January 14, 2020/Press

Republican’s Greatest (or Worst) Hits of 2019

Raleigh – On the day that legislators return to Raleigh for a continuation of their fights from 2019, we’d like to take the time to remind you of just a few of the embarrassing, baffling and truly awful things North Carolina Republicans did last year. 

“Democrats remain committed to serving their constituencies and working on pocketbook issues like increasing access to affordable health care and raising the pay of our hard working teachers,” said North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin. “Republicans are instead back in Raleigh to play partisan games and clean up the messes that they made and failed to fix last year, positions that voters will remember in November.”

5. Speaker Moore ignores funding scholarships for children of wartime veterans
Speaker Tim Moore failed “throughout the 2019 legislative session” to make sure children of wartime veterans were allocated the proper funds for their education, ignoring repeated requests for additional funding for the scholarship, including leaving emails from DMVA Assistant Secretary Martin Falls without a response.

Luckily, Governor Cooper ordered DMVA to pay the full room and board amount promised. The legislature is reportedly back this week to fix this issue — but remember that they only need to fix it because Speaker Moore failed these students.

4. No Teacher Pay Raises
After Republicans offered them a measly pay increase on their already too thin salaries, teachers took to the streets to demand to be heard. Despite Republican legislators giving tax cuts to the wealthy, teacher pay has been below the national average for over a decade.

Democrats, including Governor Cooper, are committed to get teacher pay to the national average and help teachers with school supplies, textbooks, and out-of-pocket expenses.

3. Failure to Expand Medicaid
North Carolina Republicans continue to block any attempt to expand Medicaid,  a compromise that benefit every single county in North Carolina. Since session, the spotlight on Republicans, particularly its “unyielding Senate Republican leadership,” has only gotten hotter:

  • A study, published in Health Affairs, “found that Medicaid expansion was associated with lower rates of self-reported health declines and a higher likelihood of maintaining baseline health status over time,” especially in southern states.

  • A separate report found Medicaid expansion may have saved thousands from drug overdose deaths.

  • Kansas reached a bipartisan compromise to expand Medicaid, putting another spotlight on North Carolina and revealed that “the lack of action on expansion will be a burden for Republicans in the November election.

  • Rural leaders and leaders of local health care systems continued to call on the General Assembly to expand Medicaid.

  • Experts across the board support expansion. According to an article in the Winston-Salem Journal: “[Mark Hall, a law and public-health professor at Wake Forest University] released a study in April 2018 titled ‘Do States Regret Expanding Medicaid?’ with an overall conclusion of ‘No.’”

As the Legislative session re-opens, Republicans will face the question again: will they continue to harm local economies, and the citizens of North Carolina. 

2. Lying to the Public about their Veto Override
Clearly not confident with their chances when playing fair, Republicans used lies and trickery in an attempt to override the governor’s budget veto. After telling the public no votes would be held on 9/11 — including a smoking gun text message from Rules Chair David Lewis to a reporter that said no votes” — Republicans made a motion to reconsider the budget.

Governor Cooper said “Republicans waged an assault on our democracy,” while Senator Jeff Jackson called it the surprise vote “a new low.” Voters will remember this despicable behavior and they will make their opinions heard at the ballot box.

1. Unabashed Partisan Gerrymandering
After judges ruled that the Republican-led General Assembly unconstitutionally held onto power through “significantly tainted” maps that “do not permit voters to freely choose their representatives,” GOP leaders showed no remorse. As Senator Jerry Tillman so aptly summed up the GOP position on redistricting: Do you think we’re going to draw Democrat maps?”

The Republican commitment to partisan gerrymandering is a long standing campaign strategy but North Carolinians refuse to have their voice silenced for political gain. Despite what GOP legislators seem to believe, voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around.