March 2, 2018

Newsletter: We Continue to Work

 Justice is supposed to be, getting what you deserve. Ms. Brant didn’t deserve what happened to her. Justice failed her. She was a victim of the system of white supremacy. A system that incarcerates people of color disproportionally. She held no bitterness and she knew she was going to make a difference. Ramona died a free woman. We can do better.

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February 23, 2018

Newsletter: Teachers & Guns

The General Assembly is not in session right now. We are scheduled to return on May 16 for the “Short Session.” The Short Session is what we call the legislative session in an even-numbered year. It typically starts in May and focuses on taking up unfinished business from the previous year’s “Long Session” and amending Year Two of the two year budget passed the year before.

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February 9, 2018

Newsletter: Dirty Tricks Can’t Stop Us

For months now our local schools have been grappling with the Class Size Chaos problem caused by the legislature. Simply put, Republicans passed budgets to mandate lower class sizes without providing money to pay for those lower class sizes and specialty teachers like art and music. House Republicans and legislative Democrats were willing to give local schools flexibility to choose between the kindergarten teacher and the art teacher. Senate Republicans were not.

After months of political pressure from PTAs, parents, teachers, local school officials, Governor Cooper, and legislative Democrats – the Republicans finally agreed to fix the problem. This is exciting news!

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February 3, 2018

Press release: NC Rep. John Autry, District 100, to seek re-election

State Representative John Autry, District 100, has announced his plans to seek re-election. First elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2016, Representative Autry has an impressive list of sponsored bills and committee assignments.

“There is much to be done in Raleigh and I want to be a part of making North Carolina the leader it once was in our country,” states Representative Autry. “My priorities include:

Making sure that we provide schools with what they need to ensure that every child in North Carolina is prepared to fulfill themselves and are ready to contribute to the NC economy,

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February 1, 2018

Newsletter: The Never-Ending Session

The General Assembly remains in session – which is unusual. Most even-numbered years we have a “Short Session” that starts in May and ends around August. Despite being in session at taxpayer expense, very little is going on. There are no votes on bills and only a few committees are meeting.

I continue to work on constituent issues and attend committee meetings when they are scheduled. Here is an update on happenings around the state.

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January 27, 2018

Newsletter: Hurry, Hurry, Wait. It’s A Waste of Tax Payer Money

The General Assembly is in session and we are meeting in committees. Session is convened, but five minutes later we adjourn only to be told to reconvene another day.  No legislation has moved forward for a vote. This is a waste of tax payer money and our time. It is frustrating as we have critical issues before us like class-size chaos disrupting local school planning for next year and water contamination threatening our rivers and wells. When I travel to Raleigh I would like to work on these issues.

Legislative leaders appear committed to gerrymandering our state judges’ districts. This would be the latest in a long line of bills to make our judges more partisan and less independent. And, plan to go as far as changing our State’s constitution to do so.

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January 22, 2018

Newsletter: You Need to Know This

Education Week released its 2018 report on education across the states and the news is not good for North Carolina. You can read the Quality Counts 2018 report here.

The national average grade in the report was a 74.5 or a C. North Carolina scored 70.6 for a C minus. Those marks placed us 40th nationally. A news article on the bad news pointed out as recently as 2011, North Carolina was 19th.

North Carolina did particularly poorly in the area of school financing, ranking 45th in the country. This comes as no surprise as recent budgets have prioritized tax cuts for millionaires and out-of-state over K-12 funding. That is why we have Class Size Chaos – a situation where we cannot fund lower class sizes AND special education positions like art, music, and PE.

It took years to make North Carolina a leader in the southeast in education. It has taken just a few, though, to move us backwards.

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January 16, 2018

Newsletter: Illegal Districts, Contaminated Water, What’s Next?

The General Assembly has drawn unconstitutional districts for Congress (twice!), the General Assembly, and local areas like Wake and Guilford counties. This week a three judge panel struck down the Congressional lines because Republicans drew 10 out of 13 seats to elect Republicans in a state that is relatively balanced.

The court ordered new maps to be drawn by January 24.  Republican legislative leaders may appeal this order to the U.S. Supreme Court and seek to put it on hold as the Court considers similar redistricting cases in Maryland (a Democratic gerrymander) and Wisconsin (a Republican gerrymander).

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January 11, 2018

In the News: John Autry calls for coal ash cleanup and stricter standards

Along with Appalachian Voices and The Sierra Club, we held a press conference this morning at the General Assembly marking 1,000 days (almost 3 years) of North Carolinians who are required to use bottled water for drinking and cooking. These citizens live within proximity of unlined coal ash ponds and their drinking water has been compromised by the toxicity of coal ash.

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