The competition is always tough, but North Carolina has a strong new contender for biggest political sellout.
Her name is Susi Hamilton.
She is a freshman state representative from Wilmington, and she can pivot so quickly the Bobcats should scout her.
Legislative Republicans have been pushing a bill to allow the controversial gas drilling procedure called fracking in North Carolina. Hamilton, a Democrat, voted against the bill. She signed a letter to Gov. Bev Perdue just days ago urging her to veto the bill. Last month, the N.C. League of Conservation Voters named Hamilton one of three “Rising Stars” in the General Assembly because of her commitment to the environment.
None of which could stand up, apparently, to Republicans offering her a little moolah for her district.
Late Monday night, Hamilton voted to override Perdue’s veto, an override that would have failed without her. She says she signed the letter to Perdue by mistake and decided the bill includes proper safeguards. Coincidence of all coincidences, this realization came to her just after the House Finance Committee added an extension of a tax credit for the film industry that would help her hometown of Wilmington.
The League of Conservation Voters wants their plaque back.
“Last night Captain America prevailed over clean drinking water and the property rights of North Carolinians,” said the League’s Dan Crawford. “We found out that even this Green Tie Award winner ‘has her price.’”
Hamilton, incidentally, didn’t limit her maneuvers to the fracking bill. After voting against the Republican budget, Hamilton was, not surprisingly, missing from the House chamber for the override vote.
It was an ignominious end to another misguided legislative session. While liberals are upset that the legislature overrode Perdue’s vetoes on fracking, the budget and the Racial Justice Act, we have said in this space neither the budget nor the RJA deserved vetoes.
That said, there were at least two aspects of the budget where Republican stubbornness trumped common sense. The legislature failed to provide even token compensation for victims of the state’s horrific eugenics program, despite basic morality and a bipartisan House majority calling for it. And legislators refused to end a loophole that allows a small business tax credit to go to far more people than originally intended. That means tens of millions of dollars that could have gone to education or other needs will instead be a windfall for wealthy lawyers and others who didn’t expect it.
Republican leaders failed the state on these two fronts.
Anderson Cooper’s news
CNN’s Anderson Cooper came out of the closet this week, revealing that he was gay, “always have been, always will be.”
To which we, and many others, say: Big whoop. Who cares?
That in itself says something about how America is evolving on sexual orientation. Maybe the collective yawn was a result of Cooper’s timing – during a holiday week when people aren’t paying attention.
More likely, it was a result of the country’s increasing recognition that a person’s character is what really matters.