Hampton Dellinger for Lieutenant Governor

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

Comments

Welcome!

I talked with Hampton Dellinger last night and told him I'd front page his entry if he kept it less than 5,000 words - and it looks like he might have just squeaked in under that number. (He must be a lawyer.) So here you go . . . our next candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

I don't know Hampton beyond what I've read about him, but I do know a little about his family - and my wife Jane has been friends with his mom for a good long while. That said, one thing he wrote really caught my attention:

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 know the John Locke Puppets will have a conniption because this seems suspiciously like planning and thinking ahead - two functions the government-haters on the right don't approve of. But from where I sit, long-range thinking and scenario planning for uncertain futures is essential for real progress. I was really glad to see this.

And this ain't too shabby either.

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.

The only person on this list I know personally is Kevin Foy. He's a good, level-headed guy who understands the role of government and governance. His support for Dellinger is a plus in my book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For what it's worth, Hampton is a newbie in the blogosphere. I cautioned him against 'hit-and-run' participation in any blog, but especially here at BlueNC where we've been well-trained to expect thoughtful engagement. Once he gets comfortable on the receiving end of all our pot shots, maybe we'll get him to go 'live' one day.

A

PS We extend this same courtesy and offer of participation to any candidate for statewide or federal office, of course. For example, we had the start of a good conversation back in November with another candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Pat Smathers. More is better.

Hi Hampton

We met at the state convention in July. I'm Pamela B.'s friend. Welcome to BlueNC.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

thanks for sharing your view, Mr. Dellinger.

I hope you'll stop back by to answer questions. (Maybe I'll email this as well, just in case.) I'm particularly pleased to see the following on your platform:

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

High quality learning environments for children as young as three are something I've been working on for the past 7 years. As I'm sure you're aware, even with the seemingly enormous amount of funding that has gone into Smart Start since its inception, the early childhood infrastructure in NC is still struggling to provide high quality environments for young children, particularly in low-income areas. The average wage for early childhood teachers hovers somewhere near $8 or $9 an hour, and many of those mostly female professionals have no health insurance themsevles. A lot of them are eligible for WIC and other "welfare" type benefits. How do you propose to build the infrastructure to provide the high quality learning environments for ages 3 and up, particularly in low-income areas?

Thank you for your time - and good luck in your race. Hope to see you in Moore County some time soon.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Welcome Hampton....

I enjoyed reading your post and have a couple of questions.

You say you're running because we need to:

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.

Have you any ideas on how this can be done?

You also say that you'll visit here thru-out the campaign, what about after? If you are elected, will you stop in to take the pulse of the voters?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Hampton and Ali

Yup, races start early these days. Hopefully, that gets us past the meet and greet phase and into the issues and details quicker.
Not endorsing anybody at this point, but I've always enjoyed talking with Hampton. One interesting thing about him that you might not know is that he has done a ton of research on Muhammad Ali and the draft—a case Ali won, but at considerable cost to his career. There's a pdf of an excerpt from one of his articles on the subject Reconstruction, Muhammad Ali: The Boxer as Dissident (1994) on Hampton's bio page.

Health Care for All

Do you support Verla Insko's House Bill 1358, to provide an up or down vote to the people of North Carolina on Health Care for All?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Blog netiquette.

I gave some of this same advice to one of your opponents, so I might as well do the same here.

1. Don't post and run, unless you wish to offend the blogosphere.
2. Don't post press releases. I realize this isn't a press release, but adding your digital signature to the end makes it look that way.
3. Come here and answer the questions, people will check in to see if you have done so.
4. Don't shy away from confrontation, this isn't your standard political crowd, it's the blogs, we expect truth and open debate.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Thanks, Robert.

The Tubes are changing the way politics get done and the truth is, those of us who live online are way ahead of the curve. Which means one our jobs is to educate candidates and elected officials about how things work best.

Hey,

I've seen Teddy Kennedy get lectured on this at Daily Kos, so it is something that every candidate needs to be aware of in their campaign. There are lots of little hints and tweaks and niches that those of us who live here know about, that those who don't live here, well, don't know about.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Racial Disparities

Hello Hampton-
This is the kind of statement I love to see:

Eliminate continuing racial disparities in schools, health outcomes, and our criminal justice system.

Especially at the top of a list!

Eliminating racial disparities in schools is tough work that I try to do every day. When I've talked with policy makers, they are reluctant to take it on because it's easier (and more palatable) to focus on poverty, school funding, high school reform, etc. without any specific focus on race.

Can you say more about your thoughts on this issue and share any ideas you have for purusing it?

Hampton's responses

In the spirit of teaching them to fish, I'm cross-posting HD's responses here, which should make it easier to follow the thread.

Thanks for the welcomes and comments. I'm a big believer in the idea that the best decisions -- whether it is how to campaign, how to govern, how a NGO can tackle a vexing societal problem, or how to run a business -- are arrived at publicly and with wide input. I've got a day job that keeps me busy (and a number of campaign commitments) but I will try to check in and respond, and look forward to a future live blogging session.

Thanks again for the submissions and here are some initial thoughts:

* lcloud is so right about how critical high-quality care and learning environments are for young children. All of the studies on pre-kindergarten programs I’ve seen agree that quality programs are cost-effective, especially when you take into account middle- and long-term savings. And I don't mean just in terms of effectiveness in improving educational outcomes. In cold, hard dollar terms, the benefits outweigh the costs. One study of the Abecedarian Program in North Carolina found a return of between $2 and $3.66 dollars for every public dollar spent. Other studies have found returns of $10 or more per dollar spent, but even the most conservative estimates suggest a 2-to-1 payoff.

On the back end, North Carolina law requires education for children "between the ages of 7 and 16 years." This puts us in an eight-way tie for the shortest required school term of any state. Our neighbors all require students to attend school for longer than we do. In South Carolina, students must attend from age 5 until 17, in Virginia from 5 until 18, and in Tennessee from 6 until 17. Providing quality learning environments from ages 3-18 is a big commitment, but it is one North Carolina needs – as a state -- to make.

* To momoaizo’s point about accessibility of public officials after campaigns are over, I am committed to it. North Carolina has strong public records and open meetings laws. Those laws must be vindicated in practice and public officials should go beyond them and be available to those they work for – the people of North Carolina. Put another way, win (or lose), I’ll be back.

* I think “access to appropriate health care on a regular basis” is something every North Carolinian should enjoy. My goal is to make that goal a reality as quickly as possible. You’ll see some of my ideas for getting there on my website. I also am proud to have supported from the outset the idea that any conversion of Blue Cross/Blue Shield to for-profit status must include the creation of a charitable foundation devoted to expanding access to quality health care for North Carolinians.

* I think expanding education and health access will help reduce the racial and economic disparities we continue to see. But, as part of making real progress on the gaps and disparities that should distress us all, we have to acknowledge their existence, and their many causes including the racism that still exists in America. I have done work for the NAACP, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and other groups working on these issues, and will discuss them throughout my run.

Regards, H

You still didn't answer all of my questions

I think that many of us here and across NC recognize the "gaps and disparities" in the poorer county's school systems, what are your thoughts on bridging those gaps?

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

a little class, please...

One of the great things about blogs is that they can provide direct access to candidates and decisionmakers for everyday folks and average voters.

One of the drawbacks is that sometimes,when they get that access, people act like their mother never taught them any manners.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Illegal Immigration

has had a significant impact on North Carolinians. I'm sure you are aware of costs to NC Taxpayers and workers. Assume for a moment the federal government continues in its failure to enforce our laws...what would you recommend our State government do?

Stan Bozarth

Undocumented Workers

make up the majority of our low-income work force. I'm sure you are aware of the absolute necessity of their work to the NC economy. Assume for a moment that the federal government fails to move forward with a reasonable guest worker program...what would you recommend our State government do?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

You'll have to pardon me Robert, but

The Wilmington NC Star-News (April 2, 2006) printed a multi-page New York Times article and analysis on illegal immigrants in the American labor market. Hopefully you had an opportunity to read the analysis. John Broder is the author, and seemingly reputable information sources provided factual supporting data.

Concisely, the information presented refutes every claim that illegal immigrants are providing a valuable service by performing “work Americans won’t do” and stated that nationwide less than 20% of the workers in labor intensive jobs (agriculture,fishing,construction, etc.) were illegal immigrants. It appears GW Bush, various members of the Senate, and representatives of special interests are presenting opinions refuted by reality. Some might say these folks are lying through their teeth. Not one sector of our labor market, on either a percentage or numeric basis, is shown to be even close to being largely populated by non-citizens doing work we Americans won’t do. The article stated the average American family spends less than $400 annually on fresh fruits and vegetables, with laborers who harvested the produce receiving a $22 share of that amount. So, if the average farm worker wage (stated to be $8.83 per hour) was raised 40% to provide a wage that would help lift all these workers out of poverty, the increase in consumer prices would be minimal ($0.05-0.10 for a head of lettuce, for example). I doubt such an increase would cause North Carolina farmers to cease growing lettuce or cause consumers to stop buying. The cost would simply be passed up the distribution chain. In another article it was reported that in 2005 the NC construction industry (booming!) reported @1 Billion less in wages paid than the previous year. This was attributed to the increased used of illegal immigrant labor...being paid cash...low wages...unreported....no taxes or Social Security, etc., paid.

What seems clear is that some businesses and their lobbyists (including the North Carolina Farm Bureau) and representatives have absolutely no regard for their fellow citizens, taxpayers, and the best interests of this nation. These people support integrating vast numbers of illegal immigrants into our society simply to enhance their own fortunes. I wonder how folks who knowingly engage in this sort of treachery can sleep at night or show their faces in public?

Stan Bozarth

To that I would have to say...

New Immigrant Workers are Vital to the U.S. Economy
The U.S. economy increasingly requires low-skilled workers, as the native-born workforce continues to become better educated and less willing to take these jobs. In 1960, half of all American men dropped out of high school and joined the low-skilled labor force; now the number is about 10%. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, our economy depends on 485,000 new low-skilled immigrant workers a year, but the current immigration system only provides for 5,000 such visas (Congressional Testimony ). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 10 million unfilled jobs in the United States by 2010, primarily in low-wage service industries (Financial Times). New immigrants will generate all net growth in the labor force over the next two decades (Congressional Testimony). According to a recent poll, 74% of Americans understand that immigrants are filling jobs that native-born Americans don't want (Time).

Immigrant workers do more than simply satisfy vital labor needs; they increase economic productivity and expand the economy for all Americans. The Manhattan Institute estimates that for every 1 job filled by a migrant worker, 3 more are created elsewhere in the economy as a result (Talk of the Nation). According to Daniel Griswold, Director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, "Immigration not only increases the supply of labor but also the demand for the labor of others—to provide food, housing, transportation, services and consumer goods" (Cato Institute). In 2005 Congressional testimony, Georgetown University economist Harry Holzer stated: "Virtually all economists agree that immigrants provide some important benefits to the U.S. economy. Beyond providing labor in sectors and areas where tight markets and even shortages might otherwise occur, immigrant labor helps reduce the prices of some products—such as housing and certain foods. These lower prices imply higher real incomes to most Americans, including the disadvantaged" (Congressional Testimony).

A 1997 report by the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most exhaustive studies conducted on the issue, found that immigrants have a "significant positive gain" on the U.S. economy overall, have little negative effect on the income and job opportunities of most native-born Americans, and may add as much as $10 billion to the economy each year (National Academy of Sciences). The health of the U.S. economy relies heavily on a continued flow of hard-working immigrant families, and a reformed immigration system must reflect this economic reality.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

One adjective modifier is missing in all stated above

about immigrant workers. That word is illegal.

There's nothing wrong with "guest workers" who come here legally and work and pay taxes. If they want, and qualify for, citizenship they can apply like everyone else. If not, after some period of time they can go home. These workers would not be the burden on taxpayers that illegals are...and they would, assumedly, be screened to assure they are not criminals.

Someone somewhere has data to support any premise one wants to proffer about immigration. I'm for controlled legal immigration. It's good for our nation in innumerable ways. I'm dead set against illegal immigration and our feckless Congress gazing with a blind eye at the economic and security problems created and perpetuated.

Stan Bozarth

I'm for controlled immigration as well.

We need about 13 million of them. We can find, arrest, process, and deport 13 million, then bring in another 13 million. Or, we can find those who are willing to pay taxes, have a clean record, and family ties and let them work their way into citizenship.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Stan Bozarth

The majority? Really?

I've no doubt that there are a lot of undocumented workers in the NC work force. I'm curious how you've come up with them being "the majority of low-income workers". Where is that info from?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Ok, no, that isn't the correct wording.

I was just responding to Stan's loaded question with an equally loaded question. I'm going offline now, but tomorrow I'll find some more stats.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me