and scope of the ever evolving bailout(s). The odds that Foxx’s resolution gets out of committee, especially with others like it in both chambers, could depend on how much the new administration wants to change direction on the plan the Bush administration first proposed.

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