Cross-posted from NC House Races
A devastating piece in yesterday's Charlotte Observer describes the struggling economy in the 8th District and examines how this economic reality could affect the race for Congress. It deserves an extended quote:
Carolyn Terry runs a sewing machine at a small apparel factory in the heart of town. She's had her workweek cut to three days. She's seen friends laid off from her company and others in this Montgomery County town of 1,400.
"There are so many jobs that have left our county," says Terry, 59. "There are a lot of people just hurting."
For voters such as Terry, the economy is a top concern heading into November's election.
She lives in North Carolina's sprawling 8th Congressional District, where Democrat Larry Kissell is trying to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes. The district stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville, and on both ends the economy is surging.
Uptown Charlotte has 14 new towers rising or planned. Fayetteville is booming, too, fueled in part by the Army's decision to bring more commands -- and 20,000 more people -- to Fort Bragg.
But in between lies one of North Carolina's most economically distressed regions.
Scotland and Richmond counties lead the state in unemployment. Anson County ranks fourth. From the Piedmont to the Sandhills, traditional manufacturing has eroded. Since 2000, the district has lost more than 10,000 textile jobs alone. In agriculture, another economic staple, small farmers have been squeezed by rising costs and changing markets.
The article also highlights the Hayes flip-flop on CAFTA and Kissell's argument that the free trade agreement has accelerated job losses in the district.