Live-Blog with Pat Smathers, candidate for Lt. Gov. - Welcome Pat Smathers

On Monday, March 3, Pat Smathers will join us at 7:00 p.m. for a live-blog session. Pat has impressed a lot of people along his journey. Don't miss this chance to see what it is about Pat Smathers that has supporters lining up with him.

From his bio:

When devastating hurricane floods struck his hometown in 2004, Mayor Pat Smathers had two options: Rebuild or build better.

Smathers, a problem solving Democrat, chose the latter, partnering with fellow community leaders and state government to strengthen the mountain town his family has called home for eight generations.

As mayor, school board attorney and former champion high school and college athlete, Smathers has learned what small towns expect of their leaders: A dedication to success. A willingness to work hard. And the resourcefulness to create solutions that work for everyone.

“It’s time to fulfill those expectations at the state level,” says Smathers, a husband, father of two and retired lieutenant colonel in the National Guard. “North Carolinians deserve a leader who will meet our state’s challenges with openness, optimism and invested innovations. As lieutenant governor, I will honor those hometown values we all share.”

If you can't be here Monday evening, please leave your questions on this thread.

A big thank you to Pat Smathers for agreeing to join us on Monday.


I never know what I'll be doing at 7pm, so I'll leave a question

You are the only candidate for any statewide office, near as I can tell, who has a military background. Given that, what role do you think North Carolina should play in and around our bases? Beyond "saving" them every time the BRAC comes up, what should NC be doing for these citizens of our state?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Here we go

I want to thank everyone who's taken the time to ask questions. I've answered the questions already posted here, and will go ahead and post the responses now in hopes of getting more questions answered in the time allotted. I hope this is the correct procedure: This is my first time live blogging, so please be kind...


Robert, I wholeheartedly endorse the premise of your question: North Carolina’s military bases are not just cogs in our state’s economic engine. We have a fundamental obligation to our servicemen and women, veterans and their family members living here.

With few exceptions, members of the military are no different than other North Carolina citizens. They want and deserve strong public education systems for their children, good paying jobs for their non-military family members, a clean environment and safe streets.

The exceptions lie in the specific strains of military life: Deployments create understandable anxieties for family members, while complicating child care arrangements and work scheduling. This holds true not only for active duty forces, but also for our National Guard and other reserve forces now being deployed as operational reserves on a regular basis.

Here’s what North Carolina can do for them:

1. Support and empower local leaders in military communities to address their constituents’ basic needs.
2. Facilitate military families’ transitions to North Carolina by offering meaningful spousal unemployment benefits and expediting their earning professional credentials to work in the state.
3. Train public mental health professionals working in military communities to address issues unique to military families and returning veterans, and fund related programs.
4. Coordinate with military family support groups and veterans organizations to reach out to reserve family members who may not live anywhere near a military base.
5. Collaborate with the bases’ chains of command to determine which needs are not being met by the military.
6. Provide strong support for veterans by strengthening and enforcing employment and re-employment rights and protections for reservists called to active duty.
7. Fully support the All-American Enterprise effort, which represents a great opportunity for all of North Carolina.

I believe my military experience and training make me the best candidate to enact these measures and provide military families and veterans with a needed voice on the Council of State.

On the subject of mercenaries

Would Mr. Smathers support legislation in the General Assembly similar to this legislation being proposed in Illinois:

Help Stop Blackwater: Support Illinois HB5700
Support Needed For Limitations on Private Military Contractors Act

Rep. Julie Hamos has introduced a bill into the Illinois legislature that establishes as public policy that private military contractors should not receive state funding or support in Illinois. The bill sets 3 important limitations on their function and use:

1. No state funds may be used to contract with or purchase services from private military contractors for training of law enforcement or security Guards.

2. No military weapons or explosives may be used by private military contractors in Illinois except on secured U.S. military bases or regulated facilities.

3. No personnel trained by private military contractors may be used to patrol, guard, control, contain or arrest any Illinois resident.

Military, not mercenaries

In my response to Robert, I detailed some of the things we can do to support our military, veterans and military veterans: Promoting Blackwater isn’t one of them. I am strongly opposed to entities such as Blackwater.

The rise of Blackwater and similar organizations stems from Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield’s wrong-headed efforts to privatize our military. The only beneficiaries of such a policy are the companies’ stockholders: Privatization does not serve our military or our nation. While I could spend hours outlining the problems posed by private military contractors such as Blackwater, among the most critical overarching issues are troop morale, operation interference, command and control, status of force agreements, intervention in other countries’ sovereign affairs and the security of national secrets. Perhaps most importantly, those fighting on behalf of the United States should owe their allegiance to their country and not a corporation.

I appreciate the thrust of the legislation you quote, but – as written – I think it is too broad and could lead to some serious questions about applicability, enforceability and effectiveness. There are many “military contractors” and “private security” firms that provide essential, cost-effective support to our service men and women. I have worked and trained with many of them. The military out sources a variety of tasks on its bases to various companies, many of them headed by veterans. The problem is when private firms become operational forces in a combat zone, which should end immediately. I do not think this particular legislation addresses that issue. Rest assured, if legislation on a state level could end that odious practice, I would favor it. I support our military, not mercenaries!

Thanks, Pat.

I share your concerns about the specific legislation. The intent there was to keep Blackwater from opening a facility in Illinois. My intent is to shut a facility here in North Carolina.

I disagree, however, that there is any role for "private security" in support of our service men and women. Let the private companies clean kitchens and empty the trash, but they should not be carrying arms under any circumstance. That's an easy line to draw, and I look forward to convincing you to help draw it!

Thanks again for joining us tonight. It's been many moons since we met in Carrboro way back when.

James, I agree.

That's exactly what I'm saying. My experience is the private security firms working here in the US are doing mundane security tasks, such as guarding buildings or events. Just as security guards at courthouses and hospitals are armed, it makes sense to arm them too. This is not the same as being in a combat zone, which I do not support under any circumstances.

Thanks for having me here tonight. I hope to see you in person again soon.

Wind energy and ridge protection

Pat, what is your position on the installation of wind turbines on mountain ridgetops?

Do you agree with this assessment by the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League that wind turbines are exempted under state law, and could be constructed and operated legally?

Or do you agree with AG Roy Cooper's 2002 assessment:

The Attorney General disagreed that North Carolina's Mountain Ridge Protection Act should be similarly interpreted, stating that while the Act allows small, singular wind turbines, a project of the scale proposed by the TVA would not be permitted, “especially when all the turbines would probably be seen together from most viewing locations.”126 Attorney General Cooper also claimed that this interpretation is consistent with legislative history, asserting that the General Assembly was considering “the traditional, solitary farm windmill which has long been in use in rural communities.”

It's been a while since I brought this up, but considering the controversy surrounding Cliffside and our water woes, I think the future of wind energy in this state is incredibly important.

Wind Turbines and Ridge Tops

I would also be interested in Mr. Smathers thoughts on wind and ridges, especially in the midst of the REPS and increasing knowledge of wind energy and siting turbines.

Which way the wind blows

Scharrison, I don’t want to issue a legal opinion here. Rather than parse two competing arguments, let me share my thoughts on this important issue.

I believe North Carolina must first strive to reduce its energy consumption. As Blue NC readers know, there are myriad ways to achieve this goal through technological innovation and behavioral change. At the local level, for example, cities and towns can green their building codes and their municipal fleets. But since we cannot completely eliminate our need for energy, I support exploring any alternative sources which will lessen our dependence on oil.

Unfortunately, the Southeast isn’t as wind-rich as some of our neighboring states to the west. Still, many North Carolinians living on the coast or in the mountains, where wind has some promise as a sustainable energy source, are interested in wind’s potential. According to a study conducted by Appalachian State, folks here in the mountains agree by a 2 to 1 margin that turbines shouldn’t be banned.

The enduring dilemma is where to site those turbines: Frankly, I don’t look forward to spoiling our pristine ridges with oversized windmills. But, as you know, I am a firm believer in our state’s motto: Esse Quam Videri, or “to be, rather than to seem.” Pretty mountain vistas don’t mean much if we’re simultaneously devastating our environment through our reliance on non-renewable energy sources. We need to work to find turbine sites that are acceptable, such as out-of-sight areas already rearranged to accommodate cell towers or roads.

Selected vistas

If you travel to Copenhagen, you can see how they have isolated their wind farms so that they don't fill the entire view . . . and they've also designed them beautifully. We could consider doing the same by designating certain areas for wind power.

Good answer.

Pretty mountain vistas don’t mean much if we’re simultaneously devastating our environment through our reliance on non-renewable energy sources. We need to work to find turbine sites that are acceptable, such as out-of-sight areas already rearranged to accommodate cell towers or roads.

Thanks, Pat.

I agree with this 100%:

We need to work to find turbine sites that are acceptable, such as out-of-sight areas already rearranged to accommodate cell towers or roads.

It would only take a few miles of ridgeline to accomodate a couple of hundred megawatt's-worth of turbines, and there's bound to be numerous locations that would fall into the "can't see 'em" category.

Good answer.

Question for Pat Smathers

One way to reduce demand for highways is to encourage telecommuting. I, for example, always work from home.

What should be the role of telecommuting in state and local government?

Calling all telecommuters

James, this very format proves the potential of telecommuting. We can greatly reduce our energy costs and increase our opportunities for collaboration by embracing telecommuting at the local and state levels.

As a telecommuter, you may already be familiar with the strides the state of Virginia has made in this arena. Virginia has rightly recognized that telecommuting has become highly attractive to many public and private employees because it saves time and money, creates flexibility and often simplifies family obligations. For example, many workers serve as caretakers for teenaged children or elderly parents who don’t need supervision, but function far better with someone in the home.

I believe North Carolina, like Virginia, should offer financial incentives to businesses encouraging telecommuting options. Additionally, our state must redouble its commitment to improving and maintaining our digital infrastructure so telecommuting is a viable option for workers in all 100 counties.

The public sector should also take full advantage of telecommuting: Supervisors at the state and local level should immediately determine which of their department’s members could telecommute and how, rather than waiting for workers to approach them.

Additionally, the state should support the increased use of teleconferencing by establishing regional resource hubs so local leaders don’t have to waste time and money traveling to Raleigh. Teleconferencing is also a terrific tool for facilitating communication between communities, an integral component of empowering our local leaders.

I didn't know that about Virginia.

Thanks for sharing that bit of information.

Supervisors at the state and local level should immediately determine which of their department’s members could telecommute and how, rather than waiting for workers to approach them.

Great idea.

Anti-bullying bill

Pat, it's very likely that the anti-bullying bill, including language protecting LGBT students from bullying behavior, will come up during this session. How do you stand on this issue, and would you help guide it to success through the NC Senate?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

All evil needs is for good men to stand by and do nothing(Burke)

Linda, I have always despised bullies of any stripe, which certainly has gotten me in scrapes from the schoolyard to the courtroom. As a school board lawyer, I am familiar with the stern policy we have in our district, and I am disappointed this serious problem is not being addressed locally elsewhere in the state. If the legislature or the State Board of Education cannot devise the correct language to address this issue, I have no doubt the School Board Lawyers’ Association could help solve this problem statewide.

No single group is as adversely affected by peer harassment as our gay, lesbian and bisexual teens. These students are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts. Nearly 30 percent of them drop out of school. If we want to get serious about improving our graduation rates, we need to make our schools safe and welcoming for all our students and their parents.

There are endless studies documenting bullying in our schools, but the report I find most troubling is one issued in late 2005 by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. According to their findings, 17 percent of students heard homophobic remarks from school staff. This is unacceptable. We must continue to focus on diversity education with our students and our employees.

We must also be aware that a great deal of bullying and harassment today is conducted in cyberspace. Schools should strive to educate parents about the networking programs their children are using, and monitor them whenever possible.

Educate the educators

We must continue to focus on diversity education with our students and our employees.

It's sad that we even have to do that, but it's true. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

Do you think that sexuality should be addressed specifically in the anti-bullying law? If so, what about other hate crime legislation?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Bully pulpit

Bullying is bullying, no matter what the reason, and if people don't get it, then yes, we need to address sexuality explicitly. This extends to other legislation: If necessary to protect our citizens, we should add such language to our laws. However I hate to think that's the point we've gotten to.

Here Goes ...

When I ran for county commissioner in '06, much of my campaign was based on giving our government tools and options - like Impact Fees, APFOs, Transfer Taxes, and the like - to promote sustainable development. Our recent drought and increasing energy needs seem to indicate that these options are needed sooner rather than later. How would you work to empower local governments to balance growth and responsibility? How can we balance growth across the state so that communities that aren't growing can have a chance to benefit from our state's growth spurt? And how can the GA and Democratic Leaders work to solve this drought and energy mess?

Too many questions, I know, but they're all interconnected.

Micah 4:3:
... and they shall beat their swords into plowshares ... nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Sam, can't you ask at least one more?

Sam, I know you have personal experience with these issues and appreciate you raising them here.

The first step to empowering our local governments is tax reform. We don’t drive 1930s cars, wear 1930s clothes or read 1930s newspapers, yet we’re still using a 1930s-era tax code. It worked for North Carolina when we were an agricultural state, but times have changed. We need a system that allows communities to send less money to Raleigh and keep more of their money at home.

This is the crux of my campaign: Local leaders should have the funding and freedom they need to determine the futures of their own communities, allowing state government to focus on truly statewide issues, such as the university and prison systems.

The people most affected by growth are the people living in the growing area. Those are the people we need to ask to make important decisions regarding development. But before we ask, we need to give them the tools to say no. As you say, Sam, growing willy-nilly isn’t good for anyone. Counties, cities and towns need the freedom to explore various funding systems so they aren’t beholden to developers for badly-needed cash. There should be a smorgasbord of tax options available, including impact fees, sales taxes and transfer taxes.

Growth will never look exactly the same across the state. Some counties will opt to grow quickly, and some won’t. But to promote balanced growth, the state should continue to improve and maintain its physical and digital infrastructure, so all communities have an opportunity to develop as they choose.

I believe local leaders can help solve the drought and energy mess – and should be very careful not to contribute to it. For example, I’m very wary of inter-basin transfers: I understand this is a very heated issue, but I believe you’re just asking for trouble and controversy when you allow your population to outgrow what your resources can sustain.

In responding to scharrison, I outlined a few things cities and towns can do to decrease their energy consumption. Similarly, local governments can impose restrictions on water use which should help ameliorate our serious drought conditions.

I'll be at a soccer game Monday night

so I'll ask a question that's been burning a whole in my head lately.

Recently one of our blueNC family (think it was scharrison) mentioned a proposed bill (S1180) that went through the NC Senate and was sent to committee after first reading passage in the NC House. Seems like it's possible for this bill to come up for a vote in the 2008 short session.

What do you make of this bill? What are the practical implications for local government's ability to impose Impact Fees or pass APFO's for their jurisdictions if this bill, or one similar, is passed into law?

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Can't build on this one

Leslie, I oppose Walter Dalton’s bill. This bill runs exactly counter to the message of my campaign: It takes decision-making away from town hall and gives it to the State Capital, where lobbyists and corporate attorneys hold sway. Controlling development is a local issue: The whims of the development lobby should not determine our communities’ futures.


Thanks for the questions and keep them coming. I am excited about tomorrow night. Our campaign has achieved great success in taking our message and ideas straight to the people and tomorrow night will be no different. The interactive service this website provides for candidates and voters is unmatched. Thanks for everything y’all do, and see you at 7.

Thanks, Pat.

Very glad you're willing to spend some time with us.

Pat, I'm hoping to be available tomorrow evening

yet either way, I would like to know your ideas regarding this issue that is facing our Country at this time, even thought the issue is not completely a North Carolina only issue.

What are your feelings regarding the current Congressional vs. White House issue of allowing telecom companies that may have commited crimes regarding illegal wiretapping of Americans?

Do you feel that if the telecom companies worked with the administration to bypass the FISA laws that were in place at the time of the transgression that they should be given amenesty because the administration asked them to do so?

How do you feel that Congress should finally weigh in on this issue?
(Allow the administration and the telecoms to do whatever the administration says is best for the protection of Americans?)


(Follow the current FISA law and move forward under what is allowed by this law?)

I know the question is easily answered to tell me what I want to read, simply by the structure of the question. What I want to know is what you think.

Thank you for your time and effort put forth to answer.

Best regards,

Barry Robins

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Guess who's listening?

Well, there’s not too much I can do about this issue, although I agree with you that we must vigilantly guard our civil rights. My feeling in this case is borne from my experience trying criminal cases: If the telecom company went along willingly, then they should not be shielded from scrutiny and responsibility. But if the company can demonstrate they legitimately had no ability to refuse the request, then perhaps they should be granted immunity in exchange for testifying against those responsible.

Thank you, Pat.

I do realise that there isn't much you can do personally, but I still wanted to know your personal thoughts on this issue.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

Campaign finance

Pat, any comments or recommendations on campaign finance reforms or disclosures? I'll be in council meeting Monday evening, but I'm happy to pitch you a hanging curve on this topic in advance.

Dan Besse
Democrat for Lieutenant Governor

Dan Besse

Home run for the people

Dan, buddy, thanks. Because I know there’s probably not a hair’s bit of difference between how you and I feel about this. I fully support our current public financing system, and look forward to expanding it to include all statewide offices.

I don’t think any of us believe the best North Carolina would be a state in which public office could be purchased or inherited. The amount of money needed to run a successful campaign today is criminal, as recent antics in Raleigh have so sadly proved.

Let’s hope money doesn’t buy this election. Recent polls suggest maybe it can’t: Although you and I have raised less money than our competitors, the most recent survey from Public Policy Polling has us in the top two spots. This race is one the people can win!

Don't know if I can make it or not

Mayor Smathers,

I wrote here at BlueNC about the attention you're giving mental health issues. Can you tell us how your position differs from your opponents' stances on addressing the mental health crisis in NC?

Scrutiny Hooligans -

This is a frontburner issue

Gordon, most of the candidates weren’t talking about the mental health crisis until you helped bring attention to this most urgent of issues, so I’m not sure I can accurately present my opponents’ stances. I do know that voters who were able to hear all four of us speak at the Coalition’s forum last week (I had to leave early for a meeting with Equality NC) reported my ideas were more specific and locally-oriented.

As I said in Raleigh, there is no shortage of statewide mental health programs which would benefit from immediate, increased funding. But I believe our allocation priority should be full funding of the basic one-stop, safety-net clinic initiative proposed by Drs. Harold Carmel, John Gilmore and Marvin Swartz. North Carolinians diagnosed with mental illness and their loved ones need a physical place where they can go during a crisis. When a homeless vet needs his meds refilled, we shouldn’t expect him to make a series of phone calls, as the current four-tiered system requires: We should open a door for him. When a single mother is considering suicide, we shouldn’t ask her to spend hours awaiting care in an emergency room: We should open a door for her. When one of our fellow citizens is alone, delusional and scared on a Saturday night, we shouldn’t make him take his problems to a homeless shelter where nobody is equipped to deal with mental illness: We should open a door for him.

But it is not enough to merely open the doors to these clinics. We must fund them so they can employ the best professionals and offer the transport, child care and other services their clients require.

We have to start somewhere. And I think these clinics are the right place to start. I believe locally-based programs that keep citizens in their communities, and their homes, are the most economical and effective. My campaign slogan is “local leadership, statewide,” because I believe it’s time we support and empower our local leaders to make decisions for their communities. Working with state guidance, local leaders are often best situated to determine how mental health care dollars should be spent in their hometowns. Economics and good sense requires us to listen to them.

Pat, Welcome

I'm sorry I wasn't here right at 7pm to welcome you properly. I had to wear the "mom" hat for a while...right when I thought I could take it off for an hour.

I'm interested in how your service as Mayor of Canton has prepared you for the Lt. Governor's job. I imagine you had to reach across the aisle as Mayor. How does that play out in the LG role?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

A mayor knows

Betsy, I believe nothing prepares a candidate for elected office better than holding elected office. As mayor, you are responsible and accountable to your fellow citizens. The job has enabled me to use my leadership skills and abilities to better my hometown. I've had to hold people's hands during disasters, encourage them and reassure them that working together, we could rebuild. I've made and implemented plans for growth and dealt with security issues. Most importantly, it's increased my understanding of how to get things done.

question on water conservation

Pat - Good to see you in Raleigh for the HK on J rally.

As we all know, our state is in one hell of a drought. The people of this state are responding by conserving at record levels (some forced, some voluntary).

When we get out of this situation, what should happen to make sure we do not run into this problem again when the next drought hits us?

Gray Newman
Chair - Mecklenburg Soil and Water Conservation District

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

Water, water, not everywhere

Gray, glad you could be here. The problem does not end as soon as it starts raining. We can plan on this problem recurring. We need to bring all our best people together, especially those working at the local level, to brainstorm solutions that work for North Carolina. The state's leaders must listen to these experts, judge their recommendations and implement them.

As I previously said, we must be careful not to build where there isn't sufficent water to support growth. We cannot increase our water supply, but we can stem demand.

Wake Forest Football

When is Wake going to start playing ASU again or are they still scared of us?

Gray Newman
ASU '82-'86

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

But, we've got a new coach now

You read my resume wrong. I played at Duke, back in the glory years when we won four or five games a year.

Ha! Carolina has had many of those years in football

You know...the years where the wins are memorable because there are so few of them. :D

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


Sorry to disparage you that way.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

Follow-up Mental Health Question

Bulls-Eye on the local clinics, Pat. That's exactly what we need. How do you envision that these should be funded? Would they be public agencies or private entities, or some sort of mix? (Sorry I missed your part of the discussion in Raleigh. I did hear that you were terrific.)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Clinic funding

I think the clinics should be public, but they should accept private payment like any other hospital although availability should extend to citizens without insurance, which is where state funding becomes critical. The key is consistency in availability of care and treatment.

jobs, jobs, jobs

I'm sorry to ask a question based on a report you might not be familiar with, so will understand if you would rather wait to answer. In the January 2007 report - State of the North Carolina Workforce - put out by the North Carolina Commission on Workforce Development, one of the trends is that "middle jobs" are disappearing. What can we as a state do to reverse this trend and what can you as Lt. Governor do to assist?

Note: Pat probably knows what "middle jobs" are, but for those who don't, they are jobs that pay a family a sustaining wage without requiring advanced formal education or training.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Dance with the one who brung you

This is a serious problem which is affecting our middle class. First, we need to recognize that small business creates the bulk of our jobs statewide -- approximately 70 percent. Many of these jobs are the "middle jobs" you mention. Rather than focus on attracting big corporations from out of state, giving them incentives and tax breaks, we need to concentrate on supporting small businesses and farms. These businesses will stay in the communities where they were grown, and not leave for a better tax haven. Here in the mountains we have a saying: "you dance with the one who brung you." We can support these businesses through infrastructure, tax breaks, training programs, incentives for growth and first-rate education that will meet their needs.

Thank you....I love this answer

I was going to ask a question on incentives, but am pretty sure I know the answer based on what you've written above.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


I am a retired Navy veteran who believes in the Navy and wants what is best for them.

I have been a strong opponent of the Navy's plan to place an OLF in North Carolina. The Navy showed us in their own documentation that an OLF is not required to support the mission of carrier aviation training at Oceana if most or all the planes were stationed at Oceana. NE NC has been fighting the Navy for going on 8 years and we have won some battles but the war is still being waged.

The Navy is back peddling and is in the process of thoroughly reassessing their requirements for the carrier air wing training. I feel that this "reassessment" is due to the banding to gather of the counties in NE NC and mainly because of the poor performance of the Navy to tell us the correct requirements.

As Lt. Gov. how will you address the Navy's continual changing of the requirements of this OLF? How will you support Senator Dole, Burr, Representative Butterfield and Governor Easley's position that this OLF must have broad local support or they would oppose placing this OLF in that region?

How will you support the local governments and local communities stance that they do not wish this OLF to be placed in their community?

Will you ask now for the Navy to show what these new reassessed requirements are that made all of the previous studies (FEIS, SEIS and supporting documentation) become "historical" in nature or defunct?

The Navy still has a Record of Decision that condemns 25,000+ acres of land in OUR State based on a study that is no longer valid. While I love my Navy, with them now changing the requirements yet again, it is hard for me to accept that any kind of legitimate study will come from the Navy. Two communities in some of the poorest counties in our state are in the Navy's cross hairs. One of these counties is having problems financially protecting itself from the Navy. Will you support these counties in their fight?

Thank you for you time. I know I asked a lot and you may not have the answers or may not be fully briefed on this situation. A binding answer today would be inappropriate to expect if you have not heard of this.

I ask that you look into this OLF the Navy wishes to place in our state.

I also ask this line of questions from anyone who is running for political office at the state level. I wish to bring this up to inform North Carolinians that a community in our state may disappear solely as noise mitigation issue for the people of Virginia and for operational flexibility for the Navy even thou the Navy failed to protect the viability of Oceana for the last 30+ years.

Local leadership, statewide

Parmea, thank you for your service. As lieutenant governor, I will use the strongest voice I can muster to not only support local opposition to the project, but to address the Navy directly on the issues you address. I want to congratulate the local leadership who opposed the initial plan and simply ask: Does anyone actually think the OLF would have been stopped had not the local people organized against it.

I helped a little with the local leadership

in teaching folks that what we were opposing and our stance was just based on the Navy's documentation. Others rallied the communities and rallied the region as one voice.

Thank you for your statement and stance!