Front Porch Blog

NC Mountain Reps Near the Bottom in “Effectiveness’

The News-Observer had this story last week about the “effectiveness rankings” for NC legislators done by the NC Center for Public Policy. Once again, the legislators from the mountains of Western NC fall far behind.

A couple that were interesting to me were Gene Wilson, who is my State House Rep. He ranked 106th out of 120. He has actually been known to catch some Zzzs in the chamber. Last year in a speech about clean air he literally got up and said “I’m just a local yokel. These boys ’bout said it all.” Hes runnin against a fella named Cullie Tarleton who I have talked with on several occasions and who is a teriffic guy.

Senator Garwood, my state senator, was 6th among Senate Republicans. He is an old-school guy, but good on the environment. Our staff and volunteers worked with him a while back. The guy running against Senator Garwood is David Blust. David’s brother John is in the state house. He was ranked 119th out of 120 members. Thats sad.

According to a N.C. Center for Public Policy Research press release, over the 28-year history of the rankings, three factors have tended to predict a high effectiveness ranking: committee chairing, longevity of service and a legislator’s personal skills in areas such as homework and floor debate.

Im not endorsing or thrashing any individuals here. But, as I have said before, mountain people are institutionally disadvantaged enough at the state level. The Blusts and Wilsons of the world, and other legislators who are completely ineffective is an embarassment to the amazing place we inhabit and the people who live here. I encourage everyone in these mountains to pay attention to what is going on in local politics. Know your city councilman. Call your state legislators and chat with them for awhile. Thats what they are there for, to represent us.

I am tired of them failing in that regard, but we fail ourselves when we don’t pay attention or get involved locally.




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