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May 1st, 2018

Good afternoon –

Please see below for our latest messaging guidance, which covers GOP court rigging, Small Buinessweek, the new NC education rankings, Matthew recovery, Republican attacks on rural NC, and Democratic enthusiasm.

If you have any questions or if you need further guidance, please email me at


I. GOP Court Rigging
II. Small Business Week

III. North Carolina Education Rankings
IV. Matthew Recovery
V. Republicans v. rural NC
VI. Democratic Enthusiasm





  • Last week, North Carolina Republicans resumed their efforts to rig our state's independent judiciary.
  • Their proposals included new ways to gerrymanderjudicial districts and new schemes to allow the legislature to cherry pick their own judges.
  • Republican lawmakers were met with bipartisan opposition for their efforts to subvert the independence of our courts and strip more authority away from Governor Cooper.
    • Republican Representative John Blust quested why a legislature "that's not competent to make this decision" would want to take on one more thing.
  • Since gaining a majority, legislative Republicans have seen more than a dozen unconstitutional laws overturned by the courts. Instead of obeying the Constitution, Republicans want to inject partisan politics into the courts and pick their own judges.
  • These are the same Republican legislators who rigged the legislature with unconstitutional racially gerrymandered maps – they shouldn’t be able to rig the courts as well.
  • These nakedly political attacks are meant to bully judges, chill their voices, and bend our judicial system to the partisan whims of the Republican legislature. And it’s all because Republican leaders keep pushing unconstitutional laws – and because they keep losing in court.
  • Given the choice between the people or the legislature selecting judges, we should go with the people every time.





  • It's Small Business Week in North Carolina, and North Carolina Democrats along with Governor Cooper are proud to celebrate the small businesses that are vital to our state's economy and communities.
  • Democrats believe we should be helping lift up small businesses that are the engine of our economy instead of giving more tax breaks to the biggest and wealthiest corporations.
  • We’re proud to support policies that expand resources and opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs while protecting and providing for the well-being of their employees.
    • Democrats will continue to stand up for American workers and fight for an economy where small businesses can thrive.
  • Democrats have sought to protect small businesses from the disastrous policies of this administration, which has consistently favored big corporations and the wealthiest Americans over small businesses and American workers.
    • The Trump tax’s “small-business tax cut”does not helpmost small businesses, and primarily helps wealthy developers and investors, including Trump and his family.
    • A majority of small business owners say the Trump taxfavors large corporationsover small businesses.
    • Most small business owners say theydon’t plan to hiremore workers or give raises as a result of the Trump tax.
    • Trump’s budgetproposals have called for millions of dollars of cuts to the Small Business Administration.
      • Trump’s FY 18 budget proposedcutting $43.2 millionfrom the Small Business Administration, including$12 millionworth of technical assistance grants and other programs that help small businesses.
      • His latest budget proposal again sought a cut of nearly6 percent.





  • This week, a new reportrevealed how, since 2010, Republicans in Raleigh have eroded North Carolina's public education system.
  • According to a report from the National Education Association:
    • North Carolinaranks 37th in the nationfor average teacher pay,dropping 16 spots since 2001-02.
    • NC pays our teachers nearly$10,000 less than the national average($50,861 vs. $60,483); adjusting for inflation, NC’s average teacher salarydropped more than 13 percentsince 2000.
    • NC is ranked39th in the nation in per-pupil spendingthis year.
    • NC spends$2,400 less per-pupil than the U.S. average($9,528 vs. $11,934).
  • The erosion of our public education system and our middle class is the direct result of Republican priorities that value privatization and tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest few.
  • The Republicanslash and burn approach to our state and local government is hurting our teachers, our workers, and our future generations.
    • Teaching positions, like all public-sector jobs across state and local governments, have been slashed by Republican budgets since 2010.
  • North Carolina Democrats believe investing in a strong public education system is the key to providing equal opportunities for our children and building a strong workforce for our future.





  • In 2016, Hurricane Matthew pummeled eastern North Carolina causing an estimated $4.8 billion in damages. North Carolina has spent millions of federal dollars since Hurricane Matthew hit.
    • FEMA funding after Matthew totals $565 million to date. Of that total, nearly $390 million (~68%) is spent and $174 million obligated.
    • North Carolina has approved over 2,700 SBA (Small Business Administration) home and business loans for over $100 million. It has distributed nearly $99 million in IA (Individual Assistance) to families in need, and nearly $250 million in FEMA funding is obligated to infrastructure repair projects like bridges and water lines.
    • In the last year, we’ve gone from 3,000 families living in hotels to none.
  • In addition to FEMA funds, North Carolina has been awarded recovery money through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
    • Separate from the FEMA money, North Carolina has also been awarded CDBG- DR (Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery) funds.
    • Funds are available to help low- and moderate-income families and individuals with Hurricane Matthew housing recovery.
    • North Carolina is on track to send the first reimbursements to homeowners next month, and on track to begin home repairs in June.
  • Even with a robust state response, help can never come fast enough for families in need.
    • North Carolina has an approved action plan and is working through HUD’s required process to meet development guidelines.
    • In November, the state opened Application Centers in eastern North Carolina where survivors can apply for CDBG-DR funds. The state is required to screen applications to make sure paperwork is complete, claims aren’t duplicated and the work is appropriate for the environment and the community.
    • The legislature directed the state Division of Emergency Management to operate the program in December of 2016, after moving CDBG housing recovery out of Commerce, which had historically handled these block grants. Emergency Management has had to build its infrastructure from the ground up to distribute HUD funds.
  • North Carolina is working ahead of schedule on a key federal program to buy out and move people’s houses. That program is known as the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
    • HMGP projects repair communities by elevating homes to put them out of reach from flood waters; repair or reconstruct homes back to code, or buy out homeowners who choose not to rebuild. These represent some of the most damaged properties in the state.
    • North Carolina beat the standard timeline for submission of HMGP projects to FEMA by 6-8 months. NC is waiting on FEMA to complete its review and release the funds. The first release of funding packages should occur in May and June.
  • Some families are still in transition, and we are focused on helping them get permanent housing.
    • Hurricane Matthew inundated eastern North Carolina and left many families without housing.
    • Around 37 families remain in FEMA mobile home units. State officials expect most of the families will be in permanent homes by the end of April, though about a dozen families will likely need additional help. The state will ensure that these families will not be moved out of the mobile homes until they are able to secure permanent housing.
  • Hurricane Matthew exposed a serious a lack of affordable housing in eastern North Carolina, a problem that has existed for a long time.
    • NCEM is working with local communities and counties to increase affordable housing in areas hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew. One of the toughest challenges to recovering from Hurricane Matthew has been the lack of affordable housing stock in many eastern North Carolina communities.





  • President Trump and DC Republicans have launched a disastrous trade war with China that will have devastatingeffects on our state's farmers, especially those that produce corn, soybeans, pork, and tobacco.
  • Trump previously said that “trade wars are goodand easy to win,” but now China has announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. farmers and goods in retaliation for Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs. If China escalates the trade war, North Carolina farmers will be hit even harder.
  • Farmers in Eastern North Carolina are frightened by this proposal. They depend on predictability from their government and instead, they're getting chaos.
  • Now, the House GOP is proposing to cut more than $20 billion from SNAP, in a move that will worsen hunger and poverty in our state and unduly hurt rural communities.
  • Cutting SNAP will hurt ourmost vulnerable citizens.
    • One in sevenNorth Carolina residents (1,365,000 people) turned to SNAP last year when they hit hard times or were struggling with low wages – and more than two-thirdsare parents or in households with children.
    • Three-quarters of countieswith the highest rates of food insecurity are in rural areas.
    • SNAP is one of the most important anti-poverty programs in NC. Between 2009 and 2012, the programkept338,000 North Caroliniansout of poverty every year, including 150,000 children.
    • From 2014-2016,56,000 North Carolina veteransrelied on SNAP to make ends meetand to make sure they can afford healthy food and survive food shocks.
    • SNAP supports and encourages work, by making sure that North Carolinians can cover their families’ medical and food bills while they search for employment or higher-paying jobs.Studies have shownthat cuts to SNAP make it harder for these families to find good-paying jobs – and many become even poorer.
  • SNAP also supports local farmers and retailers by boosting demandfor their products.
    • Families who rely on SNAP shop in local grocery stores and local retailers,drivingtens of billions of dollars in economy activity each year. More than9,700 NC retailerscould take a hit if families have a harder time accessing SNAP.
  • North Carolina Democrats are speaking out and standing up for our farmers and rural communities.
  • Republicans must stand up to their own party and stop these disastrous policies.





  • NC Democrats made history by putting a Democrat on the ballot in every single NC House and Senate district.
    • Our goal from the beginning was to recruit a candidate in every district to build a strong statewide party.
    • Thanks to a diverse slate of quality candidates every North Carolina voter – for the first time ever – will have a choice in this year’s election.
  • This unprecedented result shows the strength of the NC Democratic Party and the growing enthusiasm among Democratic voters and candidates.
  • This is the first time all 170 districts have had a Democratic candidate in recent memory.
    • In 2016, a presidential year, Democratshad candidates in 92 House districts and 38 Senate districts.
    • In 2014, the most recent midterm, Democrats had candidates in 87 House districts and 38 Senate districts.
    • In 2010, the previous midterm, Democrats had candidates in 91 House districts and 39 Senate districts.
  • This is one of the most diverse fields of candidates ever assembled by either party.
    • Among the full slate, 77 are female (59 in the House, 18 in the Senate) and 71 are people of color (49 in the House, 22 in the Senate).
    • Additionally, there are six LGBT candidates running in the House
  • This historic announcement comes after the party announced it is in the best position ever heading into a midterm election, starting 2018 with a record $2.4 million cash on hand.
  • Democrats across North Carolina are engaged, energized, and ready to break the supermajority and return common sense to North Carolina.
  • Democrats will also be on the ballot in 12 of the 13 Congressional races, have a top-tier Supreme Court candidate in Anita Earls, and are contesting county commission and sheriff races across the state.



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