McInnis: Unfunded mandates hurting rural counties

This past week I had the privilege of spending several days at the General Assembly Building learning the procedures and processes of the Legislature.

I was quite interested to see how an idea makes it way to the Bill Drafting Department then onto the Senate floor. We learned about the decorum of the chamber as well as the operation of the voting system. One of the most sobering sessions was on the safety and security of the General Assembly facilities since citizens have open access to this building.

Tom McInnis

Tom McInnis

I had the opportunity to meet with many of the leaders from both Houses and was able to express my thoughts on issues that are directly affecting the 25th District. A great deal of this time was spent speaking one on one with education policy specialists. This was especially important to me, as I am well aware of the needs of the rural schools in our state.

Prior to this orientation in Raleigh, I conducted a listening tour in each county of the district. Every municipality, school board, county commission, and community college was invited to send a representative to this meeting. Each group was asked to provide a list of the three most challenging needs they are facing and would like to see addressed in the upcoming session of the General Assembly. I garnered a great deal of information from these meetings and am still compiling the data that was obtained, but will be issuing a specific report later this month. One thing for sure, it is not difficult to see that Richmond, Anson and Scotland counties have needs that are similar while Rowan and Stanly have needs that are quite different.

One commonality between all the counties is the need to address unfunded mandates from Raleigh and Washington while finding common ground on the issues that affect the rural counties and schools of our state.

This week, I will be attending a meeting in Scotland County with a member from the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The meeting, sponsored by Representative Garland Pierce, is to assist our citizens in learning how to work with the Commerce Department to obtain grants for economic development.

On Thursday, I will be attending our organizational meeting of the senate to elect the leadership and to discuss the policies for the upcoming session.

As you can see, I am already busy, and I expect the days to come to be even busier, but I am excited and look forward to hearing from citizens and working toward common sense solutions to the needs of our great district.

Until I am assigned an official address in January, feel free to contact me at: mcinnis4statesenate@gmail.com or my business office phone number: 910-997-2248.

Tom McInnis has been elected to serve District 25 in the North Carolina Senate.

 

Filed in: Opinion

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