Politicians who consider themselves progressives need to understand, you are what you do:
Gov. Pat McCrory could not have a more loyal lieutenant than Susan Kluttz, secretary of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. Even though she’s a lifelong Democrat, the former Salisbury mayor expresses unqualified support for McCrory, even though the Republican governor has taken a sharper turn to the right than many moderates expected. … Governor McCrory is identified with a political agenda that’s overtly disinterested in the problems of the poor. He has rejected a federally-funded expansion of Medicaid to some 500,000 North Carolinians, and he signed into law cuts in unemployment benefits so deep that the state was disqualified from federal benefits for the longterm unemployed.
Kluttz opened a speech in Salisbury last week touting the impact of those very steps. “I’m a part of an administration that began on Jan. 5, 2013,” she said. “At that point, unemployment was 9.4 percent, the (fifth) highest in the nation. The state owed the federal government $2.5 billion. There was a $500 million overrun in Medicaid, and state government was receiving much negative feedback about customer service. …”
Don't get me wrong, being a Democrat in McCrory's bent administration isn't inherently wrong. There are thousands of Democrats working diligently in their particular departments. But when you stand in front of a crowd and give your blessing to policy decisions that have harmed tens of thousands, you have become part of the problem, not part of the solution. And when the tides turn once again, don't expect to be able to ride that wave back to the land of the trustworthy. It's not like she doesn't have a crisis of her own:
Current budget proposals put forth by the N.C. Senate and House call for reductions in arts grants programs and substantial cuts to the staff of the Arts Council.
The board of the N.C. Arts Council focuses on three main areas that benefit all of North Carolina: Creating a strong arts infrastructure across the state, planning and implementing economic development initiatives using the arts and enhancing the creativity of our students and youth.
The board’s recommendations are then presented to the secretary of Cultural Resources, who makes final decisions. This procedure has worked well over many years and promoted high standards and fairness in funding for the arts around the state.
What is the reasoning behind these severe cuts aimed specifically at our grants programs and at our exemplary staff? The arts are the primary cause of attracting thousands of tourists to the state.
Have legislators not seen the economic studies showing there is a multiplier effect of almost $20 created in the arts for every dollar invested by Arts Council grants? Arts and cultural organizations and audiences generate more than $62.3 million in revenues for the state.
You don't have to be a fly on the wall to know what Republicans have told Kluttz about getting more funding: "Once we get our spending down on all these other programs, we'll be glad to contribute to the arts." The real questions are 1) does she believe them, and 2) does she care about the harm being done in the process?