Monday, April 16, 2012

NC Democratic gubernatorial debate

Tonight was the first of three consecutive nights of debates between state Rep. Bill Faison, former Congressman Bob Etheridge, and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. The three are vying for the Democratic nomination for the governor's race against (most likely) Republican candidate Pat McCrory this coming November.

The competition has been pretty quiet even here in NC probably due to the fact that it was only last December that current governor Beverly Perdue announced that she would not be seeking a second term. This did not afford them much time to campaign in comparison to longer running contests like the race for the Republican nomination to run against Obama which has just now finally left us with Romney standing after the dust settled.

I have to say that for early voting to start this Thursday (BTW if you in NC reading this are you registered?) this was a pretty tame start. Seriously the city council meeting I went to last week got more heated than this (mayor had to pull out the gavel and lay the smack down once even).

All three seem to agree that education and jobs are top priority. The unemployment rate in North Carolina has been about 1-2% higher than that of the national rate for at least the last year. Our teachers have not gotten a cost of living increase in about four years while at the same time education spending seems to have been the first thing on the chopping block for the last few years. Our state's big job strength has been manufacturing for a long time and its been hurting for a while even before the economic down turn. Likewise while jobs are being lost at a rate that nearly cancels out jobs created in the last 10 years or so. The population is growing, the job market is shrinking, and education quality is falling. A bad place to be in.

Those weren't the only topics they agreed on:
They all supported re-imposing a sales tax that the last Democratic legislature passed in an effort to minimize cuts to education funding. They also all opposed a constitutional amendment on the ballot that declares that marriage is between a man and a woman. They opposed tolls being imposed on Interstate 95 drivers. They opposed the medical use of marijuana.
Not bad at all.

One thing I liked was that not only was there not much sniping there was also cross agreement between the three, each pointing out ideas given by the other as viable recommendations to getting NC's job market and education path back on track.

If nothing else it looks like that even though they are all competing for the same spot there is enough respect between them that they aren't at each other's throats. This is good as it shows a bit of common ground.

The debates will continue for tomorrow and Wednesday night, I'll try to have something on those nights of coverage as well.