Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

We held our 2015 Precinct Meetings and Concurrent County Convention this morning in Madison County.  This was a very successful Convention.

Your newly elected County GOP Officers are:

Chairman: Jesse Sigmon
Vice-Chairman: Gerald Davis
Secretary: Elizabeth Tilley
Treasurer: Roberta Lewis
Asst. Treasurer: Gail Davis

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!…please welcome and support these folks.

And I personally want to say thank you to everyone for your support and kind words today and over the past 6 years. Thank you for the card and the gift. Ya’ll are the greatest. It was an honor to serve you all and the great citizens of Madison County.—Matthew Wechtel, Former Chairman

What the Associated Press Refused to Print in its Misleading and Factually Incorrect Attack on Governor McCrory

“The governor has done everything in a proper and ethical manner. This is a classic example of partisan drive-by journalism that deliberately misrepresents the facts. The AP is making reckless accusations through anonymous people about laws that they cannot cite.” – Josh Ellis, Communications Director

AP CLAIM: “McCrory and Sanford deny they did anything improper by accepting the payments from, which were not fully described in their ethics statements.”

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: Governor McCrory properly filled out his ethics statement as required by law. That source of income was previously listed in another part of the 2014 SEI form; therefore, the form is in compliance with the State Ethics Act (See NCGS 138A-24A3).

AP CLAIM: “However, more than a dozen securities lawyers and ethics experts told The Associated Press that such stock payouts are uncommon for elected officials, and raise significant concerns. These experts gave differing opinions about whether laws were broken.

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: What “securities lawyers” and what “ethics experts?” Name them. Not one “expert” was named. These same “experts” said that such stock payouts are uncommon, but it’s the standing board policy of to make these payouts. Do these “experts” know that this was’s policy? Doesn’t sound like it. And as the AP says itself, this was payment that was in fact ENTITLED. More importantly, the AP event contradicts itself saying, “Early vesting of restricted shares for departing directors is not unheard of in the corporate world.”

AP CLAIM: “AP reported that McCrory, a Duke retiree, held stock in the company as his administration made key regulatory decisions involving his former employer. Those decisions are now the subject of a federal criminal investigation.”

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: This is an outrageous accusation and this is absolutely incorrect – it is a false statement and was printed and published with malice. The AP is saying that the governor is under federal investigation and that is 100% false. Neither the governor nor anyone he hired has been subpoenaed as part of this investigation.

AP CLAIM: “McCrory declined requests for an interview. In a written statement McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis said the governor fully complied with state law and “continues to uphold high ethical standards.”

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: The AP reporter who wrote this story had dozens of chances to interview the governor. On one single occasion after letting the governor’s office know about this story, he had 15 minutes of the governor’s time with 3-4 other reporters where he asked two questions that weren’t related to this story.

AP CLAIM: “North Carolina officials are required to disclose their business dealings and their sources of compensation on annual ethics forms. Knowingly providing false information or concealing sources of income is potentially punishable by removal from office and up to eight months in prison.”

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: What the AP fails to mention here is that the governor did nothing wrong, nor has anyone accused him of doing anything wrong, and he fully complied with state ethics laws.

AP CLAIM: “In a statement, Ellis said that under state law, the governor wasn’t required to disclose his cash compensation from because he had disclosed his company stock holdings earlier on the form. As for the other omissions, Ellis said the instructions on the ethics forms were unclear.”

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: The governor answered the question (19a) correctly as it was plainly written. The State Ethics Commission recognized that the form needed to be changed and voted at the last commission meeting to rephrase the question on the 2015 SEI form.

AP CLAIM: “McCrory also rebuffed calls earlier this year to disclose the full value of Duke Energy stock he owned following the Dan River coal ash spill.”

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: The governor properly disclosed what he was required to by state law.

AP CLAIM: “Despite his payments, McCrory did not recuse himself from naming the state banking director in the weeks before receiving his special dividend, or from naming eight commissioners to the regulatory agency 18 days later. In addition to licensing mortgage brokers, the commission investigates complaints, which are kept secret under state law unless they result in discipline.”

WHAT THE AP LEFT OUT: The governor didn’t need to recuse himself as per state law. Instead, the AP is implying through shifty wordsmithing and editing – that the Governor took actions that benefitted – another example of irresponsible drive-by journalism. Further, the governor re-appointed the chair, which was appointed by the previous Democratic governor, and he has over 40 years of banking experience. See what the former Democratic governor who appointed Ray Grace had to say about Commissioner Grace:

Congratulations to Dyatt Smathers and Ray Lewis on their new positions with the Madison County Board of Elections.  Ray Lewis was sworn in by the Honorable Jim Baker as the newest Board Member on Wednesday, June 11th.  Ray’s first action was to nominate Dyatt Smathers as the new Chairman of the Board and Ray was then nominated to fill Dyatt’s former Secretary position.  We look forward to the upcoming elections in November.


Leake Ousted as Madison County Attorney

9:45 PM, Dec 3, 2012   |  By Melissa Dean

MARSHALL — It did not take long for newly appointed county commissioners to shake things up in Madison County.

Within minutes of swearing in new county commissioners on Monday, Larry Leake was ousted as the Madison County Attorney by a 3-2 vote.

“I’ve known (Leake) for many years, and I consider him a good friend of mine,” said newly elected Commissioner Jim Baker, who made the motion. “But people voted me in because they are ready for the county and county government to go in a different direction.”

Democrat Wayne Brigman joined Republican Commissioners Bill Briggs and Baker to cast the deciding vote to replace Leake.

“People wanted a change,” said Briggs.

Commissioners Sue Vicinskas and Hall Moore dissented.

“I think it was a promise made during the election that Larry needed to be removed,” said Vilcinskas, who was appointed commission chair during Monday’s meeting. Baker was unanimously appointed vice chair.

Leake could not be reached to comment on the meeting.

Attorney Hal Harrison was appointed as the new county attorney. Harrison is also the attorney of Mitchell and Avery counties.

According to Baker, the move to replace Leake was due in part by what could be considered a conflict of interest for the county.

“Larry has the reputation of doing much more than just legal advice,” said Baker. “

It is time to do away with the county feeling that the same person is calling the shots. It will be a positive change for the county.”

Leake, while he has held the position as county attorney for more than 30 years, is also the attorney for the towns of Mars Hill, Marshall and Hot Springs, as well as the attorney for the Madison County Department of Social Services.

Leake also currently serves as the chairman of the state Board of Elections.

“They have, at times, gotten in the way of each other,” said Baker, who cited the 2011 case in which county commissioners sued DSS following a discrepancy with a board member.

“He is the attorney for a lot of different towns and agencies,” said Briggs. “It is good not to have one person in control of everything.”

Baker said the move will save the county money. Leake was paid a retainer fee of $1,000 a month, according to the county Finance Department.

While the move to replace Leake was not unanimous, Vicinskas said she hopes the board will move the county forward through bipartisanship and collaborative efforts.

“It will be an interesting time in our county,” said Vilcinskas. “I think the county is going to be surprised at how differently things will be run.”

“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But, under the name of “Liberalism”, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. I no longer need to run as a Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform.”–Norman Thomas, 1944 (six-time Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America)

NC Democrats coping with all power lost in NC

By GARY D. ROBERTSON – Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republicans can never remember soaring so high in state government with Pat McCrory entering the Executive Mansion and expanding GOP majorities at the Legislative Building come January.

Democrats can’t remember sitting so low.

As the dominant force in North Carolina politics for over a century, Democrats almost always held all the strings of power in Raleigh. They’ll all be cut after last week’s election. The Democrats’ 20-year winning streak for governor is over. They’ll hold barely one-third of the Legislature’s seats, and Republicans remain the majority on the state Supreme Court.

Democrats also took hits in federal races. North Carolina was the only battleground state President Barack Obama lost in his successful re-election campaign. And Democrats lost at least three U.S. House seats.

“The Democratic Party in North Carolina is as weak as it has ever been as a political power force,” veteran North Carolina political researcher John Davis said.

It’s left Democrats wondering how they’ll maximize what little influence they’ll have and how to rebuild their brand in the state. But they’re also nervous about whether 2012 was an aberration in a competitive two-party state or the start of a long-term hiatus.

“We’re at a crossroads. I don’t think anybody knows the answer to this question,” said former Democratic Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, but “there’s no question the Democratic Party is going to be going through a retooling process.”

The first crack in Democratic dominance in state government opened 40 years ago when Jim Holshouser was elected the first GOP governor since 1901. GOP Gov. Jim Martin served for eight years a decade later, and the state House went Republican in the mid-1990s. The big moment came two years ago, when Republicans won a majority in both legislative chambers for the first time since 1870.

Democrats lost another nine seats in the House and one seat in the Senate on Election Day, meaning Republicans now hold veto-proof majorities in each chamber. Democrats, with just 61 seats in the 170-member Legislature, will have no way to stop GOP policies as long as most Republicans and McCrory are in agreement.

Democrats offer several explanations for their recent setbacks – some out of their control and others self-inflicted.

The slowly recovering economy and low approval numbers for outgoing Gov. Beverly Perdue put Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walter Dalton deep in a hole against McCrory, who narrowly lost to Perdue in 2008. Republicans also got to redraw district maps for the House and Senate and the U.S. House delegation.

“It shows the power of the pen – meaning the redistricting pen – and the power of the purse – meaning having tremendous access to a large amount of campaign money,” said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, a minority whip. Democrats and their allies have challenged the legality of the maps.

After political scandals over the past decade involving mostly Democratic elected officials, the party also suffered through another this year when the party’s executive director resigned after sexual harassment allegations were made against him by an employee.

Party Chairman David Parker, who held onto his post when Perdue, Dalton and others tried to force him out, said Friday the controversy didn’t “change the mind of a single voter” but acknowledged there “was definitely an energy drain.”

Parker said there were some positives from Election Day. Democrats retained a majority on the Council of State and were extremely well organized for the Obama campaign. Parker said his party’s commitment to public education and job creation still align well with the minds of voters.

“I am genuinely optimistic about the Democratic Party because our message is so solid,” he said.

Wicker and others say the message has to expand to bring back conservative Democrats and the corporate community, which largely is now siding with Republicans.

House and Senate Democratic caucuses also have to overcome the perception they are anti-business or support higher taxes.

“There is no ideological balance in those caucuses anymore,” Davis said. But he added that urban population growth still brings tremendous opportunities for Democrats to rebound in the future.

Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of the liberal-leaning North Carolina Policy Watch, said elected officials in the party have failed to step up after Democratic heavyweights like Sens. Marc Basnight and Tony Rand left the political stage in the past four years.

“It’s an opportunity to clear the lot and start over in terms of party infrastructure and strategy and fundraising,” Fitzsimon said.

Potential Democratic standard bearers could include Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and State Treasurer Janet Cowell. It’s unclear whether Attorney General Roy Cooper will take a more prominent party role or consider a gubernatorial run in 2016. Others believe Parker is still the problem and want him out. He said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run for chairman again in a few months.

Republicans who served in the minority for years cautioned Democrats against being too intensely partisan, or risk failing to accomplish things for constituents.

“The member has to decide whether to be effective in the body, or do they want to be a politico,” said former House Speaker Harold Brubaker, who was just one of six Republicans in the House when he arrived in the chamber in 1977.

Democrats acknowledge political victories will be rare.

“Is it going to be pleasant? No, but I’ve always said there’s always a dignity to being in the minority party,” Ross said, “so we’ll go forward. We have no choice.”