July 17, 6:00-7:30pm, New Bern, Democracy New Bern Coalition Meeting
Various You Can Vote events around the state
League of Women Voters of Orange-Durham-Chatham Calendar of Events
Annually, CNBC conducts the "America's Top States for Business" study, scoring states in 10 categories of performance on what matters most for business. Sadly, in 2018 North Carolina dropped four spots to ninth. The areas hurting NC most in the study were the "D" earned in education and the "D+" earned for quality of life.
As we think about making our state competitive in business endeavors, we think about being named as one of the top 20 contenders in the Amazon HQ2 Project, with the possibility of Amazon investing $5 million in our state and bringing in 50,000 jobs. Also, we think of the possibility of Apple bringing 10,000 jobs to NC.
While the North Carolina General Assembly was prioritizing their commitment to job opportunities by providing tax breaks to attract employers, they were not focusing on large employers' social priorities for bringing these jobs to NC. Though repealed in 2017, the infamous HB2, "bathroom bill," tarnished our state's reputation and influenced the lower grade in quality of life in the CNBC study. Protecting the rights of LGBTQ people is a priority for Amazon.
More recently, we were reminded that Apple executives value equality and education as Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, spoke at the commencement ceremony at Duke University. During his speech, he discussed issues of "deep inequality" as we "fail to guarantee every student the right to a good education." Governor Cooper cited the North Carolina General Assembly's lack of investment in education as a major reason for his budget veto. Defunding public schools has been a trend in North Carolina since 2011 despite organized efforts such as the historical March for Students and Rally for Respect on the opening day of the 2018 Legislative Short Session.
Cook cautioned Duke graduates about the dangers of remaining silent and indifferent to inequality, just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did on the same campus in 1964. He then reminded them that "the time is always right to do right." His cautions and reminders are of equal importance to everyone throughout our great state of North Carolina. Let's challenge each other and our political leaders to rethink North Carolina's priorities. Prioritizing job opportunities is about more than tax cuts. It is about prioritizing education, equality, and other social issues that make companies want to invest in our state. We have a responsibility to do the right thing. Stay informed, speak out, and vote on November 6.