It’s been a tough stretch for former Gov. Charles Aycock.
Four years ago, North Carolina Democrats took his name off their annual western retreat as Vance-Aycock Weekend became their Western Gala.
Last year, Duke University took his name off a residence hall. East Carolina did the same in February and UNC Greensboro is considering it.
Now some lawmakers want to take his statue out of the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. State Sens. Joel Ford, a Charlotte Democrat, and Dan Soucek, a Boone Republican, introduced Senate Bill 529, which would replace Aycock’s statue with one of evangelist Billy Graham.
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“He was a racist,” Ford said of Aycock. “I’m quite frankly honored to be able to sponsor a piece of legislation that would honor the Rev. Billy Graham.”
Aycock, North Carolina’s governor at the turn of the 20th century, was a leader of the state’s white supremacists. Jim Morrill
2016 primary still a moving target
North Carolina’s 2016 presidential primary could be moving – again.
A bill filed last week in the N.C. House would move the primary to March 8. Two years ago, lawmakers moved the traditional May primary to the first Tuesday after South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary, scheduled for February.
That threatened to run afoul of national party rules and cost North Carolina all but a dozen of its convention delegates. State GOP Chairman Claude Pope asked lawmakers to move the primary to March.
The bill that would move it to March 8 was introduced by Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican who chairs the Election Committee and is a close ally of Speaker Tim Moore of Kings Mountain.
Even if the House endorses the change, however, there’s no guarantee the Senate would.
But Sen. Bob Rucho, a Matthews Republican and Senate leader on election issues, said in February that GOP leaders plan to defend their primary schedule.
“Why should we be losing delegates? We didn’t cut in line,” he said, alluding to scheduled contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Jim Morrill
Historic graveyards for tax credit program
It was an impressive array of supporters who turned out last week to trumpet their support for reviving North Carolina’s historic tax credit program.
A bipartisan group of House members including Speaker Tim Moore and Minority Leader Larry Hall joined Susan Kluttz, Gov. Pat McCrory’s secretary of cultural resources, in touting the House-passed bill.
But the credits may not get across the atrium that separates the House and Senate.
As reported by The Insider, Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca said the House bill is “not anything the Senate is interested in.” He said senators are likely to favor a measure from Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews that would let local governments, not the state, absorb the cost of credits.
The House bill ended up in the Ways & Means Committee, which Apodaca chairs and which rarely meets.
“I would say that the Ways & Means Committee is a graveyard,” Apodaca told reporters. “I know it’s Easter, but I don’t know if anything will be resurrected.”
Responded GOP Rep. Stephen Ross of Alamance County, a primary sponsor of the House bill: “I think there are graveyards on both sides.” Jim Morrill
Life after death for Becky Carney
It was a very personal invocation offered at the start of Thursday’s House session by state Rep. Becky Carney.
In a season of resurrection and renewal, she intoned, “I would like to just say that I for one am grateful for life. Today marks my sixth anniversary of an event that took my life in this building.”
Six years ago, the Charlotte Democrat collapsed in her legislative office of cardiac arrest. A colleague, who happened to be a doctor, found her unconscious with no pulse. CPR and a defibrillator literally brought her back to life.
“I’m experiencing life after death,” Carney said last week.
Carney, who was born on Christmas Day, knows her own “resurrection” occurred a few days before Easter.
“Sovereign Lord, help us to respect your world and the gift that it is,” she said in her opening prayer. “Help us remember that your natural resources are indeed finite.” Jim Morrill
‘Liking’ the newest Jackson
Sen. Jeff Jackson’s new son already is following his father’s footsteps.
Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, welcomed a son, Owen, to the world last week. In his first year in office, the elder Jackson has become the state’s most adept legislator with social media.
A 2014 floor speech went viral, with nearly 280,000 views. Tweets and Facebook posts during a legislative snow day this year landed him on BuzzFeed and MSNBC.
Last week, he posted hospital photos of his wife, Marisa, and their new baby. One had nearly 1,800 “likes.” Jim Morrill