Looking back at 2013, its hard to encapsulate such a watershed year in North Carolina politics. Outside pundits called the state the best political story in the nation, given the shift in state policy and political direction under the guidance of Republican leaders.
Dome chronicled it all the big stories that drew banner headlines and the behind-the-scenes anecdotes that pulled back the curtain. Heres a look at the Top 5 Domes from 2013 based on reader clicks, and why they garnered so much attention.
Amid the government shutdown, members of Congress were pledging to return their paychecks, partly to show solidarity with furloughed federal workers and partly for the politics.
U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Dunn Republican, refused. The thing of it is, I need my paycheck. That is the bottom line, Ellmers told a Raleigh TV station in October. She wasnt the only one, but her words stuck a chord, and within the day she reversed course.
Shortly after taking office, Gov. Pat McCrorys off-hand remark to a conservative talk radio host about the states venerable UNC system drew an outcry. I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs, McCrory said in January. He continued later, If you want to take gender studies thats fine, go to a private school and take it. But I dont want to subsidize that if thats not going to get someone a job.
To critics, the words amounted to an attack on liberal education. And campus communities reacted with vitriol.
In a high-drama legislative session, a bill to tighten standards on abortion clinics took the show. Hours after the governor threatened to veto one version, House lawmakers debuted a revamped abortion bill without any advance notice in July as the session neared an end.
The abortion language was attached to a motorcycle safety measure, the juxtaposition of which became a rallying cry for critics. The legislation made national news when the House voted later the same day to approve it and send it to the Senate, which just days before had approved its own version in a bill tacked on to another dealing with Islamic law.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell came to North Carolina and used a business forum in August to criticize the states new voting law. He took the stage after McCrory but didnt mince words, saying the law makes it more difficult to vote and immediately turns off a voting bloc the Republican Party needs.
Powell also rebuked others in his party, saying there is no voter fraud. His remarks made him the most high-profile Republican to criticize the states new election law and added to the debate about its effects.
Under fire from critics for supporting an abortion bill, McCrory sought to make peace with the protesters outside the gate of the executive mansion by taking them a plate of cookies. Considered a gaffe by some observers, the gesture came across as condescending to the protesters, who returned them with a note that said, We want womens health care, not cookies.
Staff writer John Frank
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