Under the Dome

Dome: Former Foxx chief taking helm of NC GOP

From Staff ReportsAugust 5, 2013 

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx’s former chief of staff is taking the helm at the N.C. Republican Party.

Todd Poole will serve as executive director, managing the day-to-day party activities and staff for GOP Chairman Claude Pope.

Poole is a Hickory native who recently opened his own political consulting firm, Red Dome Group.

Most recently, he served on Foxx’s staff and previously worked as an aide to then-Rep. Richard Burr. He also worked in North Carolina on the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004.

“We are excited to welcome Todd as the new executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party,” Pope said in a statement Monday. “Todd’s experience, knowledge of the state and political instincts will serve our party well as we work to elect Republicans at all levels of government with a keen eye on defeating Senator Kay Hagan in 2014.”

The party’s Central Committee selected Poole at its July meeting in Wilmington. Poole started work a week ago alongside former party Chief of Staff Mike Rusher. In an interview, Rusher said he is pursuing other opportunities.

It’s not uncommon for a new party chairman to bring in a new executive director.

Gov. Pat McCrory recently named Poole to the state’s Chiropractic Examiner’s Board.

Hagan’s jobs bill survives

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said Monday that her AMERICA Works Act made it out of a Senate committee last week.

The bill encourages national industries, including construction, automotive and aerospace to come together and agree upon the skills employees need and then make sure those skills are developed at local community colleges.

“The so-called ‘skills gap’ is something I hear from business owners who tell me they have trouble filling positions due to a lack of qualified workers,” Hagan said in a teleconference.

“Families shouldn’t be struggling to find jobs while employers struggle to find qualified workers, and my AMERICA Works Act will help close the skills gap.”

The measure, which she introduced in 2011, was folded into the Workforce Investment Act, which was approved by the Senate Health Education and Pensions Commission by an 18-3 vote.

Hagan, a Democrat, co-sponsored the bill along with the Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada and Democrat Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

Time mag notes state’s shift

Time magazine is the latest to remark on the state’s political turn to the right.

The current edition offers the headline: “Purple No More: North Carolina Republicans push through a host of deep red measures.”

The article begins: “Four years ago, liberals thought that North Carolina was in transition, a red state slowly turning blue in President Obama’s ‘new America.’ But Obama lost the state in 2012 to Mitt Romney. And this year, in a single legislative session, the Tar Heel State left no doubt about its new tilt to the right.”

The article, illustrated with a photograph of McCrory giving a thumbs up, goes on to recite a familiar list.

It notes that the GOP blocked expansion of Medicaid, reduced access to federal unemployment benefits, cut the corporate tax rate, trimmed public-education funding, allowed concealed weapons in bars and parks, etc.

Time’s take is a bit more reserved than that offered by late-night cable shows, such as Bill Maher’s recent “Real Time” segment, which started by comparing the state to a third world country, “where Democracy itself hangs in the balance,” and laid the blame on McCrory’s budget director Art Pope.

Staff writers John Frank and Rob Christensen

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