Under the Dome

Cape Lookout Lighthouse inspires political cooperation

From staff reportsJuly 6, 2010 

There is something about lighthouses that breeds bipartisanship.

North Carolina's U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, and Richard Burr, a Republican, are scheduled Wednesday to tour the newly renovated Cape Lookout Lighthouse, which has been shining its beacon since 1859. They will be joined on the boat ride from Harkers Island by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, the Republican who represents the district.

Coming together for lighthouses is a bit of a tradition. Even as they were girding for a titanic political struggle, Republican Sen. Jesse Helms and Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt in 1981 co-led the "Save the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Committee."

The committee helped raise $500,000 in private donations to prevent the lighthouse from falling into the sea. But that proved only a stopgap. Congress appropriated $11.8 million to move the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1999.

NCCU birthday souvenirs

The U.S. Postal Service has joined in the celebration for N.C. Central University's 100th Birthday Bash.

Guests who attend the university celebration Thursday can have a self-stamped envelope marked with an official commemorative centennial cancellation.

The special cancellation stamp includes an image of Dr. James E. Shepard, the school's founder, and the words "100 Years." It also designates NCCU as "Centennial Celebration Station" for July 8.

Acting Durham Postmaster Michael King will unveil the special cancellation stamp at the start of the event. Later, a postal clerk will cancel stamped envelopes presented by partygoers.

In addition, the Postal Service will give away a large framed poster of its Malcolm X stamp, one in a series of "Black Heritage" postage stamps. Everyone who has an envelope canceled will receive a ticket for the raffle.

Tweets for the GOP

During the last presidential election,many Republicans felt they were behind the Democrats when it came to using such tools as Facebook, Twitter and blogging.

So, the N.C. Republican Party hopes to do something about it. This summer party officials plan to hold workshops in Wilmington, Raleigh, Greenville, Winston-Salem, Hendersonville, Fayetteville and Cornelius to train candidates, activists and leaders to use new media to reach voters.

The training session in Raleigh will be held at 6:30 p.m. July 20, at state GOP headquarters.

Matters of trust

North Carolinians tend to trust Republicans on taxes and immigration, while they tend to trust Democrats on education, a new poll suggests.

But on issues such as creating jobs, fostering economic growth and fighting corruption, voters view the two major parties equally, according to new poll conducted for the Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based conservative advocacy group.

The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted by Tel Opinion Research of Alexandria, Va., June 15-18. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Asked which party in North Carolina they trusted to hold down taxes, 42 percent said the Republican Party, 29 percent said Democratic Party, and the rest said not sure, or neither, or both equally.

Republicans were also seen as having the edge on controlling immigration, with 36 percent of the respondents saying they trusted Republicans on the issue and 28 percent saying they trusted Democrats.

Democrats were more trusted than Republicans to improve education by a margin of 36 percent to 28 percent.

But when North Carolinians were asked which party they trust to create jobs and help the economy grow, there was little difference. Thirty-six percent said they trusted the Democratic Party and 34 percent said they trusted the Republican Party.

Even though there have been a series of Democratic scandals, voters don't give an edge to either party when asked which party they trust to fight government corruption.

Thirty percent said Democrats, and 28 percent said Republicans.

"There is a clear-cut anti-incumbent sentiment right now against both major parties," said Chris Hayes, a senior legislative analyst with the Civitas Institute.

By staff writers Rob Christensen and Jane Stancil

rob.christensen@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4532

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