Foxx will also be the youngest member of the Obama Administration:President Barack Obama on Monday tapped rising Democratic politician Anthony Foxx to lead the Department of Transportation, an agency at the center of Washington's fiscal fights.
Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., is the first black nominee among the president's picks for open spots in his second term Cabinet. The president had faced questions, including from the Congressional Black Caucus, about a lack of diversity in his first round of nominations after winning re-election.
Obama said that, as a mayor, Foxx knows how to use infrastructure spending to create jobs and boost economic growth. The White House cited Foxx's work on Charlotte's electric tram service, an expansion of a light rail system and the opening of a third runway at the city's airport as experience that qualifies him for the Cabinet post.
"Charlotte made one of the largest investments in transportation," Obama said during a nomination ceremony in the East Room of the White House. "All of that has not only helped create new jobs, it's helped Charlotte become more attractive to business.""Mayor Foxx has done terrific work for the people of Charlotte, and I know he will be a strong leader at the Department of Transportation," Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said in a statement. "He has a deep understanding of the urgent need to rebuild our national infrastructure, which is critical to maintaining a strong and growing economy." - WRAL, 4/29/13
In other Hagan related news, glad to see she's part of this:When President Obama announced Monday that he’s nominating Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to be his new transportation secretary, he might have ushered in a mini youth invasion. If confirmed, the 42- year-old Foxx will be the baby of the Obama Cabinet — and he’ll become one of the younger cabinet secretaries in history. (Obama made the announcement, coincidentally, on Foxx’s 42nd birthday, which is a pretty nice present.)
Presidential Cabinets tend to skew slightly old, mostly because presidents draw from an experienced talent pool for those top-ranking jobs. And some secretaries come from the ranks of Washington’s most exclusive gray-haired club, the Senate.
Foxx, though, is an exception. He’s only two years older than Andrew Cuomo was when President Bill Clinton made him HUD Secretary — and Cuomo himself once noted that he was one of the youngest Cabinet secretaries in history. - Washington Post, 4/30/13
Here's a little background info:U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan joined 66 of her colleagues Monday in urging President Barack Obama to take action to end the backlog of veterans’ disability claims, according to a news release from her office.
Hagan, D-N.C., had already sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski, calling the backlog of veterans’ disability claims “deplorable” and asking him to send senior VA officials to the agency’s regional office in Winston-Salem to deal with the problem.
According to the letter sent to President Obama Monday, the number of claims pending for more than a year has grown 2,000 percent, and that’s despite the VA getting a 40 percent increase in its budget. - Winston-Salem Journal, 4/30/13
Figured I'd let you in on some other Hagan/Senate related news. First off,Claims have surged while the U.S. has placed boots in foreign countries, engaged in combat, for more than a decade. Government, past and present, has played a role in us being there and now comes a segment of the end game, taking care of our veterans.
The request of the president comes even though a “transformation plan” is already under way. The plan is a series of people, process and technology initiatives designed to increase productivity and accuracy of disability claims processing, according to the VA website.
Once implemented, the backlog is expected to be reduced. The 2015 goal is elimination of all backlogs and processing all claims within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy.
There are 900,000 cases waiting currently, and 600,000 have been there more than 125 days, according to a Washington Post report.
According to Sen. Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat who signed the letter, 65,000 veterans in North Carolina are among those waiting. And the average wait currently is 365 days, up from 329 in September, at the Winston-Salem VA office.
Sadly, that’s not even the longest wait in the agency’s southern region. - The Daily Dispatch, 4/29/13
Hagan also tapped a new co-chair for her new Small Business Advisory Committee:
Also the Environmental Defense Fund will be running ads in support of Hagan:North Carolina's economy depends on people like John Cooper. John has led the Mast General Store system for more than three decades and continues to open new stores in the region. John has opened nine locations throughout Western North Carolina and into Tennessee and South Carolina, and he's planning to open a new location in Winston-Salem in the near future.
I visited with John during my North Carolina Back to Work Jobs Tour last summer on a tour of small businesses in downtown Boone. Not only is John heading the Mast General Store system, but he's making efforts to improve communities around the region by redeveloping rural downtown areas.
With his decades of experience leading a successful small business that continues to grow, John was a natural choice to co-chair my newly formed Small Business Advisory Committee, which will advise me on legislative issues and help me develop policy proposals to support our state's small businesses.
As our economy continues to recover, I'm looking to small business owners like John for new ways we can jumpstart hiring and growth in every corner of our state. The Advisory Committee, which is composed of four co-chairs and 15-20 small business owners and advocates, will meet with me and my staff throughout the year. - High Country Press, 4/30/13
By the way, House Speaker Thom Tillis (R. NC), who's long been speculated to run against Hagan, has been raising a lot of money:Environmentalists are spoofing AT&T's "It's not complicated" advertising campaign in a new series of big-dollar messages thanking Democratic senators for their votes in March against budget amendments that they believed would have weakened the Clean Air Act.
"What's better: More industrial carbon pollution that leads to more asthma attacks or less industrial carbon pollution that leads to less asthma attacks?" a man in a blue suit asks to four children sitting around a small table in a new ad unveiled today by the Environmental Defense Fund.
Predictably, the children say "less," as they detail their own asthma ailments.
Telecommunications giant AT&T has repeatedly shown a businessman quizzing children about the benefits of being bigger and faster in recent ads.
The five new ads released by the Environmental Defense Fund specifically single out Sens. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.; Tim Kaine, D-Va.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; and Mark Warner, D-Va. as worthy of thanks.
Environmental Defense Fund spokeswoman Sharyn Stein told the Center for Public Integrity that the media buy would be "six figures." - The Center For Public Integrity, 4/29/13
But some of Tillis colleagues think he should stay focused on his current job:House Speaker Thom Tillis will be raising campaign cash at a $250-per-plate fundraiser next week, although the money won't go toward a much rumored U.S. Senate run, a spokesman said Monday.
The May 6 fundraiser at the Cardinal Club in downtown Raleigh will feature Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, according to an invitation to the event. Guests for the lunchtime affair will be asked for $250, with donations running up to $2,000 for "hosts" and proceeds going to benefit the Committee to Elect Thom Tillis.
Tillis has said he has term-limited himself both as House Speaker and a member of the General Assembly. He is widely believed to be running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Kay Hagan, which is up for election in 2014. - WRAL, 4/30/13
The North Carolina Democratic Party recently released a memo explaining how Hagan's chances at winning re-election are in her favor as the North Carolina struggles to find a strong candidate:
In an unvarnished speech, Republican state Rep. Larry Pittman recently expressed doubts about the House speaker's conservative credentials, saying Thom Tillis' possible U.S. Senate bid is making it difficult to push legislation.
"I was proud to vote for Thom Tillis to be the speaker again, when we got back up there this year," Pittman told a crowd of activists in a video posted online. "Because last session, he was great. ... But, now he's running for U.S. Senate, or planning to, things have changed.
"They tell us all the time about how bad it was when they were in the minority and the Democratic leadership wouldn't let them get their bills moved or anything. Well now the constitutional conservatives, the Republican part of the House, knows what that's like." (See video above, starting at 11 minute mark.)
Pittman, a Concord lawmaker in his second term, said the speaker's office pressured Rep. Carl Ford to drop a resolution he sponsored that asserted North Carolina's right to establish its own religion. Tillis declared the bill dead shortly after it was introduced. "Carl was told very plainly you will withdraw this ... if you want any of your other bills passed," Pittman said. "That's exactly what he was told."
The strong words are not likely to earn Pittman, who often appears out of step with most Republicans, any friends in the House leadership. And he prefaced them with a warning: "I'm potentially getting myself in real trouble telling you this stuff," he told the crowd. "Because, the speaker's office doesn't want you knowing this stuff. So I'm in trouble, right now. Because I'm sure it'll get to him. It means probably none of my bills will go anywhere, but they're not going anywhere anyway. So that's the kind of thing that's happening. It really amazed me."
A person in the crowd thanked Pittman. The video was posted on YouTube. - Charlotte News Observer, 4/30/13
To: Interested PartiesState Senate Leader Phil Berger (R. NC) is also highly speculated to run against Hagan next year. With Tillis and Berger being both from the North Carolina state legislator, their candidacies could work in Hagan's favor:
From: Ben Ray, North Carolina Democratic Party
Re: State of the Senate Race
Just over one year from the Republican primary, two things are clear: Republicans aren’t going to get their strongest potential candidates, and whoever emerges from their primary field to face Senator Hagan will be battered and broke.
The GOP field has already suffered several setbacks, with Congressmen George Holding and Patrick McHenry each announcing that they would pass on the race. Holding has substantial personal wealth, and McHenry consistently performed well in public polling. With the failure of a top-tier candidate to materialize, the NRSC is left facing a cavalry charge of candidates unprepared for the challenges ahead.
Speaker of the House Thom Tillis is facing a disaster at his oft-neglected day job, where his handpicked Finance Committee chairman has introduced a bill to do away with North Carolina’s lobbyist gift ban and loosen disclosure laws. Tillis has a sordid history with lobbyists, and is already known for giving two staffers, including his then-chief of staff, taxpayer-funded golden parachutes after they were revealed to be having inappropriate romantic relationships with lobbyists and resigned.
Speaker Tillis also presided over the midnight vote to defund Planned Parenthood in North Carolina, is using a committee to kill North Carolina’s Equal Pay legislation, and has been the point man on extreme efforts to restrict North Carolinians’ voting rights. It’s no wonder Tillis has already gone begging for help from Washington, D.C.
In the upper chamber, Senate President Phil Berger is deeply damaging himself, as well. From supporting a poll tax on parents of college students and ending early voting to working to remove the caps on class size in public schools, Berger has been matching Tillis stride for stride in a race to score points with their political base at the expense of what’s important to North Carolina voters-- job creation.
North Carolinians are already feeling the gap in between their values and the Tillis/Berger legislature widen, according to public polling. No matter how you cut it, Senator Phil Berger and Speaker Thom Tillis are playing with political fire as they work against North Carolina values.
Republicans are also contending with news that Congresswoman Renee Ellmers’ fundraising quarter wasn’t anywhere close to the level of a would-be Senate candidate. Raising less than $100,000 in the first quarter and having just $133,000 in the bank led National Journal’s Hotline to ask if “the house is home” for the ardent Ryan Budget supporter and her colleague Virginia Foxx, who also raised a paltry sum for a senate candidate.
All the while, grassroots Tea Party candidate Greg Brannon is travelling the state, spreading the word about his extreme policies to primary voters.
With more than $2.7 million dollars on hand and a strong record as a bipartisan problem solver that reflects North Carolina values in the Senate, Senator Kay Hagan finds herself in an increasingly strong position as the 2014 election cycle approaches.
PPP has shown that GOP is not very popular right now in the polling firm's home state:The road back could begin with the difficult re-election campaign next year of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan – just as it did in 1998 when John Edwards, a Democratic political newcomer, won an upset over Republican incumbent Lauch Faircloth. The victory came during a voter backlash against the GOP’s impeachment effort of Democratic President Bill Clinton.
Democrats are again counting on voter backlash – this time against the Republican-controlled legislature, which they believe has moved too far to the right on a raft of issues, including cuts to schools and universities, and efforts to make it harder to vote.
Those issues could play out in the Senate race, where two of Hagan’s potential opponents – House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger – are legislative leaders. But Democrats also think they can begin regaining legislative seats, particularly in suburbs where moderate voters live.“The Republican Party is not just a conservative party,” Pearce said. “It is a very, very conservative party. That is where a majority of Republicans are. That is not where swing voters in the suburbs of Wake County and Mecklenburg County are. So there is an opportunity for Democrats.”
Ross, the Raleigh Democrat, sees the intensity and anger building among Democrats and independents as the flip side of the tea party movement that grew out of the conservative reaction to President Barack Obama’s first two years in office.
“I don’t think people knew how much was at stake,” Ross said. “Right now that is a message that is resonating not only with Democrats, but with independents, unaffiliateds, and I’m hearing more and more from Republicans. We have that message now, and people are believing us, given what is going on around here.” - Charlotte Observer, 4/27/13
A crowded GOP primary will be beneficial for Hagan's re-election and if the nominee is someone like Berger or Tillis or any other Art Pope foot soldier, this race could be a referendum on the GOP's agenda in the Tar Heel State. If you'd like to donate or get involved with Hagan's campaign, you can do so here:The Republicans as a whole are getting poor marks for their leadership over state government though- 38% of voters approve of the job they're doing to 52% who disapprove. That's largely a function of the legislature. Republicans legislators have a 34/53 favorability rating, and the General Assembly as a whole has just a 20% approval with 56% of voters disapproving of it.
A whole bevy of bills introduced by Republican legislators recently are proving to be quite unpopular:
-Only 6% of voters support allowing legislators to start receiving gifts from lobbyists again, while 88% are opposed. There's pretty strong bipartisan agreement that that's a bad idea with independents (4/93), Democrats (5/87), and Republicans (8/86) all firmly against it.
-Only 25% of voters support a proposal to forbid parents from claiming college students registered to vote away from home as dependents on their state taxes, compared to 57% who are opposed. This is another one where the Republican legislators supporting the measure are out of touch with actual Republican voters- only 26% support it with 56% opposed, not that different from the numbers among Democrats which are 22% supportive and 61% opposed.
-Just 33% of voters support cutting the early voting period by a week, while 59% are opposed. Republicans do narrowly support this idea (51/42), but Democrats (22/70) and independents (28/62) are heavily opposed to it.
-Only 22% of voters support eliminating the state's renewable energy standards, while 39% are against that idea. Republican voters (29/25) only narrowly support eliminating the standard while Democrats (13/47) and independents (28/41) are pretty firmly against it.
-Only 28% of voters support a proposal to make it a crime for law enforcement officers to enforce federal gun laws on North Carolina manufactured fire arms, while 42% are opposed. Democrats (33/41), Republicans (24/41), and independents (26/46) all think that one's a bad idea.
-The only high profile Republican initiative we polled that has much traction with voters is the one to make Christianity the official state religion. 42% support that to 45% who are opposed and while much of that support is because a majority of Republicans favor it (53/33) it actually has 41% support from Democrats too, much more appeal across party lines than any of these other proposals. Despite the decent level of support for Christianity as the state religion, only 16% of voters agree with the state legislator who labeled a prayer to Allah as an act of terrorism last week, although that does go up to 25% among Republicans. - PPP, 4/22/13