It wasn't heavily publicized, but there was a televised debate between the three candidates running for the Democratic nomination for the 8th Congressional District. The winner in the primary will face Republican Robin Hayes.
There has been no mud-slinging that I've heard and all three candidates are decent, honorable, hard-working men. All three seem to have the integrity and intelligence it will take to clean up the mess Republicans have made of our government and all three will work for the common good.
First, let me set you straight. I'm not some giddy little school girl - far from it. Meeting Larry Kissell made my day, yesterday. When I planned to go to the Mecklenburg County Democratic Convention I hadn't thought about the candidates who might be there. Once I saw a few shaking hands, I made a beeline for the Larry Kissell table.
He is tall. Not imposing tall, but Mr. Smith-goes-to-Washington tall. Oh...and humble...yes, the humility is palpable, as is the honesty. This isn't some slick talking, in-your-face, self-annointed savior of the 8th District. Nope, just the opposite. Larry is real.
I have received a press release from the Kissell campaign and there is good news. He has received the endorsement of the AFL-CIO and the NCAE, the North Carolina Association of Educators.
While it isn't unexpected for a progressive to earn either endorsement it is a huge feather to receive it so early in the campaign. Both endorsements will probably be followed with PAC contributions to the campaign.
Kissell: "My campaign is on the move. In just a few months we've gone from an upstart grassroots campaign to a well oiled machine that is hitting on all eight cylinders."
The Charlotte Observer has a piece this morning that makes the future of North Carolina's 8th Congressional District appear bleak. The financial numbers aren't looking good for Democrats Tim Dunn and Larry Kissell.
According to the FECinfo data compiled by the Observer, Robin Hayes had $733,837 in the bank as of 12/31/05. Tim Dunn had $47,118 and Larry Kissell had $3,653. It's a good thing the numbers don't tell the whole story.
Dunn and Kissell are running against each other in a primary. This means that the money will leave the campaign as quickly as it is coming in. I haven't seen anything by Tim Dunn that is out locally yet, but Larry Kissell is running a traditional grassroots campaign with a twist. He has also reached out to the netroots for support.
The piece points out that the main issue in the 8th has been trade and Taylor's vote in favor of CAFTA. Dunn has made a big deal out of the vote, and Kissell has even named a goat (picture at http://www.larrykissell.com) after CAFTA. Given this, is it any surprise that Taylor did not show up when Bush was here promoting CAFTA last week?
Hayes has played up his ties to the president in the past, but choose to meet with workers at a yarn mill this week when Bush visited a construction equipment plant in Kernersville.
Rep. Robin Hayes yesterday advocated for new laws that would help out North Carolina's textile industry (a good thing) and in the process revealed that he doesn't understand the importance of fair trade policies (a much bigger bad thing). Until politicians like Hayes get the message, North Carolina's economy will continue to suffer.
From The Business Journal:
U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) wants to require federal agencies to buy uniforms and other supplies from domestic manufacturers in an effort to boost the U.S. textile industry.
Man, I must have been totally asleep at the switch last Friday, because I missed the announcement that Larry Kissell of Biscoe will be running for Robin Hayes's seat in Congress. Maybe I missed it because I have no idea who Larry Kissell is. In fact, I'm surprised to learn that there's a Biscoe, NC (population 1,700). But not only do I now know who Kissell is, I think I may kind of like him.
A former textile mill manager who started teaching high school social studies when his mill moved to Mexico (free trade much?), Kissell is making his first forray into politics a big one, but in a small town way. At his campaign debut, there were speeches by Kissell's former high school principal and some of Kissell's present students, and there was a goat named CAFTA (the very first campaign contribution). How can you not like this guy?
Back in March of this year, the US House of Representatives voted to spend another 80 billion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House had a separate vote on whether to add an amendment stipulating that none of that money could be spent on torture, and the amendment passed: 240 to 2.
One of the two pro-torture Representatives was North Carolina's own Robin Hayes.
Hayes the Representative has a website, but you won't find the word "torture" there even once. So is his brazen stand in favor of US-funded torture his only record on the subject? Is torture a North Carolina value for Hayes?
The Biography page on Robin Hayes's campaign site calles him a "business man." I guess that sounded better than "multi-millionaire." A letter to the editor in the Charlotte Observer (free registration required) has some frank words for Hayes regarding his sudden concern that he's making too much money:
U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, a Concord Republican, announced recently that he had proposed legislation to reduce the salaries of members of Congress by 5 percent, in response to the federal budget deficit and the spending demands created by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.Rep. Hayes, a hosiery mill president and member of a wealthy textile family, probably can afford to cut back a little. In a recent financial report, he listed assets of between $34 million and $88 million.