Loading...
BYH to the one who thinks that we are energy independent because of this president. The initiatives you speak of began...

Fitzsimon: There's finally a grownup in Raleigh

Loading…

Sunday, January 8, 2017

We are only a few days into the New Year but two starkly different political styles are already on display in Raleigh.

Newly elected Gov. Roy Cooper is beginning his term by methodically announcing his choices for cabinet posts after calling Republican legislative leaders to inform them of his decisions. And they are good ones.

Tuesday Cooper named Michael Regan to head the state Department of Environmental Quality. He was most recently with the Environmental Defense Fund and worked at the EPA in Democratic and Republican Administrations.

Cooper also named Jim Trogdon to head the state Department of Transportation. Trogdon is an engineer who is currently the national transportation director for SAS Institute. He worked at DOT for 25 years, rising to chief operating officer before retiring in 2013.

House Republicans immediately took to social media to blast the appointments as a return to the failed administration of Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue who left office in 2012.

But Regan never worked for Perdue. And Trogdon is not a politician and will be the most qualified DOT Secretary in recent memory with his experience in the department, the military and the private sector.

That doesn’t matter of course. Republican officials are criticizing the appointments because Cooper made them. Experience and qualifications have nothing to do with it.

Not too long ago political leaders would leave the attacks to interest groups and judge appointments and new administrations on their merits and actions. Not in Raleigh this year.

Cooper also announced this week that Charlie Perusse would be the new state budget director, a post he held under Gov. Perdue. That set off a round of protests by Republicans claiming that Perusse was somehow to blame for the state’s budget problems during the Great Recession.

Never mind that every state’s budget suffered mightily during the worst national economic downturn in 75 years or that the budget director is primarily numbers person, not a policy advocate.

The premature partisan attacks from Republican leaders haven’t been limited to Cooper’s appointees. Last week Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger released an almost 3,000 word diatribe absurdly blaming Cooper for the failure of the General Assembly to repeal HB2.

Berger ignores two important points: the Republican General Assembly alone passed HB2 and the Republicans have supermajorities in the House and Senate and can repeal it any time they want.

The disastrous HB2 is not Roy Cooper’s law. He’s repeatedly demanded that lawmakers repeal it but legislative leaders aren’t willing to confront their right-wing base so the state continues to suffer.

Berger seems almost obsessed with shifting blame to the new governor after leading the efforts to brazenly limit his power in an unprecedented special session just before Christmas.

Berger’s had some help. Outgoing Governor Pat McCrory signed the legislation taking powers away from Cooper even though McCrory had fought the legislature to protect the office of governor earlier in his administration.

McCrory, taking time away from attacking the news media and “left-wing groups” for his defeat, also appointed some of his top advisers to key policy boards just before the end of the year and his outgoing Secretary of Environmental Quality even demoted himself so he could stay in the department and be a thorn in Cooper’s side.

Cooper meanwhile is taking it all in stride, filing a lawsuit against the power grab by the General Assembly. Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the legislation from taking effect.

And Cooper’s making more appointments and putting his administration together calmly and rationally and keeping legislative leaders in the loop despite their bitter partisanship.

In other words, Cooper is acting like a governor and a grownup. How refreshing.

Chris Fitzsimon is founder and executive director of N.C. Policy Watch.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

Op Ed

December 16, 2018

Republicans are beginning to jump the not-so-good-ship Trump, but in a most unusual and indirect manner. Instead of joining the cacophony chorus of critics emanating from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigations, increasing numbers of Senate Republicans are discovering alternate ways…

douglascohn.jpg

December 16, 2018

The Washington Post

A federal judge sentenced Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, to three years in prison on Wednesday. His misdeeds include criminal violations of campaign finance law, to which Cohen connected the president. Specifically, Cohen, in league with the National…

December 16, 2018

Last month's elections are not quite over.

In two states that chose Democratic governors, Michigan and Wisconsin, Republican-controlled legislatures are trying to nullify the results by passing bills in lame-duck sessions that handcuff the incoming chief executives.

In North Carolina, there's…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

December 16, 2018

Good news for the incoming House Democratic majority! They have something President Trump really, really wants: money to build a border wall. Trump is desperate for this money. Mexico won't give it to him. Only congressional Democrats can. Without their consent, he can't deliver on one of the key…

MarcThiessen

December 15, 2018

Throughout Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency, he repeatedly promised to build a high, impenetrable, concrete wall along America's nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

And he further promised that it wouldn't cost American taxpayers one red cent, saying he would make Mexico pay for it.…

lambro2

December 15, 2018

The Los Angeles Times

President Trump’s announcement that he will nominate William Barr to serve as U.S. attorney general — a position Barr also held under President George H.W. Bush — eases concerns that he would seek to replace ousted Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions with a loyalist…

December 15, 2018

While many are fretting over the just-right Christmas present, tackling last-minute holiday details or preparing for years-end, many of North Carolina’s high school seniors have the added stress of preparing applications for college.

Unless you parent a high school student it is hard to…

Tom Campbell.jpg

December 14, 2018

Every time conventional Beltway wisdom congeals as quickly as it did on Tuesday — this time around, the certainty that President Donald Trump had blundered terribly in saying he would in effect "own" any government shutdown over border security funding — analysts ought to think back to…

HughHewitt

December 14, 2018

This just in: Black men are still being killed by police officers for no good reason.

But you knew that. Anyone who has remotely been paying attention should be aware that unjustified police killings of African-American men continue unabated. In far too many police departments, the unwritten rule…

Eugene Robinson

December 13, 2018

In the January 1953 edition of the magazine If: Worlds of Science Fiction, a fan of the genre from Texas, Marilyn Venable, made her debut as an author. “Time Enough at Last,” Venable’s story of a bookish man who survives a nuclear holocaust, made such an impression that Twilight…

john hood.jpg
325 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»