In response to Anglico’s 12/06/06 post (“Early birds”) and by way of introduction, my name is Hampton Dellinger. Just after the 2006 polls closed, I posted ads announcing my run for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor because for all the progress North Carolina has made over the past forty years – my lifetime – there is more, much more, we need to do.
Anglico thinks getting started early is generally a good idea. I hope so. In 2005 and 2006, I traveled the state supporting Democrats -- such as Anthony Foxx (Charlotte City Council), Lorrin Freeman (Wake Clerk of Court), Ty Harrell (State House) and Patricia Timmons-Goodson (Supreme Court) -- and discussing my interest in seeking an open statewide office in 2008. As it became clear which Democratic incumbents would seek re-election, I received tremendous encouragement for a particular post: Lieutenant Governor.
While I believe that what matters most is what you are for not who is for you, I am excited about the endorsements I have received already. My supporters include environmentalist Joan Weld, Mayor Bill Bell of Durham and Mayor Kevin Foy of Chapel Hill, the historian and civil rights activist Dr. John Hope Franklin, former Eastern District U.S. Attorney Janice McKenzie Cole, and union leader Dickie Westbrook. I am grateful for their support as I would be for yours.
As you can see at HDforLtGov.com, I’ve been from Murphy in WNC’s Cherokee County to OBX’s Manteo. In between are 500 miles, 100 counties, 2800 precincts and 5.5 million registered voters. Communicating with every voter is a never-ending goal but piggybacking on the interest in election results seemed a good way to start.
I look forward to returning to BlueNC throughout the campaign for scheduled chats and I welcome readers to email me their thoughts and advice anytime. For now, I offer these initial thoughts for your consideration.
Even though I’m willing to start the process of seeking supporters early, I know the point of politics is not campaigns but what comes after. Campaigns create the elected officials who – along with their appointees and staff – make, execute, and enforce the laws that touch the lives of every North Carolinian and every American.
When elections turn out the right way, we can benefit from pivotal programs for children such as Head Start, Smart Start and More at Four. We can have effective environmental enforcement and a progressive system of paying for government services.
And when elections turn out the wrong way, we get precipitous military engagements and mismanaged aftermaths, lengthening rolls of Americans without health insurance, and incompetence in the most vital sectors of government.
From the outset of my campaign, I have been specific about the policy challenges North Carolina faces and approaches we can take. As I say at HDforLtGov.com, I'm running for Lieutenant Governor because I believe we need to:
- Eliminate continuing racial disparities in schools, health outcomes, and our criminal justice system.
- Reduce the gap that leaves low-wealth counties and school systems in certain parts of the state disadvantaged despite the best efforts of their citizens and leaders.
- Put patients first by demanding that affordable, comprehensive, and high-quality health care never be held hostage by politics. North Carolina should be a stem cell research leader, protect reproductive health and freedom, insist that non-profit insurers and providers fulfill their chartered missions, ensure the availability of mental health and dental care, and better meet the medical needs of our growing senior population.
- Safeguard the spectacular natural environment that makes North Carolina such a wonderful place to call home and that we hold in trust for future generations.
- Put state government at the forefront of promoting discrimination-free workplaces and the associational rights of government employees, along with fair business opportunities for companies large and small.
- Target the court backlogs and jail crowding that threaten public safety and erode public confidence.
- Enhance voting rights, government ethics, and open government in North Carolina. All three are fundamentally related because failures in any one of these areas reduces the legitimacy of government, and undermines the common good and the will of the people.
- Enact an Education Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for the 21st Century, a compact with North Carolina families that, among other things, offers high-quality learning environments for children as young as three and raises the compulsory school age to 17 or older.
- Free counties from Medicaid’s financial burdens.
- Increase the use of advanced technologies in law enforcement.
- Expand health insurance risk pools.
- And make a deeper commitment to mass transit and sustainable energy.
Beyond specific policy proposals, I will bring two general approaches to the Lieutenant Governor’s office:
(1) I will stand up and challenge state agencies when citizens are not served well. I’ve done it from the inside (e.g., criticizing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ decision to permit a rock quarry adjacent to the Appalachian Trial) and the outside (e.g., successfully fighting the decision to waste taxpayers’ money by overpaying for office supplies). And I’ll keep it up as Lieutenant Governor.
(2) I will take the long view and seek to ensure that present actions benefit rather than burden succeeding generations. Having served in the Governor’s office, I know the daily demands on a Governor’s time. The Lieutenant Governor has a unique opportunity to think not just about the next meeting but about the next year, the next decade, the next generation. I’ll use that opportunity to develop and promote progressive solutions to our most serious challenges.
I’ll bring this introduction of my campaign to an end with this thought: I am going to run for Lt. Governor as hard as I can, and believe I have a strong chance of winning (by seeking votes in every precinct, organizing every county, and raising the millions necessary under our current campaign finance system to communicate with voters statewide). But I am prepared to lose. It is the candidates who are desperate to win, who believe they are indispensable (not to mention infallible) who worry me for they will consider cutting corners to get or stay in office, and put personal or special interests above the public good.
I like my day job (right now I am assisting a small, North Carolina business that was unfairly denied a state contract despite offering a product as good or better than a competitor for $1 million less; details here), and I love my family (my wonderful wife Jolynn and I are blessed with two children, Jackson and Austen Grace).
After twenty years of proudly aiding other Democrats, I’m doing the hard and humbling work of asking other Dems to help me. While I cannot predict the outcome of my efforts, I can promise that I will run a clean, positive, energetic campaign that supporters will be proud to be a part of.
You can find out more about what I have done and why I am running at www.HDforLtGov.com. I would be grateful if you would take a few minutes to visit the campaign site, and encourage others to do so as well.
Regards and many thanks,
Hampton Dellinger, Democrat for Lt. Governor