Issues and Achievements
- He was given the “Friend of the Counties” award by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners in 2013.
- Co-chair of the Senate State and Local Government Committee — providing him the unique ability to advance issues of vital importance to Western North Carolina.
- Sponsored and helped negotiate legislation that allowed the Eastern Band of Cherokee to produce more jobs and create a fund to appropriate gaming revenue to education (SB 582)
- Sponsored and championed legislation that helped protect 1,200 jobs for Evergreen Packaging (SB 3)
- Voted to increase education spending by over $1 billion since 2010, giving teachers an average 7% raise in the last budget alone, all while still balancing the budget.
Priorities Moving Forward
- Medicaid is the largest budgetary issue that remains in need of major reform. This program provides needed support to disabled and impoverished North Carolinians, but the way it has been administered has made many health providers wary of signing on, and has been the main cause of unpredictable overruns in the state budget. Before discussions move forward on expanding the program, as many are demanding, the present system must be brought under control through common-sense reform. We can no longer afford to go billions of dollars in debt to the Federal Government due to the chaotic nature of Medicaid billing and processing.
- Making North Carolina fiscally solvent has been a priority from day one for the Republican-led General Assembly. Work has been done to shore-up the unemployment system, state benefits, and other areas, but to keep a handle on excess spending in all areas of government and to eliminate debts to the Federal Government will remain a priority.
- Reforming our infrastructure funding and allocation will be a high-priority both in the near-term and for the foreseeable future. The way road-funding is collected through the gas tax has served us well, but with more efficient vehicles and less demand for gasoline in general, this funding mechanism needs to be revisited. North Carolina needs excellent infrastructure to continue attracting jobs and making life for North Carolinians function smoothly.