Letters to the Editor

2/2 Letters: Democrats have ‘already’ pledged to end gerrymandering

The editorial “Democrats should pledge to put an end to gerrymandering” (Jan. 28) overlooks an important fact: we already have. The NC Democratic Party, Democratic lawmakers, and Governor Cooper have all voiced their commitment to independent redistricting and an end to partisan and racial gerrymandering.

The official NC Democratic Party platform includes support for an independent redistricting commission. Governor Cooper has promised that – with a majority in the legislature – Democrats will empower an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission. And many Democratic lawmakers, with the support of their caucuses, have proposed legislation to implement independent redistricting. Each time, Republicans refuse to hear it.

NC Democrats believe that the people should get to pick their politicians, not the other way around. We are committed to bringing competitive elections and fair maps to North Carolina. People frustrated by years of Republican efforts to rig our elections should help us break the Republican majority in 2018. Only then can North Carolina finally put an end to gerrymandering.

Wayne Goodwin

Chair, North Carolina Democratic Party

Start offshore drilling

Regarding “Cooper calls for NC offshore drilling exemption” (Jan. 23): I am a naturalized U.S. citizen and have lived in North Carolina for 37 years now. Before moving to Raleigh, we lived in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where my husband served as a US Marine Corps pilot. We have raised four children here and are now the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren, all of whom live here. My family loves our county and our state. It is for this reason that I wrote this letter.

For some time now, jobs and the economy have been the top issue for North Carolinians. While places such as Charlotte and Raleigh have seen an influx in young people able to find work, the rest of North Carolina continues to suffer. Fortunately, President Trump and the administration have identified one positive way to bring more jobs to our great state – through offshore energy exploration and production. The federal government announced earlier this month that they were once again going to look at the idea of energy exploration off the North Carolina coast.

Since that announcement, this newspaper has been filled with editorials and reports opposed to this plan. While I also support North Carolina tourism, it can go hand-in-hand with offshore energy exploration and production. In fact, offshore energy can create not only better-paying jobs but also bring an influx of capital investment to our state. As more investment comes to North Carolina, we could see more businesses open and people finding jobs outside of the bigger cities. This, in turn, can continue to stimulate our tourism industry.

While our cities may be progressing, our eastern North Carolina economy’s foundation is the same today as it was centuries ago. We can’t continue to rely solely on agriculture – we need new, advanced jobs that can be provided by offshore energy that will bring more vibrancy back to our rural areas.

Donna Williams

Former chair

Wake County Republican Party (2013-2015)

Abolish death penalty

Regarding “Convicted of 2 murder charges, Richardson spared death penalty to serve 2 life sentences” (Jan. 25): I strongly believe that the death penalty system is broken and needs to come to an end. Opposition for the death penalty continues to grow; support is the lowest is has been in 20 years. Nine Wake juries in a row have voted for life sentences instead of the death penalty.

The death penalty does nothing to enhance public safety. We all want neighborhoods that are safe. Instead of funding the death penalty, provide opportunities for better education, grow the economy to produce more jobs with living wages and provide for affordable housing and access to mental health support and services. The death penalty is a failed public policy that wastes taxpayer money. I would rather see our state funding be used on services that will help crime victims and keep our streets safe. The death penalty accomplishes neither.

We already have a sentence of life without parole for people who commit heinous crimes. This sentence ensures that violent offenders will be taken off the streets for good, but also means that if a mistake is made and an innocent person is convicted, the state is able to correct the problem.

Lauren Etheridge