Under the Dome

Berger likely to lead state Senate for two more years

November 27, 2012 

Phil Berger of Eden is on the way to remain the state Senate’s top leader for another two years.

Incumbents and newly elected Republican senators meeting Tuesday in Raleigh nominated Berger for the post of Senate president pro tempore. A spokesman for the Senate Republican Caucus said Berger faced no opposition.

The actual chamber election will be in January, but Berger is expected to win because the GOP will have at least 32 of the 50 votes.

Berger is an attorney who joined the Senate in 2001 and was first elected Senate leader in January 2011.

The caucus also nominated Sen. Louis Pate of Mount Olive as deputy president. Members also re-elected Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville as majority leader and Sen. Jerry Tillman of Archdale as majority whip.

GOP headed to Charlotte

Apparently Charlotte is a nonpartisan city.

Just months after playing host the Democratic National Convention, the Queen City will host the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the RNC, announced Tuesday that 2013 RNC winter meeting will be held at the Westin Charlotte Hotel from Jan. 23 to 26.

Details of the agenda have not been set, but the party will continue etching out plans for reclaiming the White House and seats lost in the U.S. Senate.

Among the decisions made at the meeting will be whether Priebus – a Wisconsin politico who replaced Michael Steele as the leader of the GOP in 2010 – will hold on for a second term at the helm. He announced earlier this month he wants another two years.

Voting members of the RNC undergo a series of votes until the next chairman is decided.

Teachers rep, Dems to meet

A representative of the group that represents state teachers will visit members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation as part of an effort to avoid cuts to education spending and to advocate for an end to tax breaks given to the wealthy as negotiations over how to address the so-called fiscal cliff are lingering.

Mark Jewell, vice president of the N.C. Association of Educators, will meet Wednesday with Sen. Kay Hagan, and Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Larry Kissell – all Democrats – to deliver a simple message: “The state budget for education has grown tighter, and the federal government has had to pick [it] up,” he said. “There’s nothing left to cut outside of the classroom.”

Jewell said he supports the Democratic push for tax breaks given to the wealthy to expire, saying that it’s “time for everyone to pay their fair share to help public education.”

The National Education Association, of which NCAE is a member, estimates the effects to North Carolina would be harsh:

• $33.5 million in cuts, affecting nearly 45,000 low-income students;

• $26.8 million in cuts, affecting nearly 14,000 students with special needs; and

• $14.1 million in cuts, denying nearly 1,700 the proven benefits of Head Start.

Jewell said those cuts specifically would be realized through federal funding provided to schools in low-income communities, programs for children with disabilities, and the Head Start Program.

Staff writer Austin Baird

Send tips to dome@newsobserver.com.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service