My turn, Dylan Frick: Rep. Hudson should voice funding concerns

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My turn, Dylan Frick: Rep. Hudson should voice funding concerns

Published Saturday, January 26, 2019

Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican who represents the 8th Congressional District, is putting our military and active duty service members at risk.

As the Representative for Fort Bragg, the largest population military base in the country, Hudson has considerable influence over military appropriations, and as an entrenched Republican congressman, he has influence over the president, who is inexperienced in military affairs. However, as David Watson wrote in a letter to Concord’s Independent Tribune, Hudson “remains partisan while seeking bipartisanship.” Hudson has refused to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or President Donald Trump to voice his concerns over using military dollars, currently reserved for future projects, to build a concrete wall on the southern border — something President Trump has alluded to doing and has the power to do by declaring a national emergency under section 2808 of the U.S. Code.

Democrats voted to open the government nine times already, with no strings attached. They proved that they’re willing to negotiate on the appropriate solutions to border security and the flow of heroin and fentanyl into the US, but the answers to combating these huge issues require much more than throwing billions of dollars at a wall.

Hudson’s assault on Obamacare hurts our veterans

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Hudson’s assault on Obamacare hurts our veterans

July 28, 2015

Dylan Frick

Last week a national tourism website, RoadSnacks, released a list of the Ten Worst Places to Live in NC, and it wasn’t pretty for towns in the 8th Congressional District. Three of the 10 were in our district, with Rockingham coming in at second, Hamlet at fifth, and Wadesboro eighth. In another survey, they rated Lumberton and Laurinburg as some of the most dangerous cities in NC. They compared statistics on crime, life expectancy, unemployment rates, and all the other traits that make new families sign the dotted line.

It’s no question that poverty is linked to these traits. The 8th District knows some of the worst poverty in the nation. Lumberton has consistently been rated as the poorest city in America. Forty percent of Troy’s citizens live in poverty, but they aren’t alone. In Albemarle, 36 percent of families live in poverty, and 34 percent of individuals in Rockingham earn less than $30,000 annually. These are disappointing facts, but in this highly partisan era, our elected officials care more about political talking points than actually addressing the problem.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson has neglected struggling families by insisting that Obamacare be repealed. Republicans talk a big game about how the bill has been a failure, but it’s working, and it’s the most protective program for middle class families we’ve seen in decades. Instead of talking about any alternative plan, Republicans in the House have voted 56 times to repeal the legislation, and Hudson has joined the bandwagon every time.

What disappoints me the most is that Hudson chooses to brand himself as a man for the veterans, but turns around and votes for legislation to harm them. In a recent editorial by Hudson he claims that he is committed to ensuring that “these heroes get the very best, most timely care upon their return.”

According to the Urban Institute, there are 1.3 million uninsured veterans in the United States, and over 40 percent are eligible for Medicaid through the new health-care law. Veterans are assured coverage by the VA, but even Hudson notes that the VA hasn’t provided the most timely and efficient coverage. Hudson is a hypocrite to pledge a commitment to provide veterans with the “most timely care” one day, then vote the next day to repeal the very legislation that provides coverage to these brave men and women. Dismantling Obamacare does nothing but kick our service men and women to the curb, and Hudson should rearrange his priorities.

This isn’t a conversation about handouts; it’s a conversation about building the economy from Main Street up. Obamacare is the largest poverty reduction program in the United States in decades. There are over 121,000 uninsured individuals in the 8th District, and more than 82,000 live in poverty. These are people who can’t afford necessities, and they are people who are unable to contribute to our local economy. In a district with the poorest city in America, and some of the most dangerous cities in the state, Hudson needs to focus on improving conditions for our struggling neighbors. These towns don’t deserve to be shamed by a national tourist website, and Hudson should take this as a wakeup call.

N.C. committee hears pros and cons on Senate Bill 36

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N.C. committee hears pros and cons on Senate Bill 36

By Amanda Lehmert/News & Record

Mar 5, 2015

RALEIGH — The Senate’s Redistricting Committee heard passionate pleas Thursday afternoon from opponents and supporters of the bill to restructure Greensboro City Council.

Sen. Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) made her first, brief public explanation of Senate Bill 36, which will create a smaller council with no at-large representatives and a non-voting mayor.

Wade argued that the proposed seven-district system would encourage more people to run for office, cut down the costs of local political campaigns and provide better representation across the city.

“(It will) allow that elected official from that district to be more accountable to the people,” Wade said.

Senators listened to the public comments for nearly an hour without debating the merits of the bill. Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) said the committee will vote Tuesday whether to support the measure. If approved, it would then go to the full Senate for consideration.

The council has five members elected from districts and three members and a mayor elected by the full city. Under the proposed system, the city would be divided into seven districts and each voter would have a single representative. The mayor would only vote in rare instances.

Proponents of the bill — who have mostly been quiet in the local debate about the legislation — were better organized Thursday than they have been in the month since Wade filed the bill.

The eight Greensboro residents who spoke in favor of the bill included prominent Republican former Mayors Bill Knight and Robbie Perkins, Councilman Tony Wilkins and former Democratic County Commissioner Melvin “Skip” Alston, a long-time Wade ally .

They backed Wade’s argument that her proposal would provide better representation.

They said the current system allows power to be concentrated in the northwest part of the city, an affluent, politically active region. Five council members live in that area.

“(Wade’s bill) gives all the people all over the city a representative that they can reach out and touch,” Perkins said.

Thessa Pickett, a Greensboro resident, told the committee the current system is “unjust.”

Wilkins said the result is that taxpayer-funded projects “on the outside of the power loop are delayed fairly regularly.”

“We’ve waited 10 years to get a park in District 5,” Wilkins said. “The new system that you have I think is a more fair representation and I believe it would lead to a more fair distribution of tax-funded projects.”

Bill opponents only slightly out-numbered supporters. They included former Councilwoman Goldie Wells, local Democratic activists, UNC-Greensboro students and representatives from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

Several questioned the way the district lines were drawn.

Greensboro resident Tim Moreland II said the districts seemed arbitrarily drawn. Wells said she was concerned that the new lines would split the precincts around N.C. A&T and Bennett College between several districts, something she worried would decrease the power of black voters.

Jim Saintsing, a Greensboro attorney, asked senators to reject the bill since it would exempt the city from a law that lets local municipalities determine the makeup of their governing bodies.

“Why is Greensboro being singled out for this treatment? There is not a reasonable answer,” he said.

Dylan Frick, a UNCG student, said the bill’s purpose is “to limit the power and the voice of Democrats,” something Wade denies.

“It’s evident. No one is naive enough to think that this bill encourages a nonpartisan system or doesn’t advance the will of one party — the party of Mrs. Wade, the party of Mayor Knight, the party of Mayor Perkins,” Frick said.

After the meeting, several Republican committee members wouldn’t indicate which way they are leaning on the legislation.

“Right now, I’m just listening,” said Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover). “It was interesting to hear from both sides today. I plan to do some research on my own.”

Democratic committee members Sens. Erica Smith-Ingram and Floyd McKissick said they have concerns about the bill.

“I haven’t seen a compelling reason to reduce the representatives from nine to seven,” McKissick said. “I get concerned when you talk about reducing the level of representation.”

Democrats to Host Open Forum With Possible Candidates

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The 8th Congressional District Democratic Party is partnering up with the Moore County Democrats to host a town-hall style meeting in Carthage on Tuesday.

The public is invited, regardless of partisan affiliation, to come and ask Representative Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland) and former Congressional candidate Beth Troutman questions about the future of healthcare, environmental protection, job creation, the opioid epidemic, and other important issues.

Many grassroots supporters have been encouraging Troutman to run for Congress in the 8th District. She is expected to speak about her interest in pursuing higher office at the Carthage town hall meeting.

This will be the second “stop” on the 8th District Democratic Party’s “Listening Tour”, a series of town hall events to listen to concerned citizens throughout the district. Dylan Frick, Chair of the District, cites Congressman Richard Hudson’s refusal to participate in town hall meetings as a main reason for the Listening Tour.

“Richard Hudson has refused to answer questions from constituents who are truly concerned about his votes to take healthcare away from thousands of North Carolinians. In early June there was a town hall meeting in Pinehurst organized for months by non-partisan groups, yet Hudson failed to show up. If our sitting Congressman won’t listen to what his constituents want, then we will,” Frick wrote in a statement.

The event begins at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Filly & Colts Restaurant at Little River Golf Course in Carthage. The event is open to the public, and light appetizers will be served. More info can be found at

Pittman is a disgrace to North Carolina

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In the past few weeks, Republicans have really shown their true colors. At an official press conference, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said "even Hitler didn't use chemical weapons." Met with heavy criticisms and calls for him to be fired from the Anne Frank Center, he attempted to walk back his comments by saying Hitler didn't use gas to kill his own people. Apparently refusing to accept that Jewish people murdered under Hitler were Germans. Spicer, either intentionally or subconsciously, categorized a group of people as lesser beings.

We've seen Republicans in North Carolina follow the same disparaging trend. Unfortunately, some of these Republicans represent constituents of the 8th Congressional District. Defying the Supreme Court and the Constitution, Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus) co-sponsored a bill to ban same-sex marriage. With no regard to the founding documents of our nation, Pittman wants to use his power as a Representative to not only codify discrimination, but marginalize any gay or lesbian person as a lesser human being. In this bill, Pittman uses scripture to justify criminalizing gay marriage. In its text, the bill says it is intended to "return to the decree of Almighty God". There's a hidden meaning behind this. Pittman doesn't only believe gay people should not be able to marry, but he believes they are lesser human beings in the eyes of God, and should be punished.

Pittman didn't stop his hateful rhetoric there. In a public Facebook conversation, he likened President Abraham Lincoln to Hitler, calling Lincoln a "tyrant". He even went so far as to say the Civil War was "unnecessary." Coming from the same man who drives around a white Chevy with Confederate flag stickers tatted on the back window, Pittman doesn't believe the war to end slavery was necessary. At a speech to Grass Roots North Carolina in 2013, Pittman advocated for fewer restrictions on guns and the elimination of concealed carry permits, saying "it’s the slaves that are unarmed." 

Larry Pittman is a disgrace to North Carolina, and a disgrace to our state legislature. We cannot continue to sit idly by and conscientiously allow a hateful man like Pittman to continue to serve in the state legislature. It is a desecration to the office, and the good people of Cabarrus County deserve so much better. Pittman believes in a divided world. One where people like him possess rights, and people unlike him are suppressed. Larry Pittman does not deserve to serve in the N.C. House, and leaders in the Republican Party should call for his immediate resignation.

Susan Ladd: Politics is an irony-free zone

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When UNC-Greensboro student Dylan Frick spoke against Senate Bill 36, state Sen. Trudy Wade’s redistricting bill, at the Senate Committee on Redistricting last week, he noted the disconnect between Wade’s words and her actions.

He read Wade’s 2012 quote about government:

“I believe that government is a threat to personal freedom and individual liberty,” Wade said in 2012. “Therefore, I will attempt to reduce the power and influence of politicians and bureaucrats in order to maximize the freedom of the people of North Carolina.”

Frick noted the irony in Wade’s introducing a state bill that would take away the rights from local government and voters. Others have pointed out this as well.

Sadly, politics has become an irony-free zone.

How else could Wade decry the overreach of government then use her power as a state senator to deny the city its power of self-governance?

How else could U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) paint himself as a proponent of regulatory reform — even saying that restaurant workers shouldn’t be required to wash their hands after using the bathroom — after he championed a bill to regulate abortion clinics out of business.

Saying one thing and doing another is nothing new in politics, but now politicians don’t even feel compelled to acknowledge or explain their contradictory actions.

But don’t worry. We’ll be glad to keep pointing it out.

McLaurin Urged to Run

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ROCKINGHAM — Gene McLaurin’s phone is ringing itself hoarse.

Hours before tipoff in the year’s first Duke-North Carolina basketball game Feb. 17, legislative leaders released the new congressional maps. Before the halftime whistle, prominent Democrats began calling to draft McLaurin as a candidate in the redrawn 9th District, which includes the three-county core of his former state Senate seat.

“I was watching the ballgame at home when the calls started,” McLaurin said. “The problem is, my phone has not stopped ringing, and the people who looked at these maps continue to tell me that I need to run.”

McLaurin, who was Rockingham’s mayor for 15 years before serving in the N.C. Senate from 2012-14, hasn’t decided whether he will run for U.S. House. He’d face a June 7 Democratic primary against Christian Cano, a Charlotte businessman, and a short window of time to amass a campaign war chest.

“I’m not ready to say I’m going to do it, but I’m not ready to say that I’m not, either,” McLaurin said. “It’s not something I was expecting. I was very comfortable with my decision to help my friend Roy Cooper, and I have tremendous confidence in him.”

McLaurin serves on Cooper’s state finance committee and hosts fundraising events for the four-term Democratic attorney general’s gubernatorial campaign. Cooper raised nearly a quarter-million dollars more than Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in the first two months of 2016.

In October, McLaurin ended speculation that he’d seek a 2016 rematch with state Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Richmond, who unseated him in his bid for a second term. The Quality Oil Co. president also held off calls to seek statewide office, saying he’d remain active in public service as a key Cooper aide.

“I made the decision I was not going to be a candidate in 2016,” McLaurin said this week. “When those district lines got drawn, it’s made me just think about it and keep an open mind about the possibility. I’m not leaning either way right now. I’m just listening.”


Legislators, party officials and former constituents have urged McLaurin to run in the 9th Congressional District if the new maps receive final approval from federal judges.

A decision is expected next week, ending a long-running legal battle following the 2011 Republican-led state redistricting process. A three-judge U.S. District Court panel ruled Feb. 5 that the 1st and 12th districts were gerrymandered based on race. The U.S. Supreme Court turned away legislative leaders’ appeal.

The new maps move Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson counties from the 8th to the 9th district, which also includes Union County, southeastern Mecklenburg, southern Cumberland and western Bladen counties.

While he isn’t a fan of the new district boundaries, state Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland, said he’s “a huge fan of Senator McLaurin’s.”

“I think he did an outstanding job as a state senator and has done an outstanding job in his business,” Richardson said. “He’s a man of great integrity and he would make a wonderful congressman.”

Richardson, a Fayetteville attorney, was appointed last September to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. Rick Glazier, who stepped down to accept a position as CEO of the North Carolina Justice Center, a progressive think tank and advocacy group.

“It’s going to take a pro-business, pro-education, pragmatic Democrat to run in that district,” Richardson said. “I think Gene is very qualified and would be well-suited to the voters in the Cumberland County part of that district.”

McLaurin is an adviser to the Main Street Democrats Legislative Caucus, a group of moderate, pro-business Democrats founded and chaired by Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond.

“Although that district still leans Republican, it could be won by a strong pro-business Democrat — especially in a presidential year,” Goodman said. “I think there’s some opportunity there, and I think Gene McLaurin is as strong a candidate as you could put in that race.”

Goodman, who worked closely with McLaurin in the General Assembly and considers him a good friend, said voters would cross party lines because the former senator “is a very pragmatic person, not an ideologue.”

“Gene’s a great public servant and he’s got a lot to offer,” Goodman said. “He’s a businessman. He’s interested in education and jobs.”


Christian Cano was the sole Democrat to file for the 9th Congressional District seat under the old boundaries and expected a clear path to a general election showdown with either U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-Charlotte, or Republican challenger George Rouco of Mooresville.

Since his Mecklenburg County home remains in the redrawn 9th District, Cano confirmed he plans to stay in the race whether or not the new maps take effect.

“In both maps, I still live in the 9th District,” Cano said. “Technically, we were the nominee for a couple of months, so when the redistricting occurred, it didn’t really change our plans.”

Cano said Thursday he wasn’t aware of any other Democrats considering a run for the seat, but he would welcome a primary opponent “deciding to join the democracy.”

“If someone does enter, we embrace him as part of our party,” he said. “We’ll give them a call and say ‘Welcome to the race.’ If we are primaried, we do feel confident that we would win in the primary.”

Zachary Deason, chairman of the 9th Congressional District Democratic Party, said party leadership would not endorse a congressional candidate before voters make their choice in the primary.

Dylan Frick, who chairs the 8th District Democrats, said he abides by the same general rule on endorsements, but noted he’s been a longtime McLaurin supporter.

“If Gene were to run,” he said, “that would be the first time I would have to break that rule.”

To outpace Cano, McLaurin would need to campaign heavily in populous Mecklenburg and Union counties. He would hold an advantage in Anson, Richmond and Scotland counties, which he previously represented in the state Senate.

On the Republican ballot, Pittenger plans to run in the redrawn 9th District. While Rouco’s Iredell County home places him outside the new boundaries, Todd Johnson of Union County has announced a bid to challenge Pittenger in a GOP primary.


McLaurin’s candidacy would be celebrated in the Sandhills, but his campaign would also face the challenge of raising six-figure sums in a short time.

“It’s a lot of work,” McLaurin said. “This is a big step if I decide to do it. It’s going to require an awful lot of money. My eyes are wide open, and I know it’s going to be a tremendous time commitment and financial commitment.”

If building a war chest is an obstacle, McLaurin’s familiarity with the cities and counties in the new district boundaries is one of his top advantages.

“I know this district,” he said. “Pittenger is unknown in this part of the district. It would be great for this part of North Carolina to have a congressman. Tons of folks have said to me, ‘Do we need a congressman from Charlotte?’”

If elected, McLaurin said he would bring the same moderate approach to the Capitol dome that won him respect on both sides of the aisle in the General Assembly.

“I think I proved with my voting record in Raleigh that I’m not an extremist,” he said. “That would be the approach I would bring. I just believe that both Raleigh and Washington need people who have that experience of bringing people together. They’re so polarized in Washington. Is there room for people like that? I think we need it.”

Though his phone continues to ring, McLaurin hasn’t made any promises. He’s still soul-searching and weighing the viability of a congressional run.

“I’m not trying to talk myself into it,” he said. “I’m keeping an open mind, but I have definitely not made a decision to run, nor have I made a decision that I’m not interested. I’m just trying to study it and do some research.”

A choice will be made before month’s end. Filing for congressional offices is set to open March 16 and close March 25.

In the meantime, McLaurin is looking to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina for clarity. The entire question could be moot if the maps are rejected and the 9th District isn’t extended to encompass his Rockingham home.

“The courts have got to rule on this,” McLaurin said. “It’s coming up on us very quickly.”

Supporters want him to enter 9th District race

By Corey Friedman

Reach Corey Friedman at 910-817-2670.

Trickle-down economics doesn’t trickle

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by Dylan Frick, 8th Congressional District Democratic Party, published in Salisbury Post, September 21, 2015.

Finally, the North Carolina General Assembly finished their homework and submitted a budget. It was due on June 30th, but I suppose there are no penalties for turning in their assignment late. No, the Republicans can goof off all summer and the only folks who get punished are the children of North Carolina.

When the budget deal was announced, Sen. Tom McInnis was quick to jump on the bandwagon and claim responsibility for it. “We’re finally making progress up here,” McInnis said. “I’ve been actively involved in the minuscule details of the negotiation.” I decided to see what McInnis really did for the people of rural North Carolina, so I read all 429 pages of the budget. The result was not very pretty.

The biggest problem we have in Raleigh is entitlement. The Republicans promised they would be more transparent and more cooperative, but they haven’t been. Thank goodness for Sen. Jane Smith and Rep. Ken Goodman, because they’re the only ones who have tried to reach a compromise and have continued to fight for working families and public education. But, Senator McInnis and his Republican cronies have silenced any bipartisan cooperation, and are consequently hurting rural North Carolina, especially Rowan County.

McInnis brags about the income tax cuts, as if they help rural North Carolina. He couldn’t be further from reality. The only people that benefit from these cuts are millionaires and billionaires. The Fiscal Research Department at the General Assembly calculated that the cost of cutting the corporate tax rate would be $3.94 billion over the next five years. How do they plan to make up for it?

Well, McInnis’s bright idea is to fool you into thinking he cut your income tax, when really he just increased taxes on things like automotive repairs and maintenance. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is pay more when my check engine light comes on, just to benefit a few rich fat cats who don’t even drive themselves.

The money that we lose from the corporate tax cuts could be used to fuel new economic projects that would effectively jumpstart our state’s economy and reap tangible benefits that all North Carolinians could enjoy, not just the special interests who have bought McInnis.

Although we’ve lost nearly every bit of manufacturing we once had, there’s one thing we have a lot of: land. Today, even if farmers own their own land, machinery is outlandishly expensive and drives farmers into debt.

Large agribusinesses (like the ones McInnis just gave tax cuts to) are leading our farmers to a slow death. However, we’ve got land perfectly suitable for solar farms and alternative energy development. Sadly, McInnis and his pals killed the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC), which eliminates good jobs and costs taxpayers $4.7 billion.

Instead, they earmarked $500,000 towards fracking, a highly controversial method of digging for natural gas. Fracking will only be done in a few counties, who are all vehemently protesting it, whereas solar energy would create hundreds more jobs and benefit every family in every rural county in North Carolina.

Senator, I think I can speak for every family when I say I’m disappointed in you, and in this legislature’s leadership. End this reactionary agenda that wages war on low-income families, on farmers, on the very water we drink, and on our public schools. Start standing up for the people of your district, and stop standing up for the CEO’s financing your campaign.

Didn’t we learn that trickle-down economics doesn’t trickle?

Dylan Frick is the chairman of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party.

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