Frontpaged by Anglico. Hampton Dellinger's name has been thrown around a lot here in the context of WCSR and Blackwater. This post clears that issue up. Thanks for writing this, Hamp.
As part of a recent press release detailing my Education Plan, I discussed the difference between my record and Walter Dalton’s on education funding. Today, Mr. Dalton told the Raleigh News & Observer that my discussion of his education funding record was “untrue”. To the contrary, my discussion of Mr. Dalton’s record was fair and accurate, as the News & Observer article I relied on makes clear.
The bottom line is that, in 2001, there were two different proposed education budgets developed: Mr. Dalton’s and the Easley Administration’s. Mr. Dalton now seeks to ignore his own proposal to cut education funding and embrace the strong education funding position I supported. If Mr. Dalton now wants to change his record on education funding -- just as he recently sought to do on abortion -- he can. But there is nothing “untrue” or unfair about my discussion of his education budget proposal.
Specifically, my press release contrasted my support for education even in tough budget times with Mr. Dalton’s willingness to accept substantial education budget cuts.
As a top official in the Governor’s office, I assisted Gov. Easley’s successful efforts to better fund education and, in 2002, I prepared two critical pro-education Executive Orders that allowed new teachers to be hired and schools to open smoothly despite the legislature’s inability to pass a timely budget.
In contrast, Mr. Dalton in April of 2001 -- as chair of the Senate Education Appropriations Committee -- proposed dramatic cuts in the state’s education budget, reductions that would have run in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
While I have a vivid memory of Mr. Dalton’s proposal -- as do many others -- I did not rely on my personal recollection for the discussion of it. Instead, my press release relied on an article on the front page of Raleigh’s News & Observer.
On April 20, 2001, the News & Observer -- in an article titled “Legislators ask for cuts in education” -- detailed Mr. Dalton’s proposal to cut $125 million dollars from the Department of Public Instruction’s proposed budget, $125 million from the UNC system budget, and $40 million from the community colleges budget. According to the News & Observer: “Sen. Walter Dalton, senior chairman of the Senate education appropriations committee, said that he agrees the cuts could hurt but that the legislature has little choice….Dalton said his committee has made it clear for the past month that additional cuts would be requested.”
As part of Gov. Easley’s team, I disagreed that the state had “little choice” other than deep education budget cuts. Indeed, the Easley Administration never proposed, and never accepted, the massive education funding cuts Mr. Dalton suggested. And, in fact, the Easley Administration was able to balance the state budget in 2001 -- and submit and champion subsequent pro-education budgets -- so that North Carolina’s public schools and teachers were protected, not sacrificed.
North Carolina voters can decide which candidate’s position on education reflects their own. But voters are deprived of a fair opportunity to assess candidates when labels like “untrue attack” are misused. If the News & Observer did not accurately report Mr. Dalton’s proposal to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state’s education budget in 2001, Mr. Dalton should say so. Because the paper’s reporting matches the recollection of those -- like me and others in the Easley Administration at the time who opposed the deep education budget cuts Mr. Dalton proposed -- I stand by my statement.
Finally, it is also fair to note that Mr. Dalton has repeatedly backed proposals -- from putting governments at risk of owing millions of dollars to billboard sign owners to a major new tax giveaway for homebuilders -- that would reduce local and state governments’ financial resources. The government revenues lost if these proposals are enacted could instead go to supporting education and other vital public services. I disagree with my opponent’s position on these issues because I know we need to be adding resources for education, not taking them away.
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As part of preparing to post this comment, I saw my name included in a discussion of Blackwater. Here are the facts: I have never done any work on behalf of Blackwater. I left the law firm reported to be now representing Blackwater in December of last year. When I did work at the firm, it was as a salaried attorney. I handled my own cases, and the individuals and companies I chose to represent more than paid my salary and all overhead costs.
I am happy to talk during a live blog, in person, or anytime at Hamp@HD08.com about the clients I chose to represent while in private practice, both those that paid me and the ones I’ve helped for free.
After leaving the Governor’s office, I spent much of my time representing clients who had been denied government contracts despite being the lowest cost qualified bidders. Several of these cases were widely reported on in the media. One involved a state agency’s decision to overpay -- to the tune of $10 million -- for office supplies. Another involved the Highway Patrol’s effort to overpay for an emergency radio system. I am proud of the work I did in those cases. My efforts helped companies who offered high-quality products at the lowest prices and, in addition, saved millions in taxpayer dollars.
My most recent private sector matter was challenging a state agency that sought to copyright public records without, I believed, a legal basis. This matter, which involved the Board of Law Examiners, was also reported on widely.
Over the years, my pro bono work has included providing free legal services to individual and class victims of employment discrimination, to the NAACP at its Baltimore Headquarters, and to the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
I’m headed to Asheville for a Lt. Governor’s debate. Warm regards to all at BlueNC.