Bless our heart, under authoritarian rule, loyalty is regarded as more important than competence....

No candidate should go unopposed, no vote uncast


Paula Dance, filing to run for Pitt County sheriff on Monday, is among four candidates seeking the seat so far.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Amid the uncertainty and tumult over the shape of North Carolina congressional and legislative districts, whether some elections might be canceled and even who will administer elections, it is rather remarkable that officials and politicians can figure out which offices are even going to be on the 2018 ballot.

But, maybe that’s just par for the course in this state as filing for most offices continues through Feb. 28.

Even considering all that, we shouldn’t let it further feed any cynicism or diminish the importance of the upcoming elections. Issues voters must consider are as important as any state they have faced: providing a quality education for all children; assuring adequate health care for those in need; demanding accountability in the spending of taxpayer dollars — particularly the current private school voucher system; expecting reasonable taxation of businesses; assuring the basic fairness of our elections and equitable representation through non-partisan redistricting.

The Republican power structure in the General Assembly has done nearly everything possible — though we’re sure there are even more schemes deep in their bag of tricks — to dissuade citizens from seeking public office or participating in elections.

Despite efforts to sideline voters, North Carolina elections aren’t spectator sports. The coming campaigns are no time to relinquish participation — in fact it is more urgent than ever to be involved and vote.

In the 2010 fall election for the 160 seats in the General Assembly, 47 seats were uncontested — 30 percent.

After state Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and other leaders imposed their gerrymandered, unconstitutional legislative redistricting, unopposed seats reached their apex in 2014 — with half the seats in the legislature going unopposed in the general election. It was slightly less in the fall of 2016 — 44 percent of the seats were uncontested.

The reason, of course, is that voter registration and turnout in these gerrymandered districts is so lopsided in favor of one political party over another, minority party candidates see little realistic opportunity for victory. Why waste critical campaign resources on a Sisyphean pursuit? Voters don’t see any reason to vote, since they have no choice.

No candidate should get a free ride into office. The political party organizations — statewide and local — should be committed to recruiting candidates for every office on the ballot. No candidate for Congress, the legislature or county commission should go unopposed.

There is one very important reason. Every candidate, particularly incumbents, should be forced to account for their actions and views. There is no better way than through election campaigns with persistent candidates who make their views known, contrast them with their opponents’ and force the opposing candidates to explain for themselves.

While some may want to keep interest in elections low to keep voters away from the polls, contested campaigns generate participation and increase turnout. That is a good thing.

It is one of the great strengths of American democracy and a virtue of regular and frequent elections.

When nearly half the state legislature arrives in office without any accountability to the voters, it inevitably leads to excesses and abuses of power – the kinds that have been clogging our courts for the last seven years.

In the United States, the most power is in the hands of each citizen through their vote. Don’t be relinquished to the sidelines. Don’t let others take your say away from you.

If you aren’t registered to vote, do it now. You can find all you need to know here.

Capitol Broadcasting Company of Raleigh


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


May 25, 2018

Hopping a ride on a band wagon doesn’t entitle anyone to lead the parade.

That isn’t stopping Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. He proclaims atop his Facebook Page: “North Carolina first in the nation to connect every classroom to high-speed broadband.”

He hosted a made-for-a-campaign-…


May 25, 2018

Hopping a ride on a band wagon doesn’t entitle anyone to lead the parade.

That isn’t stopping Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. He proclaims atop his Facebook Page: “North Carolina first in the nation to connect every classroom to high-speed broadband.”

He hosted a made-for-a-campaign-…


May 23, 2018

When President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran two weeks ago, he offered no alternative strategy for preventing the Islamic republic from obtaining atomic weapons or long-range missiles, other than a renewal of U.S. sanctions. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought…

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May 22, 2018

Americans might differ over the finer points of the Founding Fathers' plan to share war-making authority between the executive and legislative branches, but the basic principle has always been clear. Congress, and only Congress, has the power to declare war; the president and his military advisers…

US Afghanistan

May 21, 2018

To its credit, North Carolina was a national leader in saying no to the payday lending that takes advantage of people who struggle to get by from paycheck to paycheck.

Payday lending has been illegal here since the General Assembly passed a law banning such businesses in 2001.

So why would members…


May 20, 2018

With a single vote, North Carolina’s U.S. senators can help stop a trade war in its tracks, preserve American jobs and prevent government from taking an unseemly swipe at the watchdogs that hold it accountable.

Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis should add their names to the PRINT Act, a…

May 18, 2018

Elections are supposed to enable voters to improve their fortunes. Sadly, that is not the case with this weekend's vote in Venezuela. Regardless of the outcome, voters can expect no quick exit from their country's downward spiral.

Officials from the United Nations, the Organization of American…

Venezuela Nicolas Maduro

May 18, 2018

When he was running for office, President Trump was a fan, in theory, at least, of the regularized, semi-formal politician-reporter scrum known as the press conference.

He tweeted to his followers on June 6, 2016: “Crooked Hillary Clinton has not held a news conference in more than 7 months.…


May 17, 2018

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the Gaza Strip over the past decade, and though it may not look like the others, a fourth one is now underway.

Having tried and failed to defeat Israel with rockets and armed cross-border attacks, Hamas this spring deployed a new strategy: assembling…

Palestinians Israel-2

May 16, 2018

Though the average teacher salary in North Carolina continues to tick upward, trends over the last 15 years have left many educators less than satisfied with the state of public education. That’s why 15,000 or more of them, including hundreds from eastern North Carolina, are marching in…

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