The Constitution secures your freedoms as an American.

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The course is delivered via email, with one lesson per week for 10 weeks. Each lesson features lively teaching and discussion boards, suggested readings, weekly quizzes, and more.

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Trump-Pence – Week 25: No Higher Priority

Make America Great Again

In this time of widening challenges and unforeseeable threats, President Trump challenged all who cherish freedom to work together to confront the forces that threaten to undermine our values, erase the bonds of culture, faith, and the tradition that make us who we are.

President Donald Trump declared to all of the world and all who would threaten our way of life, “the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph.”

President Donald Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people.

Learn more about the President’s week below.

America’s Strong Ties With The French

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited France this week. They visited the U.S. Embassy for a meet and greet with staff and participated in the Bastille Day festivities. President Trump also made time to recognize three American Veterans of D-Day who took back the beaches and towns of Normandy 73 years ago. President Trump is the first United States President to participate in the ceremonies since 1989. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the entry of American troops onto French soil during World War I, the people of France have designated the United States as this year’s national guest of honor.

Make America Great Again

Making America Safe Again

President Trump is focused on ending the horrific practice of human trafficking, and the House of Representatives passed three bills this week that are important steps forward. Since taking office, President Trump and his administration have met with courageous survivors, non-profit groups, and faith leaders who are devoting tremendous energy to raising awareness about human trafficking. He is hopeful that the Senate will take up and pass these three bills as soon as possible and looks forward to continuing work with Congress on this important issue.

Make America Great Again

Ending The Long Nightmare Of ISIS Rule

With the support of President Trump, Iraqi Security Forces supported by the United States and the Global Coalition, liberated the city of Mosul from its long nightmare under the rule of ISIS. President Trump congratulates Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Security Forces, and all Iraqis for their victory over terrorists who are the enemies of all civilized people. We mourn the thousands of Iraqis brutally killed by ISIS and the millions of Iraqis who suffered at the hands of ISIS. We grieve with the Iraqi people for the loss of the heroic soldiers and Peshmerga who gave their lives to restore life to their country, and we honor their sacrifice.

Make America Great Again

Putting America First

Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, since the start of this year, American businesses have created more than 800,000 good-paying jobs across the United States. Companies large and small are making extraordinary investments all across America resulting in billions of dollars earned and thousands of new jobs — we have not seen small business confidence soar this high in more than a decade. Every day, President Trump is putting America first.

Make America Great Again

Thank you for your continued support, to watch a message directly from the President you can click here or the image below.

Make America Great Again

Republican’s Meet & Greet, Thursday July 20th at 2 Guy’s Pizza Hendersonville 5-7 PM

Hendersonville County Republican’s will host a Meet and Greet, Thursday, July 20th at the 2 Guys Pizza at their new location at1307 7th Ave E, Hendersonville. The events is open to ALL Republicans and are encouraged to bring friends, neighbors, co worker and others to a casual, after hours gathering.

This is a great opportunity to meet other Republican’s in a casual setting, learning how to become more involved in the Party, and other opportunities.

Previous Meet and Greets have been held at Southern Appalachian Brewery and Bold Rock Cider. The Meet and Greets are held roughly every four to six weeks and

Offer an opportunity for those who are unable to make regularly scheduled events to attend, become informed and involved in Republican Party activities at the local, state and national level.

Spread the word, bring your friends, neighbors and co workers for a casual get together on Thursday, July 20th at 2 Guys Pizza from 5-7 PM, and check out their new location 1307 7th Ave E, Hendersonville.

Plenty of FREE Parking

For more information call 828 329 4971 or e mail

Henderson County Sheriff Charlie McDonald guest speaker this Saturday 7/15

Join us this Saturday (7/15) at the Dixie Diner, 1724 Brevard Rd, Hendersonville, NC. Join us this Saturday at the Dixie Diner starting at 7:30 AM and ending at 9:00 AM for an informal meeting with Henderson Co, Sheriff Charlie McDonald. The Sheriff is our guest speaker this month and he will speak on a variety of subjects regarding the County.

Bring your friends, neighbors, co-workers and others to our Monthly Breakfast. Stay informed, learn how to become involved, upcoming dates of events and more.

The Monthly Breakfasts are open to All Republicans and are a great way to meet fellow Republicans. The Dixie Diner features a Breakfast Buffet or you may order from the Menu.

The Republican Breakfast is held the Third Saturday of each month from January through November. All Republicans, elected officials and candidates for office are encouraged to attend.

For more information call 828 329 4971 or e mail starting at 7:30 AM and ending at 9:00 AM for an informal meeting with Henderson Co, Sheriff Charlie McDonald. The Sheriff is our guest speaker this month and he will speak on a variety of subjects regarding the County.

Bring your friends, neighbors, co-workers and others to our Monthly Breakfast. Stay informed, learn how to become involved, upcoming dates of events and more.

The Monthly Breakfasts are open to All Republicans and are a great way to meet fellow Republicans. The Dixie Diner features a Breakfast Buffet or you may order from the Menu.

The Republican Breakfast is held the Third Saturday of each month from January through November. All Republicans, elected officials and candidates for office are encouraged to attend.

For more information call 828 329 4971 or e mail

With elections board vacant, Cooper wants NC Supreme Court to block board designed by GOP

News and Observer – North Carolina’s election oversight board has been vacant for more than a month, but the N.C. Supreme Court is poised to decide if Gov. Roy Cooper must make appointments to the new board designed by Republicans.

Cooper last week asked the Supreme Court to block the law creating the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, which would be split equally among Republicans and Democrats – a change from the previous elections board, which was controlled by the governor’s party.

[NC has no elections board until Cooper makes appointments – but he’s suing]

Click here to read more.

The Birth of Independence Day

The Independence Day a.k.a. Fourth of July or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
History Vault Promo

The Birth of Independence Day

When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical.

By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776.

On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.

Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee—including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York—to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.
Did You Know?

John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.
Early Fourth of July Celebrations

In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty.

Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.

George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties—Federalists and Democratic-Republicans—that had arisen began holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in many large cities.
Fourth of July Becomes a National Holiday

The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States. – source: History.Com

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Free markets have been the driving force behind America’s economic growth and prosperity over the last two centuries. However, the economic principles that underlie free markets are not broadly understood.

And because free markets and the entrepreneurial spirit require freedom to flourish, Hillsdale seeks to teach you—and all Americans—about these fundamental principles.

This ten-lecture course is delivered by economics professor Gary Wolfram, with an introduction and concluding lecture by Hillsdale President Larry P. Arnn. This course covers the most important economic topics you need to know, including how markets work, the role of profit, restoring economic liberty, and more. Activate your free Economics 101 course now! Click here to activate your free Economics 101 course now.

I get very upset when I hear some say “Happy 4th of July.”

I get very upset when I hear some say “Happy 4th of July.” Why should I get upset? Because what we are celebrating on the 4th of July is INDEPENDENCE DAY, not the 4th of July. What you should be saying is Happy Independence Day. Happy 4th of July is akin to saying Seasons Greetings instead of Merry Christmas. If you say Happy 4th of July, you are telling the world that you do not know anything about our nation’s history. We do not celebrate the date (July 4, 1776), we celebrate the event that took place on July 4th, 1776. Nothing in the history of the world , other than the birth of Christ has ever made as much of an impact on the world as our DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. If you’ve never read, go read it and if you have read it, go read it again. Make copies of it and hand them out on Independence Day. – Bill Lack, Buncombe Co. Korean War Vet.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Its time for action again! Call them and tell them NO! to a Article V convention an extremely STUPID idea.

As you know, yesterday the North Carolina House voted against the COS application for an Article V convention. We won by 6 votes.

But a few hours later, COS and the treacherous Republican leadership got the members to vote to “reconsider” their vote against SJR 36. So they brought SJR 36 back to life and sent it to a House Committee. There it will wait until COS and Republican leadership twist enough arms and pressure more House Republicans to vote for it.

[Below I use “left” to describe those who want big government; and “right” to describe those who want small government.]

It has always been the Big Money on the Left which wants an Article V convention so they can get rid of the Constitution we have and impose a new one. Some 50+ years ago, the Left came up with the proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America. Under this proposed Constitution, the States are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government. It sets up a totalitarian dictatorship under which (among other things) we will be disarmed. It is ratified by a national referendum.

It has always been the Right which resisted the periodic pushes for an Article V convention. The Right understands that delegates to an Art. V convention have plenipotentiary powers and can exercise [once again] that “self-evident right” recognized in the 2nd para of our Declaration of Independence, to throw off the Constitution we have and set up a new one which creates a new government.

So the Left changed clothes and changed tactics. Now, they are pretending to be “Right” and they are marketing the con to Republicans. Our State Legislators are, for the most part, jaw-droppingly ignorant of our two Founding Documents. And too many Republican Legislators believe whatever the fake “Right” con-con lobby tells them.

Much confusion has been caused by the Left’s claim that those supporting the con-con are “Libertarian”, “right-wing”, “ultra-conservative”. We know that the Koch Brothers on the fake “Right”, among others, are spending vast sums of money to buy Republican politicians to get them to support an Article V convention. see, e.g.,

Many Republican Legislators, who don’t understand our Founding Principles and Founding Documents, go by the labels which others assign. And since they are told that an Article V convention is the “conservative” position, they go along with it.

So Republican State Legislators who have been bought and paid for, or who go along with their Leadership, are the ones today who are doing the work of the Left by passing applications for an Article V convention. Most of them have no idea of the dangers. In some States (e.g.,Texas, North Carolina), the Republican leadership prohibits their members from hearing voices in opposition at Committee meetings. SJR 36 passed the North Carolina Senate with no public notice of the Committee hearing. Only former US Senator and COS operative Tom Coburn was given advance notice so he was able to attend and speak in support of SJR 36. But those of us on the genuine Right got no advance notice and our voices were not heard at that Senate Committee meeting.

At the hearing on June 28 before the North Carolina House Judiciary Committee IV, the sponsors of SJR 36 were given all the time they wanted to speak for SJR 36; but our Friend, Wynne Coleman, was only allowed one (1) minutes to speak in opposition. One Legislator who opposed was also given only one (1) minute. And that was it for the opposition at this public hearing.

I suggest that the reason the bought and paid for State Republican Legislators prohibit voices in opposition from being heard is that they know that when Legislators are given the TRUTH, they generally oppose an Article V convention.

So We are in imminent peril of losing our Constitution. It seems that what the Fake “Right” now wants is to move us into the North American Union (NAU). Under the NAU, Canada, the United States, and Mexico basically merge, and a Parliament is set up over them. The borders between the 3 countries are to be effectively erased. I have read the Task Force Report on the NAU sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. The globalists (George W. Bush, the Cruzes, etc.) need a new Constitution for the United States which transforms us from a sovereign nation to a member state of the NAU. How do they get a new Constitution? At an Article V convention. How do they get an Article V convention? By lying to the American People and to State Legislators, and by preventing voices in opposition from being heard.

I suggest we better make defeating an Article V convention a primary focus of our lives.

Please get with your State Legislators and educate them. Warn those in your spheres of influence. We must get States to rescind their existing applications for an Article V convention. This past legislative session, 3 States (Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada) rescinded their outstanding applications for an Article V convention! But that took lots of work by many people.

If you want to know what America will look like once the Parliament for the NAU takes control of immigration, look at Europe. And pray that you aren’t disarmed under the new Constitution.

Fight this evil.


SBOE Moves to Restrict Observer Access to Polls

June 26, 2017 (Raleigh) — While Representatives Speciale, Boswell, Clampitt and Cleveland sponsored HB 697, a law that would grant specified rights to election observers, the State Board of Elections is quietly moving in the other direction, by pushing administrative code to make it easier for precinct Judges to throw observers out of the polls. Concerned citizens have until July 31 to render public comment. After that, the code enjoys the full force of the law, which will be hard to overturn. At the end of this post shows, we show you how to unscrew this mess.

We asked the SBOE’s official spokesperson, Patrick Gannon, about the changes, and he released this statement: “We’ve had many questions from our counties and recognized the need for rules so the law is applied consistently across the state.” We sympathize with the need for standardized rules, but would forcefully disagree with the details of the regressive rules being put forth.

Without election observers, this is how the public will be able to know if their elections are honest.


The SBOE buried their proposed observer restrictions on pages 14 & 15 of this public notice on a long list of election-related administrative changes to a variety of procedures, but the observer provisions concern us the most. The fact is that nothing changed from how observers could operate before the 2010 election, when the former SBOE Director, Gary Bartlett, distributed a new rule by executive memo, allowing an admirable set of rights for observers. Among them was a rule allowing observers to step outside the poling enclosure and make phone calls or text messages and then re-enter without being punished. Mr. Bartlett began the memo, “Due to continuing advances in technology, it is necessary to address possible statutory violations due to the use of advanced electronic devices.” He said it applied to chief judges and election observers. Under the proposed rules change, an observer who steps out for any reason is never allowed to return. This is draconian.

Click here to read more.

What Dropping Unemployment Doesn’t Tell Us

FEE – At next week’s FOMC meeting, the state of the labor market will play a key role in policy deliberations. But there’s a lot more going on underneath top line unemployment numbers that make them a bad tool for monetary policy decision-making.

Deep recessions are normally followed by a stronger than average recovery, not a weak one.

The May employment report is a conundrum. Employment growth and the unemployment rate sent opposing signals about labor market conditions – much like they have been doing throughout the recovery. The economy added 138,000 jobs last month, with the three-month average only at 121,000 jobs, suggesting labor market weakness.

By contrast, the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent – the lowest reading in 16 years. Additionally, job openings are near an all-time high. And voluntary quit rates are up. These data all suggest tight labor market conditions.

We Should Be Rebounding Faster Click here to read more.

Welfare Reform: Work Requirements for Food Stamps

Background: First created in the late 1930s as the Food Stamp Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal aid program that provides food-purchasing assistance for low-income families and individuals. SNAP is the second largest mean-tested welfare program in the U.S., providing more than 45 million individuals with food-assistance at a cost of $83.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2014 alone.

Problem: Welfare programs, including food stamps, should be temporary, limited in size and scope, and assist those truly in need. But over the past two decades the program has grown out-of-control, both in cost and in the number of individuals receiving benefits. The number of food stamp recipients has increased from around 17 million in 2000 to more than 45 million in 2015, all while costs have risen from $20.7 billion to more than $83 billion during that same time frame.

The goal of any welfare program should be to increase self-sufficiency by helping individuals find a job, provide for their family, and escape the cycle of poverty. As President Ronald Reagan so elegantly put it:

“Welfare needs a purpose: to provide for the needy, of course, but more than that, to salvage these, our fellow citizens, to make them self-sustaining and, as quickly as possible, independent of welfare. We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”

If we accept how President Reagan defines welfare success, the food stamp program has clearly failed. Perhaps most concerning is the number of able-bodied Americans without children who are now hooked on the program. Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation, and Rachel Sheffield highlight this concern in their 2016 paper Setting Priorities for Welfare Reform:

“In recent years, the most rapidly growing group of food stamp recipients has been able-bodied adults without dependents. ABAWDs are adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who are not disabled and who have no children to support. In 2014, nearly five million ABAWDs received food stamps each month; few are employed. ABAWDs who receive food stamps should be required to work, prepare for work, or look for work in exchange for receiving benefits.”

Solution: In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which became popularly known as “welfare reform,” into law. The legislation transformed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) into Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a program intended to provide temporary financial assistance to low-income families while encouraging work and self-sufficiency.

Most significantly, the 1996 welfare reform included mandatory federal work requirements, stipulating that welfare recipients must be engaged in work or some type of work activity in order to receive TANF benefits. These reforms were popular and successful as welfare caseloads dropped “by over 50 percent, employment of the least-skilled single mothers surged, and the poverty rates of black children and single-parent families dropped rapidly to historic lows.”

Legislative Solution: Congress should build on the success of the 1996 welfare reform by applying similar principles involving work requirements to SNAP. At a minimum, Congress should enact work requirements for ABAWDs as a condition to receive food stamp benefits. Rep. Garret Graves’ (R-LA) recently introduced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996) that would do just that.

This legislation would help reduce poverty and government dependency, increase self-sufficiency, and restore families by strengthening the effective and popular work requirements. An overwhelming 90 percent of Americans agree that able-bodied adults receiving means-tested welfare assistance should be required to work or prepare for work. This reform was included in both President Trump’s FY2018 budget request as well as the House GOP’s FY2017 budget, and it has been implemented in Maine, Kansas, and Alabama with great success.

Call to Action: Heritage Action has endorsed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 and urges Sentinels to contact their members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. If passed and signed into law, this legislation would encourage millions of Americans to get back to work, help end the cycle of poverty for individuals dependent on government assistance, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

Trump-Pence Week 22: Cynics & Critics

Make America Great Again

If we set aside the cynics and the critics we have an incredible opportunity to do extraordinary things for our country in the years ahead. History is written by the dreamers, not the doubters.

President Trump is embracing a new spirit of innovation that will make life better for all Americans.

We have made amazing progress in Making America Great Again and we’re just getting started.

Read about the President’s week below

Bound Together By Common Values

Supporters gathered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this week to hear from President Trump. Everyone in that arena was bound together by common values we all have: we love our country, obey its laws, honor its traditions, and care for our families and communities. All we want in return is a government that shows us the same respect and loyalty. Our country is getting stronger and President Trump promises to keep Making America Great Again with your help at record setting speed.

Make America Great Again

Making American Agriculture Great Again

American farmers and ranchers are the best at what they do. Given a level playing field, they can compete anywhere. Unfortunately, up until now, our farmers and ranchers have been let down and left behind because of our terrible trade deals. President Trump is cracking down on foreign trading abuses, making it easier to produce and grow in America. He is also supporting this effort by eliminating job-killing regulations, and training our great American workers. President Trump visited Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, to demonstrate how important it is to support schools like Kirkwood, that help train young Americans in cutting-edge technologies that will make American agriculture greater and more productive than ever before.

Make America Great Again

Fighting For Manufacturers

American manufacturers are the beating heart of our national life and always will be. Manufacturers make America and they make America great. Vice President Pence met with the National Association of Manufacturers and made it clear that they have the White House’s unwavering support. Thanks to the President’s leadership, American manufacturing is roaring once again. More than 12 million Americans work at manufacturers in all 50 states. The overwhelming majority of manufacturers are small businesses, and they contribute more than $2 trillion to our economy. Since day one of this administration, President Donald Trump has been fighting for manufacturers and the men and women who work on your factory floors, and he’ll keep fighting every day to lead an American manufacturing renaissance.

Make America Great Again

Deepest Condolences To The Warmbier Family

President Trump and the First Lady offer their deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing. There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto’s family and friends, and all who loved him. Otto’s fate deepens President Trump’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency. The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.

Make America Great Again

Sweeping Transformation In Government Technology

President Trump was joined by an incredible group of leaders who are on the cutting edge of innovation, including many CEOs from the world’s most successful businesses. His goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens and stronger protection from cyberattacks. The President is embracing big change, bold thinking, and outsider perspectives to transform government and make it the way it should be, and at far less cost.

Make America Great Again

President Trump can’t thank his supporters enough for working with him to make our country stronger.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, but with President Donald Trump in the White House, we will make America prosperous again, we will make America safe again, and we will Make America Great Again.

Thank you for your continued support,

Team Trump-Pence

Sen. Chad Barefoot Newsletter

Below is a high level summary and an in-depth look at the state budget for the upcoming biennium which was approved by the General Assembly this week. The section highlights are broken down by appropriation area, i.e. Education, Health and Human Services, Taxes and Economic Development, Agriculture, etc. The purpose of this special newsletter is to give you a breakdown of the major budget changes that our state will use to operate for the next two years.

I always appreciate your feedback, so feel free to reply.

—Sen. Chad Barefoot

A bipartisan General Assembly passed a roughly $23 billion state budget this week that will help dramatically increase teacher pay and improve public education outcomes, rebuild communities devastated by Hurricane Matthew and provide major tax relief to strengthen the middle class and North Carolina’s economy.

Under Republican legislative leadership, the state has seen hundreds of millions of dollars in budget surpluses – and billions in savings reserves – through tax relief and balanced budgeting that helped spur economic growth. Under previous leadership, North Carolina faced teacher pay cuts and furloughs, as well as historic budget deficits, despite Democrats raising sales tax rates in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

The 2017 compromise budget increases spending by three percent over last year’s budget and focuses that increase in key areas, like providing nearly $700 million more for public education

As a co-chairman of the Senate Education Appropriations Committee, I worked with Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln) and Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), as well as the co-chairs of the House Education Appropriations Committee, to craft a budget that brings the state’s total public education budget to $13.53 billion, including over $9 billion for K-12.

Senate Budget Highlights

In Education –

· Keeps the plan to dramatically increase average teacher pay from last year’s budget, investing more than $100 million in the first year alone. This is in addition to the substantial teacher pay raises legislators passed in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

· Includes a new plan to let highly-qualified new teachers begin at a higher pay grade on the salary schedule, providing financial incentive to those who accept positions in low-performing schools, are licensed in special education or STEM classes, or meet other criteria.

· Provides $35 million to substantially increase principal and assistant principal pay, including funds for performance bonuses for principals.

· Includes $10 million in additional compensation for community college employees.

· Provides a bonus for teachers with 25 or more years of experience in each year of the biennium.

· Includes roughly $25 million to expand a performance-based bonus program to top-performing 4th and 5th grade reading teachers and 4th-8th grade math teachers, based on EVAAS growth scores.

· Allocates $10 million over two years for a bonus program for veteran teachers with more than 25 years of experience.

· Fully funds K-12, community college and public university enrollment growth.

· Allocates funds for grants to economically struggling, rural counties to assist with critical public school building needs.

· Invests an additional $11 million in textbooks and digital resources and increases funding for children with disabilities.

· Restores funding for the Governor’s School.

· Restores funding to Eastern North Carolina STEM.

· Expands the teacher assistant tuition reimbursement program to 14 additional counties, which provides tuition reimbursement for up to 5 TAs per district to pursue a college degree leading to teacher licensure.

· Supports the new N.C. Teaching Fellows Program through the N.C. Education Endowment Fund.

· Reimburses graduates of a North Carolina educator preparation program for the administrative cost of obtaining a teaching license. The current fee is $70.

· Establishes the Future Teachers of North Carolina program to encourage high school students to consider teaching as a career.

· Expands the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program to include more beginning teachers.

· Protects the Read to Achieve, Teach for America, and Communities in Schools programs from being cut by the Department of Public Instruction to fund bureaucracy.

· Provides additional assistance to community colleges for workforce training programs.

· Provides for the transfer of the ApprenticeshipNC program from the Department of Commerce to the NC Community College System and increases funding for the program.

· Honors the commitment to fully fund the N.C. Promise Program, which guarantees in-state undergraduate students at three schools across the state pay just $500 per semester for tuition.

· Includes over $18 million in new funding for medical education, including funding increases to the UNC School of Medicine and to the school’s Asheville campus.

· Provides additional stabilization funds to Elizabeth City State University to help get the school on solid financial ground.

· Directs $1.5 million to the Cheatham-White Scholarship Program, which will provide state matching funds for up to 20 scholarships at both North Carolina

· Provides funds to support already-established doctoral programs at NC A&T University. These funds will support new faculty and graduate student services for the doctoral programs, including computer science, various engineering fields, energy and environmental systems, education, and rehabilitation counseling.

· Allows senior citizens to audit courses at the University of North Carolina or North Carolina Community Colleges for free, provided that they have permission from the instructor and there is space available in the course.

· Establishes the Personal Education Savings Account (ESA) Program for children with disabilities. Eligible students will receive up to$9,000 for use by the student’s parents on expenses such as: tuition and fees at a nonpublic school; textbooks; tutoring; fees for exams; educational therapies; educational technology and transportation. Eligible students with certain severe disabilities may combine an ESA award with the existing Children with Disabilities Scholarship.

In Salaries and Benefits –

· Provides a $1,000 salary increase to state employees.

· Offers experienced-based step increases to teachers, State Highway Patrol troopers, clerks and magistrates.

· Provides $10 million in the biennium toward hard-to-hire positions across state government, such as health care technicians and nurses.

In Health and Human Services –

· Provides more than $27 million over two years to add 3,525 new pre-K slots – eliminating 75% of the waitlist for at-risk children.

· Upgrades the Controlled Substance Reporting System that will use advanced analytics to detect and fight prescription drug abuse.

· Allocates $15 million over two years to community health centers, rural health centers, free clinics and other health services providers in rural and underserved areas that assist the uninsured.

· Invests $18 million to improve North Carolina’s child welfare program, including new training and prevention programs, and nearly $4 million to improve accountability and oversight of the system.

· Earmarks close to $3 million to provide support for additional foster children in the system.

· Continues preparing for the transition to Medicaid reform by allocating $75 million over two years to grow the Medicaid Transformation Reserve.

· Includes more than $12 million for 400 new innovation waiver slots for people with intellectual and other related developmental disabilities that are at risk for institutional care.

· Designates $10 million for opioid and substance abuse treatment statewide.

· Allocates $19 million from the sale of the Dorothea Dix property to fund behavioral health beds.

In Justice and Public Safety –

· Strengthens laws against human trafficking and funds signage to increase awareness of the warning signs of trafficking.

· Funds needed additional positions in the state court system, including new deputy clerks of court and assistant district attorneys.

· Provides more than $4 million for law enforcement training for North Carolina officers.

In Taxes and Economic Development –

· Reduces the tax burden on North Carolina families and small businesses by cutting the personal income tax rate from 5.499 to 5.25 percent in 2019, and by increasing the amount of income that is exempt from state income tax.

· Lowers the corporate income tax rate from 3 percent to 2.5 percent in 2019, continuing the business tax reforms that have helped create more than half a million new jobs since Republicans took control of the state legislature in 2011.

· Simplifies and reduces the franchise tax on small businesses by cutting what is effectively a statewide property tax on small businesses and creating a flat $200 tax on the first $1 million of a business’s net worth.

· Provides over $4 million to support tourism advertising as well as domestic and international advertising to promote economic development.

· Allocates close to $4 million for revitalization grants in towns and cities across the state.

In Agriculture and the Environment –

· Increases funding for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, the Tobacco Trust Fund and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund.

· Expands support for the aquaculture industry and provides additional funding for dredging to ensure valuable economic activity at the North Carolina coast can continue.

· Allocates over $750,000 to expand international marketing of North Carolina agricultural products.

· Provides funding for engineers to improve dam safety and review emergency action plans to help prevent catastrophic flooding.

· Sets aside $2.3 million to purchase a new firefighting aircraft in the wake of devastating wildfires in Western North Carolina.

· Provides $250,000 to the Department of Agriculture to continue fighting against federal overreach in the form of the new Waters of the United States definition after the Cooper Administration withdrew from the federal lawsuit challenging this unprecedented land grab.

In Transportation –

· Increases funding for the Strategic Transportation Investments Program (STIP) by $320 million over two years, which will allow 100 new highway projects to be added over a ten-year period.

· Includes $241 million to improve structurally deficient bridges across the state, adds $143 million to improve the condition and safety of existing roads, increases contract resurfacing by $20 million and increases funding for pavement preservation by $30 million, extending the life of thousands of miles of roads.

· Invests $100 million to fund immediate need construction projects across the state that improve mobility and safety, reduce congestion and spur economic development.

· Includes $208 million over two years for a Roadside Environmental Fund dedicated to ensuring the safety and beautification of the state’s highways.

· Modernizes the state’s transportation network by providing additional funding to airports across the state for infrastructure improvements, and to the State Ports Authority for infrastructure and dredging needs.

Elsewhere –

· Brings the rainy day fund to $1.838 billion, or 8.2 percent of last year’s budget – the largest dollar amount and percentage in state history.

· Adds $125 million to make needed repairs and renovations to state and university facilities.

· Helps preserve North Carolina’s military operations by allocating $2 million for the next Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

· Continues the commitment to improving government transparency by funding a website that makes every state agency, county, and local school district budget available for citizens to view online.

· Aims to make government operations more efficient by investing in a fully-consolidated statewide Enterprise Resource Planning system.

· Helps the office of the State Auditor conduct more specialized audits and allocates funding to assist the state Department of Revenue in identifying and preventing tax fraud.

Senator Chad Barefoot represents District 18 containing Franklin County and portions of Eastern and Southern Wake County. Senator Barefoot is a Chairman of the Education Appropriations and Education Policy Committees and also serves on the Appropriations/Base Budget, Finance, and Rules and Operations of the Senate Committees.

From The Office of NC Senator Chad Barefoot
NC Senate * 300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 406 * Raleigh, NC 27603-5925 *
919-715-3036 *