Raleigh – Senator Tillis earned the president’s endorsement yesterday after spending the past six months spinelessly caving to political pressure. But Senator Tillis’ decision to put his reelection before the needs of our state has more far-reaching consequences than just politics. Here, in their own words, are North Carolinians who are paying the price for Senator Tillis’ political decision to cave to abandon the state he serves for the president he thinks he needs.
Between prolonging the longest government shutdown in history and cowardly supporting Trump’s trade war despite admitting farmers will feel “some pain” and tariffs are a “tax” on families, Senator Tillis’ fear of Trump put North Carolina farmers “in cross-hairs.”
- Lorenda Overman, Goldsboro: “We have borrowed from our life insurance policy, that’s how desperate we are. We are desperate for something to happen. We need help.” [Reuters]
- Jeff Tyson, Nash County: “It’s not fun right now because, you know, no matter what you do it’s going to be very hard to make end’s meet.” [WUNC]
- Randy Edwards, Johnston County: “I also worry the ag(riculture) market won’t come back in time and our family would have to sell some of our land to be able to service the farm’s debts.” [News & Observer]
- Kent Revels, Fuquay-Varina: “They’re playing a game of basically Russian Roulette, and it affects the people out here.” [WNCN]
- Shawn Harding, Beaufort County: “It’s very frustrating, especially on the heels of a terrible crop year… And now, what am I going to do next year? ‘Let me go to the FSA office and get some answers.’ Oh, wait a minute, they’re closed.” [Virginia First]
- John Fleming, Halifax County: “A lot of things are piling up for us at one time.” [News & Observer]
- Ricky Sears, Fuquay-Varina: “We are on deadlines. We have dates that we are supposed to do things and (it’s) pretty obvious we can’t do it when the (FSA office) is closed.” [AP News]
Senator Tillis’ “Olympic gold flip flop” put more than $500 million in planned military spending in North Carolina on the chopping block, including a water treatment plant at Camp Lejeune and infrastructure at Fort Bragg.
- Kerri Ross, Fort Bragg resident: “We like to see our military protected. They’ll be hurting [because of the emergency declaration]. The housing for our military families is atrocious.” [Christian Science Monitor]
- John Henley, Camp Lejeune contractor: “I hate to make it so nonchalant; a building or two may fall down before they get repaired” [NYT]
Gold Star Families and College Students on Financial Aid
Senator Tillis championed the Republican 2017 tax bill that gave billionaires and corporations massive handouts – while also hiking taxes on Gold Star families and taxing students receiving financial aid like “trust-fund babies.”
- Becky Welch, Gold Star widow: “These are families that are not making billions in money each year. They’re making what they need to survive.” [NBCDFW]
- HEADLINE: Tax overhaul means some Gold Star families paying much higher taxes on survivor benefits [WRAL]
- Rachelle Feldman, UNC-CH associate provost: “Those expenses are real. Students need a place to live, they need food, they need toothpaste and toothbrushes. Anything that’s taxed from it is a stress.” [New York Times]
Federal Employees and Federal Contractors
Senator Tillis’ inaction on the government shutdown unnecessarily brought pain to government employees and contractors, who were forced to stay at home or work for free.
- Jon Franklin, Butner Federal Prison correctional officer: “I hate it. I hate going to work every day knowing what I do for a living… I’m not being duly paid for it.” [ABC 11]
- Sharda Lloyd, TSA employee at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport: “If you fall behind on one thing, it’s like you’re backpedaling.” [Charlotte Observer]
- David Smith, chief deputy commissioner of Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: “We’re kind of treading water right now, but we can’t tread water much longer. We’re already hearing from farmers who are pretty desperate for relief money.” [News & Observer]
- Rochelle Poe, USDA mortgage underwriter: “We want to go back work. We’re not looking for a handout or anything, we just want to go back to our jobs so we can pay our bills.” [North Carolina Health News]
People Recovering from Recent Hurricanes
North Carolinians recovering from Hurricane Florence received slower help after Senator Tillis refused to buck the president, first on the prolonged government shutdown and then disaster relief aid was held up over spending for Puerto Rico.
- Kirsten Leloudis, Legal Aid N.C. staff attorney: “We have seen that the shutdown affects disaster survivors by adding just another layer of uncertainty to situations that are already pretty uncertain.” [The Daily Tar Heel]
- HEADLINE: Victims a second time: First Hurricane Florence, now the government shutdown [Charlotte Observer]
- HEADLINE: Disaster Relief for NC Tied Up in Fight on Capitol Hill Over Aid for Puerto Rico [Spectrum News]
Small Business Owners
The government shutdown halted small business loans to business owners across the state, forcing them to put expansions and new products on hold.
- Brooks Troxler, Charlotte-area small business owner: “We were at the finish line, and now it’s like they pulled me back,” [Washington Post]
- Calder Preyer, Preyer Brewing Company, Greensboro: “If we have an idea for a new beer today, we can have that packaged and ready to go into the market in 3 to 4 weeks, but with the TTB shut down we can’t do any new cans at all.” [WFMY]
School Aged Children and Food Stamp Recipients
Vance County Schools were forced to serve lunch on a “minimum level” – which meant no fresh produce or bottled water or juice – while food stamp recipients suffered because of the protracted government shutdown.
- Cynthia Davis, mother of a student in the Vance County School System: “As a mom, it does upset me. Because a lot of the kids aren’t getting the proper nourishment. For a lot of kids, the only opportunities they do have to eat will be at the school.” [WRAL]
- Gertrude Gamble, mother of students who used to attend Vance County Schools: “A lot of kids don’t have food at their house. We’re living in a time in which people don’t care about the poor kids. But I do.” [WRAL]
- Joana Deshield, SNAP recipient from Greensboro: “I don’t know how we are going to budget right but we are going to just have to hang in there but it’s going to be challenging, it’s really going to be challenging.” [WFMY News 2]
- Ben Rose, Durham County Social Services director: “It’s very hard for Durham County to supplement the loss of a major federal program. We have a lot of dependency on this program. Our families rely on SNAP to help them get through the month and meet their other needs.” [IndyWeek]