Politics & Government

Mecklenburg losing more clout in Raleigh

Meck County loses more clout in Raleigh

Democratic Sen. Dan Clodfelter’s elevation to mayor of Charlotte cost Mecklenburg County one of its most seasoned lawmakers. A new survey shows just how much clout the county is poised to lose.

New effectiveness rankings by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research show that Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius tops the list in the House. Charlotte Republican Rep. Ruth Samuelson is ranked fifth.

Tillis is running for the U.S. Senate. Samuelson’s not running for re-election.

In the House, that leaves Matthews Republican Rep. Bill Brawley (No. 19) as Mecklenburg’s most effective lawmaker. In the Senate, Matthews Republican Bob Rucho tops the county’s delegation at five.

Republican Jeff Tarte of Cornelius ended his first year ranked 24th. Clodfelter was 22nd.

Jim Morrill

Celebrity ’stache

For years nobody paid much attention to Clodfelter’s mustache. Then he became mayor.

Now it’s achieved a celebrity status of its own. Not only is it grist for cartoonists (we’re talking about you, Kevin Siers), but it’s even got its own Twitter handle: “Clodfelter’s Stache” @MayorStache.

Says the Twitter: “That’s Mayor Stache to you Charlottean!” Jim Morrill

Pittenger and the missing plane

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger wants to put more pressure on foreign countries to check for stolen passports after it was discovered that two men boarded the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight using stolen passports.

It’s not known whether the men had anything to do with the disappearance of the Boeing 777 bound from Malaysia to China with 239 people on board.

But the Charlotte Republican, who chairs the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, says it reveals serious vulnerabilities for potential terrorism.

On Thursday, he introduced a bill to require the president to withhold foreign assistance to any country that doesn’t use Interpol’s stolen passport database.

Only a handful of countries actively use the database, including the U.S., France, United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.

Malaysia receives about $3 million in foreign aid from the U.S. government. Pittenger notes Indonesia receives $183 million in foreign aid but fails to use the system. India receives $91 million.

“We don’t want to be punitive,” Pittenger said. “We just want people to do the right thing.” Franco Ordonez

Missing class

Two freshmen Republicans, Sen. Jeff Tarte and Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer, got top grades in N.C. legislative attendance. You can’t say that about all of the Mecklenburg lawmakers.

The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research, the same outfit that measured effectiveness rankings, graded lawmakers on their 2013 attendance.

Tarte and Schaffer tied for first in their respective bodies. In the Senate, Democrat Joel Ford tied for 23rd, and Republican Bob Rucho tied for 33rd. Democrat Malcolm Graham was 42nd and Democrat Dan Clodfelter, 47th.

In the House, Republicans Charles Jeter and Thom Tillis tied for 22nd, Republican Bill Brawley for 36th, Democrat Kelly Alexander and Republican Rob Bryan for 45th. Democrats Beverly Earle tied for 75th, Carla Cunningham for 81st and Becky Carney for 99th.

Republican Ruth Samuelson tied for 101st and Democrat Rodney Moore for 108th. Democrat Tricia Cotham, who was pregnant and delivered last fall, was 119th. Jim Morrill

Bias in media?

Charlotte’s Paula Broadwell was in the audience Friday at the women’s summit at UNC Charlotte. During a panel discussion on “The Subleties of Bias,” she asked a question about sexism in the media, something she said she has experienced. Broadwell is the author of a biography of Army Gen. David Petraeus, the former CIA director.

When their affair became public in 2012, it was the subject of intense media scrutiny. Staff reports