Betsy Muse's blog

Hagan follows through with funding for rural broadband expansion

During her campaign in 2008, Kay Hagan traveled to rural areas of the state and held kitchen table discussions with residents of those counties to discuss the need for broadband expansion. Yesterday she announced that North Carolina would get a little over $2 million to expand broadband to underserved areas of this state.

“This investment in North Carolina will help boost economic development in our rural communities and keep them vibrant,” said Hagan. “Increasing broadband access means connecting our communities to the world and adding more jobs in our state in this tough economy.”

I organized one of these kitchen table discussions for then candidate Kay Hagan. A neighbor, who raises chickens and cattle held the event at his home. We were trying to get about 12-15 people in rural Union County to attend. There were more than 30 people eager to speak with Kay about everything from broadband to roads.

Bringing the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte

There is an effort underway to bring the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte in 2012 started (I believe) by Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem and Democratic National Committeewoman, Susan Burgess. Charlotte is a great city and it has a lot to offer. Cultural amenities, shopping and athletic events are spread throughout the entire city and reach into the county and out to surrounding counties. However, there is plenty to do in the center city area that is within walking distance of hotels and possible convention venues.

Social Networking and Local Campaigns

Sites like BlueNC, Facebook, Pam's House Blend, DailyKos and Twitter have helped open up a whole new avenue for reaching voters and many candidates are taking advantage of these new tools - tools that are newer to some than to others. Lately, though, I've overheard more than a few local people claiming to be experts in social media and online campaigning - people I've never heard of - and they're claiming that new media and online social networking play a more important role in successful campaigns than they actually do. Candidates will do well to remember that any middle school student can network a facebook page.

Richard Burr trying to scare people into giving him money

In his latest fund-raising email North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr apparently doesn't believe telling the truth will work, so he resorts to scare tactics and misinformation to raise money. He gives three reasons why we should send him our hard-earned money.

The U.S. Senate is in the midst of debate right now over healthcare reform. Hopefully, you have read about the plan I am co-sponsoring, "The Patients Choice Act," which I believe is a reasoned approach to this issue. I am sure you are aware that many in Congress support a government-run option for our health care. I do not believe this is the way to address healthcare reform, and I am pledged to continue the fight against that option.

First, I couldn't find one respected organization arguing for this plan.

John Lassiter turns back on debate over requirement he defend his positions - Updated

Charlotte Republican mayoral candidate, John Lassiter, has surrendered. He’s thrown up his hands and is walking away from an opportunity to inform Charlotte voters about his experience and his vision for the city.

Lassiter doesn’t offer a prior professional, family or personal obligation as an excuse for missing the League of Women Voter’s televised debate. No, Lassiter has apparently decided he doesn’t want to have to face challenges to any statements he makes during the debate. He has pulled out over the number of rebuttals.

Of course, that should come as no surprise based on Lassiter’s past behavior and the way he is running his campaign. Over the past several weeks John Lassiter has failed to participate in pre-debate discussions with host organizations.

Monday Open Thread

There are really only two hobbies that I enjoy more than blogging - gardening and working on campaigns. To me gardening also includes canning and preserving the bounty from my garden. We are in the height of pepper season and contrary to popular belief, you don't pick them already pickled. I wish I had taken pictures of the bushels of tomatoes I brought in. I can't believe I failed to document them in some way. We couldn't eat them fast enough, so this year I froze them whole to save them for the peppers so I could make salsa. That time has come.

Charlotte Transit - Commuter Train or Light Rail Line?

With the success of the Lynx Blue Line, transit is all the rage in and around Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Nothing new, though, they're still either raging for it or against it. If you move beyond the noise-makers you find the Charlotte Area Transit System(CATS) faced with the same problem most other government agencies face - limited resources available to meet a growing demand.

Observer reporter, Steve Harrison, has done an excellent job of outlining the problems faced by CATS, especially for those of us on the outside.

Richard Burr still can't break 50% against any known challenger

Richard Burr is touting a new poll out by Rasmussen that shows him ahead of Kenneth Lewis, a newcomer to the political scene, and Congressman Bob Etheridge who is well-known in one congressional district. He leads both by double digits. What he fails to tell us is that he still isn't breaking 50% against either challenger or potential challenger. He also fails to tell us that Elaine Marshall has a closer margin (10 points) than either Lewis or Etheridge.

It's obvious from the numbers given by Rasmussen that there is a lot of work ahead of all of the challengers if any of them wants to be successful in November 2010. Of course, not too many people thought Kay Hagan had a snowball's chance against Liddy Dole.

You can find the Rasmussen write-up here.

Anthony Foxx sounding very mayoral

Cross-posted from NCPolitico

A couple of weeks ago Anthony Foxx held a press conference in support of the proposed streetcar in Charlotte. I attended to support my mother, Patsy Kinsey, who stood by Foxx as he spoke. She was given an opportunity to speak and did so, reinforcing her support of the streetcar which will go right through her district and will help promote economic development in underserved areas of the community.

Back to Anthony...I haven't always been impressed with him and I admit it was for superficial reasons. I have always admitted he is smart - brilliant, actually - and he does care very much for Charlotte. Finally, at this press conference, I heard a mayor speaking. He was clear, concise and firm.

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