Editorial: MLK, McCrory, and the 12th District Seat
We are celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.
In recent years, there has been a strong push to make the annual MLK Day holiday a call to social action. Americans have been urged to use their day off from work to volunteer their time to a worthy cause or nonprofit.
At the very least, folks should use the day to do something that honors King, be it attending a King-related service or reading some of his powerful speeches or prose.
Luckily, this city offers a plethora of MLK Day activities. They will be held from early morning to late evening on Monday. Some activities are even scheduled for this week and the weekend. In short, there are no legitimate excuses.
McCrory’s Latest Fib
Our governor is again playing fast and loose with reality. During a recent sit-down on “NC Spin,” Gov. McCrory tried to defend the indefensible: his and his Republican cronies’ decision to slash and burn unemployment benefits for jobless North Carolinians.
You may recall last year’s controversial move by the GOP to cut-off unemployment benefits for thousands and reduce benefits for thousands more. State lawmakers’ decision also made our unemployed ineligible for the short-term federal unemployment benefits extension.
On the Sunday edition of the political chat show, McCrory said part of the reason the benefits were slashed was because folks were moving to North Carolina from out-of-state to take advantage of our bountiful unemployment benefits.
“We had the ninth most generous unemployment compensation in the country and we were having a lot of people move here, frankly, especially in urban areas, to get unemployment and then work other sectors and survive. So, people were moving here because of our very generous benefits, and then of course, we had more debt,” the governor said.
It did not take long for McCrory’s claim to be shot down. Raleigh station WRAL fact-checked the claim by turning to people like UNCG economist Andrew Brod for insight. He said the governor’s claim “defies reason,” partly because state law requires a resident to have worked for at least six months in North Carolina before receiving unemployment benefits.
The station’s final verdict on the claim: “Given that McCrory can offer scant evidence for his claim, it would be hard not to rate his statement as false.”
The 12th District
For the first time ever, we do agree with McCrory on something. His call to put the 12th Congressional District election in with the other midterm contests makes sense to us.
Yes, it is unfortunate that Congress will go without a strong African American voice for the 12th District for almost a year. The Republicans in Washington who held up Mel Watt’s confirmation to the Federal Housing Finance Agency for months are to blame. If it all had progressed the way President Obama had planned, Watt would have been in his new position last fall. If that were the case, there would have been time to hold a special election for Watt’s successor.
Holding a special election this year – with its own filing period, primary, possible second primary, etc. – on top of the midterm schedule would simply be too much for voters. It would create voter fatigue – something no one should want since voter turnout is already in the toilet.
Candidates wishing to succeed Watt should use this full election season to cover as much ground as they can in the vast district and be grateful for the added visibility the midterm schedule will give this race.