Under the Dome

Dome: 21-year-old millionaire pledges help to Rep. Walter Jones

Staff writersMay 30, 2013 

It looks as though Rep. Walter Jones will be getting some financial help if he faces a serious GOP primary challenge.

John Ramsey, 21, a millionaire with libertarian leanings and his own super PAC, has pledged help Jones win re-election. And he has signed up Raleigh businessman and conservative fundraiser Bob Luddy to help him.

Ramsey announced Thursday that his Super PAC, Liberty For All Action Fund, would back Jones, the Farmville Republican who has sometimes angered party regulars with his anti-war stance and other maverick positions.

“Congressman Jones is one of the few members of Congress with a moral compass, and we’ll do whatever’s necessary to defend him,” Ramsey said in a statement.

He also announced that Luddy was joining the fund as a member of the national finance committee.

Ramsey, who is still an undergraduate at Stephen F. Austin University in Texas, used his inherited fortune to have his PAC spend $3.1 million last cycle on four congressional races and five state legislative races.

Red Route compromise OK’d

The state Senate voted 44-5 Thursday to approve a compromise with the House on legislation to let the state Department of Transportation resume planning work on the Triangle Expressway Southeast Extension, which will take the 540 Outer Loop across southern Wake County. A House vote is expected Monday.

The language was recommended by House and Senate conferees to settle differences between the two chambers. The measure repeals a 2011 law that stopped DOT from considering the unpopular Red Route, which would take the six-lane toll road through Garner, destroying homes, parks and churches. The repeal bill has been stalled since February, when the House rejected Senate language that would cancel other toll-road projects.

The Red Route ban was intended only to keep DOT from running the new expressway through Garner, but it had the effect of halting DOT efforts to build it on any route. Federal regulators insisted on a full DOT study of the Red Route as an alternative to the more popular Orange Route, which would damage sensitive wetlands.

State and Wake County government leaders and DOT officials have said they’ll never approve construction of the Red Route, but they’ll allow road planners to study it. Garner residents supported the law blocking DOT study of the Red Route. Two of the five votes against its repeal Thursday came from Garner’s two senators, Democrat Dan Blue and Republican Chad Barefoot.

The new compromise language duplicates provisions of the Senate-approved budget, which is now being considered in the House, and the House-approved Strategic Mobility Formula bill.

Petitions aimed at education

ProgressNC is trying to keep the cap on K-3 class sizes. Action NC is trying to stop vouchers.

These groups have online petitions to show opposition.

Though the provision talking the lid off class sizes is in the Senate budget, ProgressNC has aimed its petition at Gov. Pat McCrory. The group says it wants 7,500 names by Friday. The online tally showed it had 9,698 midday Thursday.

Action NC is aiming its petition at the House. It had 1,645 names and is aiming for 2,000.

Staff writers Rob Christensen, Bruce Siceloff and Lynn Bonner

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