Thursday News: Change is in the air


LGBTQ CANDIDATES WIN SEVEN RACES IN NORTH CAROLINA ELECTIONS: Advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are celebrating Tuesday’s election as seven openly LGBTQ candidates won races across North Carolina while other candidates made history in elections around the country. Three of those new North Carolina officials come from the Triangle. Altogether, there now will be 20 openly LGBTQ office-holders across the state, according to Equality NC. “It’s huge for LGBTQ North Carolinians,” said Ben Graumann, director of communications for Raleigh-based Equality NC, a statewide advocacy group. Tuesday’s election results, said Vernetta Alston, who was elected to the Durham City Council, “signal a great new progressive force that can kind of lead the way in advancing the rights of LGBTQ folks.”

BURR & TILLIS HEAD LIST OF TOP NRA BLOOD MONEY RECIPIENTS: North Carolina's two Republican U.S. senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, are among the top three members of Congress to benefit from National Rifle Association spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The center, a nonpartisan organization that tracks money in U.S. politics, compiled data from campaign finance filings for all members of Congress dating to 1989. The totals included donations from the NRA as well as spending on behalf of candidates by political action committees and independent groups affiliated with the gun rights group. Burr topped the list with nearly $7 million in NRA support over his more than 20 years in Congress, according to the report. About 80 percent of that spending was for attack ads on opponents by affiliated groups.

PITTENGER PLAYS THE TRUMP CARD AGAINST REPUBLICAN OPPONENT: Pittenger is eagerly reminding voters that he embraces Trump. Last week, his campaign sent reporters a clip from a March 10, 2016 radio interview where Harris was asked whether he would support Trump if the billionaire businessman became the Republican presidential candidate. "We’re looking at one entire generation of Supreme Court justices being nominated that will affect us. I am truly concerned, most of all, of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders having that ability to choose," Harris told Charlotte’s WBT radio. "I feel somewhat better about Donald Trump making those appointments, but I can’t tell you I feel great about that by any stretch of the imagination." Pittenger’s team called this Exhibit A that Harris, the former pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, isn’t a true die-hard Trump supporter.

TRUMP BASKING IN THE GLORY OF MEDIA-UNFRIENDLY CHINA: U.S. President Donald Trump was a cooperative partner for Beijing's sweeping efforts to control the message of his heavily choreographed visit to China. Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, took no questions at an event Thursday billed as a news briefing, a reduction of already minimal press interaction during previous visits by American leaders. During a 2014 visit by then President Barack Obama, Xi took a symbolic single question from a reporter for a Chinese state newspaper. He brushed off an American reporter's question about whether Beijing might ease restrictions on journalist visas, saying vaguely that media outlets had to obey China's laws. Trump, who has called the media the "enemy of the American people," also took no questions during an event at which Chinese companies signed contracts to buy American jetliners, soybeans and other goods.

CLUELESS GOP STILL PUSHING "TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS" THEORY FOR THEIR TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH: Their plan would slash corporate tax rates, end inheritance taxes for the ultrarich and create new tax advantages for business owners. To help pay for some of those breaks, the plan would end tax deductions for college loans, high medical bills, moving costs, and state and local income taxes. It would also add $1.4 trillion to the national debt over 10 years. Taken as a whole, the tax plan would drastically lighten the burden on the powerful groups that GOP leaders say would strengthen the economy while eliminating some benefits for the middle class they’ve called their top priority. Some new benefits for ordinary households — like a family credit — would expire in five years. And some existing benefits would erode with inflation. But the Trump administration and GOP lawmakers argue that the goodies they would bestow on corporations and the wealthy would, in the political parlance of the 1980s, inevitably “trickle down” to everyone else.



Great news, and more needed

Altogether, there now will be 20 openly LGBTQ office-holders across the state, according to Equality NC. “It’s huge for LGBTQ North Carolinians,” said Ben Graumann, director of communications for Raleigh-based Equality NC, a statewide advocacy group.

You've got 170 folks in the general assembly, 13 congressional districts, 2 us senators, the governor and 9 council of state members, and city council, school board, soil & water, judges, sheriffs, & county commissioners across 100 counties and even more towns and cities. I don't know how many elected officials that comes out to across the state, but I'd imagine in the 2000 to 3500 range somewhere?

Various studies put the LGBTQ population at different percentages. I've seen a lot say in the 5% to 10% range although some go up to 20% if you ask about people who engage in same sex activities but don't want to be labeled anything other than straight. So taking 5% of 2000 to 10% of 3500 that means we need somewhere between 100 to 350 LGBTQ elected office holders around the state to roughly reflect the population of the state (unless you buy 20% which could up it to 700). While a 1 to 1 ratio isn't needed if we have good allyship, we still need to be doing a lot better.

At the very minimum we need a goal of having 100 elected LGBTQ officials in North Carolina serving at any given time. We need some kind of 100 LGBTQ initiative.