Jane's political salon: Gerry Cohen

Gerry Cohen is in our salon tonight to talk about local politics. If you have questions, drop them below.

Gerry, Jane and I go way back. Jane and Gerry met in 1977 when he was running for mayor of Chapel Hill. I eventually joined the town council and knew about Gerry's legendary service. We met eight years ago at a blogger conference. This is the first time we've had the chance to reconnect.

Comments

Transit passion

Gerry got started in politics in order to get a bus system started in Chapel Hill. That happened in 1974. (Now he's a train aficionado.)

Early voting changes

The addition of evening and Saturday hours is a good thing. More Sunday voting. This is better in 97 counties. The new schedule has more sites in some areas, and even though there are a few number of days, there are the same number of hours.

The addition of Voter ID and the elimination of same-day registration, however, are problematic.

Suggestion: Don't fight battles you can't win.

Now that precedent is set

Let's all join in.

Art Pope frequently dresses nicely.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Early voting changes

The addition of evening and Saturday hours is a good thing. More Sunday voting. This is better in 97 counties. The new schedule has more sites in some areas, and even though there are a few number of days, there are the same number of hours.

The addition of Voter ID and the elimination of same-day registration, however, are problematic.

Suggestion: Don't fight battles you can't win.

Wake County

Paul Coble is an extreme right wing conspiracy theorist. Jesse Helms was his father in law, coincidentally.

  • Wake candidates: Matt Calabria, John Burns, Sig Hutchinson, Jessica Holms.
  • Wake County has a million people, and it costs a lot to run.
  • Tom Bradshaw running for state senate (no incumbent).

If you have $25 to spare, this is a good place to invest. If you're interested in regional transit, these are people you should be supporting.

http://www.mattcalabria.com/
http://www.burnsforwake.org/
http://sig4wake.com/
http://www.jessicaforwake.com/

Medicaid expansion question

There seems to be a coincidence between Republican state legislatures and Republican governors. Funny thing.

More on Medicaid

The three free years for federal government are already ticking. North Carolina just missed the whole first year. Down to two.

After three years, it shifts to 90% federal coverage.

lack of Medicaid expansion is ideology run amock

Gerry said there's a strong correlation (I'd say 1-1) between Republican controlled state legislatures with Republican governors and the lack of Medicaid expansion.

One of our salonistas said the real problem was that we allowed the ACA to be called "Obamacare" and the pushback is just anti-Obama. Or, they see it as a way to push all the poor people out of the state since they can get Medicaid in 37 other states.

For whatever reason, not accepting Medicaid expansion is stupid ideology and is bad for the state's economy and more than 500,000 good folks who aren't getting the health care they need.

The GOP's out-of-control ideology

will cost the state of North Carolina $10 billion. That's BILLION with a 'B'. It's already cost about 2,000 jobs and if expanded, could create about 23,000 good new jobs.

Oh, and people are dying because of their stupid, stubborn, hateful, cruel ideological choice.

This is on you, McCrory & Tillisberger.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Which laws seem unconstitutional

  • Motorcycle vagina (abortion restrictions)
  • Some of the election laws (Voter ID, same-day)

(Rules never apply to the majority.)

It's hard to give a flavor for the evening

but it was most excellent. Good friends, great food, and a lively discussion with Gerry. We also had the chance to meet Pam, his wife, who is simply charming.

Gerry's even-keeled approach to the world of legislating is inspiring, and we should all be most grateful for his service. Being able to see something good in a person like Art Pope is a talent I don't have, but I'm glad Gerry does. I'd hate to think there are fundamentally unredeemable people among us.

If there was one general theme in the discussion, it was the idea of unintended consequences. None of us is smart enough to anticipate the full catastrophe that can emerge from actions we take, so we should walk softly and, above all, strive to do no harm. If only the Republican ideologues in Raleigh would take that advice to heart.