Gary Johnson, the former two-term governor of New Mexico who is running for president as a candidate representing the Libertarian Party, was in Charlotte over the weekend and took a few minutes to answer some questions posed by Dome. Here’s one:
Q: Some of your supporters hoped you would run for U.S. Senate as a Republican rather than president as a Libertarian. Would you have been better able to affect change by running for Senate?
A: I think the root of all evil is Congress. More than we would like to think, the Senate is about what you can bring home for your state instead of what’s best for the country. I don’t want to be a contributor to that. The last thing I want to do is to contribute to the problems we have. Running for president and promising to submit a balanced budget in 2013 gives voters a real alternative. Obama in no way supports a balanced budget, and Romney says it’s important but that we need to increase spending for military. I finished second grade and the math that went along with that, and I know it’s impossible. ... By running for president I can keep bringing attention to issues that are being ignored. I would get out of Afghanistan and bring the troops home. I’ve consistently supported marriage equality. I would end the drug war. Who else can say that?
For the rest of Dome’s Q&A, go to http://bit.ly/OOEusp.
Goode plans write-in candidacy
Don’t care for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? Or Gary Johnson? Maybe former six-term Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode will be to your taste.
Goode will be in Raleigh on Monday to file his paperwork and petitions at the State Board of Elections to be a certified write-in candidate for president at 1 p.m. and will hold news conference at 1:30
Goode is the nominee of the Constitution Party. He’s the last member of Congress to serve as a Democrat, as a Republican and as an independent.
“I offer a real difference from Romney and Obama,” Goode said. “North Carolina’s harsh ballot access laws made it nearly impossible to get my name on the ballot. Therefore, I have petitioned to be a certified write-in for the State of North Carolina.’’
“It’s time for grass roots America to have a standing in our government,” he said in as statement. “I favor the many over the special few that are the primary funding sources for the Obama and Romney campaigns.”
Goode is a native of Richmond and an attorney. He was a major supporter of tobacco, a defender of gun rights, opposed abortion and was a backer of Douglas Wilder, who became the first black governor of Virginia.
New leader for fracking department
The state office that will help with fracking rules is undergoing a leadership change and a name change.
Longtime state employee Tracy Davis has been promoted to lead the N.C. Division of Land Resources, part of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Davis is a career staff member in the division’s Land Quality section, and has worked for DENR for nearly 25 years. He replaces Jim Simons, who retired May 31.
Under the new fracking law, the Division of Land Resources will be called the Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources on Aug. 1.
The division will work for the new Mining and Energy Commission, one of the groups that will write rules for fracking.
Pension fund to ban Iran support
State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced last week the North Carolina pension fund will prohibit investment in companies supporting Iranian military or oil.
Dozens of state- and federal-level government agencies with investment funds have recently adopted similar policies. Groups such as the American-Israeli Political Action Committee have led the movement toward divestment as well as other policies to negatively affect Iran’s economy.
Julia Vail, treasury department spokeswoman, said Cowell noticed policies elsewhere and consulted groups such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and United Against Nuclear Iran to form a plan for North Carolina.
Over the next 120 days, the treasury department is identifying companies with direct holdings with $20 million or more invested in Iran over any 12-month period since the passage of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996. That act prohibits trade between U.S. and Iranian companies, but many companies with U.S. subsidiaries are exempt from the law.
Once Cowell has built a list and companies have been given an opportunity to respond, the pension fund will give written notice urging divestment over a 90-day period.
Asked whether the pension fund currently invests in companies with known ties to Iran, Vail said it was impossible to know, even with a preliminary list that is taking form.
“We have not yet given companies a chance to clarify the facts,” Vail said. “We do not want to speculate at this time about holdings that may be affected by the list.”
Staff writers Austin Baird, Rob Christensen and Lynn Bonner
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