A Democratic activist says Wake County Board of Commissioners member Paul Coble’s re-election campaign website overstates his academic credentials, but Coble says it’s really a question of semantics.
Greg Flynn of Raleigh writes on his blog, gregflynn.wordpress.com, that Coble’s campaign has been “claiming an apparently non-existent degree as one of his qualifications.” Flynn also wrote a letter to The News & Observer saying Coble’s “false claim” to a degree was repeated in the newspaper’s recent Voters Guide.
Coble, a Republican seeking re-election in District 7, is an insurance broker. His website, paulcobleforwakecounty.com, says that after earning his degree in business from Wake Forest University, he “earned a RHU (Registered Health Underwriter) degree from Northeastern University in 1992.”
Walt Woerheide, vice president of academics and dean at The American College of Financial Services, which now owns the program through which the Registered Health Underwriter status was awarded, said that Coble completed the coursework and is in good standing. But Woerhelde said that Coble holds a designation, not an academic degree.
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To get the designation, Coble took three distance classes, administered at the time through Northeastern though not part of the university’s degree program. At the time, the program was owned by the National Association of Health Underwriters, which sold it in the mid-1990s to The American College. The American College stopped awarding the designation at the end of 2013 and now offers another in its place.
Coble takes additional coursework to renew the designation every two years.
“What’s your definition of a degree?” Coble said. “Is it a recognition of an educational achievement? If not, then tell me what you want me to call it to make you feel better. I have the diploma. I did the work.”
Parties spar over teacher pay
With next month’s election determining who will control the Wake County Board of Commissioners, the Democratic and Republican parties are trading barbs about teacher pay.
The Wake County Democratic Party recently issued a press release with a chart showing how commissioners have received $1,975 in raises since 2010 compared to a $398 increase in the average teacher salary supplement paid by the county. This comes as the GOP majority on the commissioners has touted how this year has raised the amount they supplement teacher pay by $3.75 million.
“Unfortunately the GOP majority on the County Commission has followed the lead of their allies in the legislature and only paid lip service to teacher pay in an election year,” Wake Democratic Party Chair Dan Blue III said in the release.
The Wake County Republican Party countered with a press release saying that Democrats didn’t mention in their analysis the total compensation that teachers receive, which mostly comes from the state. Wake County GOP Chairwoman Donna Williams said commissioners make less than the lowest-paid teacher.
“The latest attack by the Democrats insults the intelligence of Wake County voters,” Williams said.
Local forum from Germany
Former Durham resident Hartmut Jahn, now back in his native Germany, apparently still has interest in what happens in the Triangle. He has created an interactive website, neighborship.org, as an open forum for people to comment on the political races leading up to the Nov. 4 general election.
The site covers races in Durham, Orange and Wake counties.
“It does not advocate for or against a particular person but simply lists all of the candidates and provides a forum for you, the voters, to speak out and discuss the candidates in their area,” Jahn wrote in an announcement he posted to the InterNeighborhood Council email list.
Compiled by Martha Quillin, T. Keung Hui and Jim Wise
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