Columnist: Tom Campbell

Aug. 23, 2014 @ 12:20 AM

There has to be a better way to run a state

Exhausted legislators finally saw the closing gavel and heard the fat lady sing the “sine die,” followed quickly by the Hallelujah chorus striking up the perennial tune, “There has to be a better way to run a state.”

Jul. 20, 2014 @ 12:51 AM

Dog tired these days and barking

They call this time of year the “dog days” of summer, long days filled with heat and humidity. When our legislature is still in session lawmakers get dog-tired, resulting in a lot of barking due to short tempers.

Jul. 12, 2014 @ 07:40 AM

‘Stupid hats’ or thinking caps?

Gov. Pat McCrory’s admonition for people not to put on their “stupid hat” during Hurricane Arthur was easily understood, timely and right on target. It started us thinking where else we might be wearing “stupid hats.”

Jun. 28, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

The 2014 legislative Summer Olympic games

State  Sen. Jerry Tillman says getting accurate Medicaid budget numbers is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. His statement, both accurate and amusing, doesn’t reflect last week’s entertainment in Raleigh.  

Jun. 14, 2014 @ 01:08 AM

House hits a wicked curve and scores a P.R. coup

It was late in the game. The House was at bat to take its cut at the state budget. The State Senate team had thrown them a wicked curveball. Did the House have the skill and the moxie to respond in this modern-day “Casey-at-the-bat” scenario?

May. 31, 2014 @ 10:13 AM

North Carolina’s best-kept military secret

Memorial Day is the time for remembrances but unless you were around at the time or a student of history you will neither remember nor know one of North Carolina’s best kept and most fascinating military secrets: the story of Camp Davis, built practically overnight in the woods of Onslow County, then almost as quickly abandoned and dismantled.

May. 24, 2014 @ 08:51 AM

All of us are visitors in “The People’s House”

More than perhaps any other public facility, the Legislative Building and Capitol are symbols of our government at work. While everyone owns them, no person or group has permanent rights to them. Following last year’s demonstrations and arrests a group of 10 lawmakers hastily revised rules for the Legislative Building, sometimes dubbed “The People’s House,” but their actions neither satisfied nor did much to clarify the use of this most public building.

May. 18, 2014 @ 12:04 PM

What legislators should (but won’t) do

At the beginning of every legislative session it is good to take stock of where North Carolina is and where it is headed. No doubt legislative leadership will point with pride to their 2013 legislative accomplishments but before taking a victory lap perhaps they need to consider the bigger picture.

Apr. 19, 2014 @ 11:13 AM

Little of value can emerge from today’s debates

I don’t blame Thom Tillis for refusing to attend one of the three televised GOP Senate primary debates. The only mystery is why he (or any candidate) is bothering with any of them.

Apr. 06, 2014 @ 11:19 AM

For want of the public trust, what was lost?

The Duke Energy coal ash saga reminds us of the old poem, “For Want of a Nail.”

No doubt you remember that because of a missing horseshoe nail a horse, a rider, a message, a battle, a war and a kingdom were lost. In our modern-day proverb we would suggest beginning by saying that for want of doing the right thing the public trust was lost.

Mar. 23, 2014 @ 03:02 PM

Burr’s prescription: Get healthier with a Medical Home

Sen. Richard Burr understands that America’s greatest challenge is healthcare and has made it his personal mission to help find solutions to our broken healthcare system. He travels the state seeking input from health professionals and patients, studies new approaches, even offering substitute proposals to The Affordable Care Act. This is obviously more than politics with Burr.

Mar. 10, 2014 @ 02:15 PM

Dial down the Dan River blame game

Enough with the hysteria, finger pointing and partisanship. The Duke Energy coal ash spill needs immediate action, there’s blame enough to go around and we need to focus on fixing problems.

Mar. 02, 2014 @ 11:36 AM

Why do we need vouchers for private schools?

Momma always said you can learn more listening than you can speaking, so now that a judge has called a temporary halt to North Carolina’s school voucher program let’s spend time in listening to both sides of this issue. And the best way to get information is to ask questions.

Feb. 16, 2014 @ 12:09 AM

Amanda Ripley’s believe it or not

The subject was compelling, the issue timely and the conservation was sometimes provocative at this year’s Emerging Issues Forum focusing on teachers and the great economic debate. Not unlike her famous namesake Robert, noted researcher and author Amanda Ripley presented an assessment of education some found difficult to believe or accept.

Feb. 02, 2014 @ 12:49 PM

A capital budget would be a capital idea

Gov. Pat McCrory is correct in pointing out the deplorable conditions in many state buildings and properties. For too long we have failed to maintain and improve current properties in favor of either building new facilities or, in tight economic times, doing practically nothing.