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There are 120 seats in the N.C. House of Representatives. Republicans hold 75 seats, Democrats 45. It takes 72 House votes to override the governor’s veto. The N.C. Senate has 50 seats, Republicans hold 34. It only takes 30 Senate votes to override the governor’s veto.
Now with such a large majority and control of one party, bipartisanship is neither encouraged nor valued while special interests and personal agendas are. Since the minority is so small, there is no checks-and-balances mechanism. There is no reason for the majority party to compromise or work with the other party. In addition, because of the imbalance and strength of the majority, even the nonpartisan principle of judicial review has changed since judges now identify their party on the ballot.
For those who don’t appreciate a multi-party system of government that respects differing opinions and ideas, for those who agree with limiting the power of the executive branch so that the governor is no more than a figurehead, and for those who believe it is OK to stack the deck of our judicial system with partisan partial judges, the present situation in Raleigh is just what you want.
But for those who believe that all our citizens deserve to be represented, and for those who believe that different ideas make for better solutions and better government, and for those of us who believe that judges should be impartial and fair, a push to equalize the current makeup of the General Assembly is a goal.
In 2010 when the Supreme Court ruled it legal for large corporations to contribute any amount of money to support candidates through organizations called super PACs, the character of our North Carolina legislature began to change. Big money from wealthy corporations and special interests was funneled in through the super PACs, much of it from outside our state. Today that big money and those corporations control the lives of North Carolinians, and those who cannot afford to pay can no longer play.
This midterm isn’t just about the people running for the offices. We will be voting for an ideal, the ideal that government should represent all, not just those rich enough to play. Vote to break the majority by voting for Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield and other Democrats on the ballot who want to ‘Make North Carolina Great Again’ by bringing back cooperation, transparency and compromise to our government.
Nancy N. Hawley