I was dismayed at the recent pronouncements by Sen. Chuck Edwards that were included in the Mountain Xpress [“WNC’s State Lawmakers Reflect Amid Electoral Uncertainty,” Dec. 15; and “Green in Brief: State Budget Brings Millions in Environmental Funding to WNC,” Dec. 8].
First, he noted that the maps drawn for North Carolina followed previous court orders. That in no way should imply that the maps were drawn fairly. Two reputable nonpartisan organizations — the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and FiveThirtyEight — concluded that the maps drawn gave a significant advantage to the Republican majority. In fact, the former went so far as to grade all the maps that were approved — U.S. Congressional, N.C. Senate and N.C. House — as an F. There were other maps drawn that were graded significantly higher, but none of those were considered by the N.C. General Assembly.
Second, Sen. Edwards stated he was thrilled he could “partner with Rep. [Tim] Moffitt [R-Henderson] and Rep. [Jake] Johnson [R-Henderson] to ensure our WNC voice was heard loud and clear” in helping to create the North Carolina budget. Those are not the voices of all in WNC. Buncombe County has four members to the N.C. General Assembly who are Democrats, and while some of them eventually voted to approve the budget, it was not an easy decision. Why were they not referenced by Sen. Edwards? This North Carolina budget omitted several important items, such as Medicaid expansion and funding public education at the level needed to align with the Leandro court decision.
If North Carolina is going to move forward, all of the state should be included. That does not appear to be the case with the present leadership in the N.C. General Assembly.
— Ron Katz