NC Lawmakers Address Crowded Greensboro Town Hall with Legislative Priorities
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Last night, the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) hosted a town hall with North Carolina Rep. Cecil Brockman, Rep. Pricey Harrison, and Sen. Gladys Robinson in Greensboro, North Carolina. Over 90 residents attended and met with the legislators about their priorities to create a strong public education system, increase access to affordable health care, and create an economy that works for everyone, all part of progressive lawmaker’s recently launched policy agenda. The event was part of a series of town halls and tele-town halls SiX is hosting with North Carolina legislators in May and June ahead of and during the short legislative session.
“Last week we proposed a new agenda to move our state forward—we all know that our state is great, but our current legislature is backward on so many issues,” said Sen. Robinson. “North Carolina used to be a national leader in education, yet after years of budget cuts, we now rank 37th. Education is a gateway to economic growth and it’s time to raise teacher pay, invest in our students, and expand opportunities for our youngest students.”
A resident asked about how to address the rising cost of living and stagnating wages that make it so hard for working North Carolina families to afford a decent home.
“No one working full time should have to live in poverty—we need to stop talking about a minimum wage and start talking about a living wage,” said Rep. Cecil Brockman. “We have folks that are working full time jobs, yet still can’t make ends meet. The minimum wage in our state hasn’t moved in nearly a decade, and we know how hard it is to raise a family, afford a home, or make ends meet – it’s time to raise the wage. It’s good for employees, good for our economy and good for our state.”
Other questions from residents focused on: protecting access to health care and the Affordable Care Act; how to support teachers; racial disparities in school suspensions and the disparities in educational opportunities between white students and students of color; repealing HB2; access to quality health care for those with preexisting conditions; how to ensure equity in school funding; access to higher education and community colleges; school vouchers; and how to improve the legislative process.
“I’m going to tell you what you can expect from the current legislative leadership during this short session: missed opportunities,” said Rep. Harrison. “Missed opportunities to protect our clean water, missed opportunities to address school safety, and missed opportunities to fight for working families with policies to ensure equal pay for equal work, a living wage, and access to good-paying jobs.”
Rep. Harrison also lamented recent action by the leadership to insert the budget into a “conference report,” sidestepping the normal budget process and eliminating any opportunity for the public to weigh in.
The event was sponsored by the State Innovation Exchange and was open to the public.
The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a national resource and strategy center that supports state legislators who seek to strengthen our democracy, fight for working families, defend civil rights and liberties, and protect the environment. We do this by providing training, emphasizing leadership development, amplifying legislators’ voices, and forging strategic alliances between our legislative network and grassroots movements.