Early Voting Dates: October 15-31 Throughout Buncome County
Last Day to Vote: November 3 at Your Poll
Raleigh Report from Rep. John Ager of Fairview. Early August 2020
A Pause In the Short Session
as originally published in the Fairview Town Crier
By Rep. John Ager
Unless the governor calls for a special session, the NC House and Senate have adjourned until September 2. Like so many of our neighbors, our state faces a time of unknown future perils. Unless the US Congress steps in at the last minute, the $600 weekly unemployment supplement will end in July. And how will our schools re-open, keeping our children, teachers and stay safe while keeping the coronavirus spread in check? Will I get to watch my grandson play Reynolds soccer this fall? How much of a hit will the state budget take? Are we in for a big virus spike in the fall? Will people wear masks?
Someday, we will talk about 2020 with some nostalgia, and we will know how the pandemic actually played out in our lives. But we are not there yet. The answers have yet to emerge.
The 2020 NC General Assembly began in late April, and there was a wonderful bipartisan spirit pulling legislators together to face the pandemic. COVID-19 committees met to work out policies to help our state manage the challenge. The federal CARES Act sent billions of dollars to the state treasury to spend on COVID-related relief. With the state budget facing a $4 to $5 billion shortfall, it would be federal dollars to the rescue.
As a side note, I am still shocked at the speed with which the federal government raised $3 trillion to prop up the economy, with a second rescue package possible. The rationale for this unprecedented action is that a complete economic collapse would make recovery slow and painful, much like during the years of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Also, adding more debt was an acceptable option, as interest rates are so low, the credit of the US is so high, and investors are looking for a safe haven for their investments in a time of uncertainty. If the economy can rebound and the government can start to pay down that debt, it will be easier if the political will that’s necessary to make the policy changes is put in place.
The tax cuts enacted in 2017 were already racking up record federal debts, so the political challenges will have to be front and center in 2021.
One of NC’s biggest failures during the crisis has been the handling of unemployment claims by the Department of Employment Security. As your representative, I want to apologize for that failure. Granted, the challenge was enormous, and the process cumbersome, but the call-in failures and website glitches never seemed to end. As your representative, I apologize to so many who were desperate to keep their families finnancially afloat. I spent much of my time back in May trying to help applicants receive the money they deserve. I had a contact person to send information to in order to expedite wait times and break through the logjam. I was able to help many of my constituents, but I wonder how many others did not know about this shortcut and suffered as a result.
Please let me know of anyone still waiting to hear about their unemployment benefit.
I should add that NC has by most accounts the stingiest benefit programs of any state, and part of our unfinished business is to extend the time and increase the weekly funds. Much of my effort in Raleigh has been to protect the emergency powers granted by the legislature to expedite the response to the pandemic. North Carolina was able to "flatten the curve” and prevent hospital beds from being overwhelmed back in the spring. That success has allowed us to slowly reopen the economy, which unfortunately has not worked out as well as I had hoped. And we are surrounded by states that were less cautious and now have a level of community spread not easily managed with testing and tracing. Many of these people are coming to WNC and may be bringing the virus with them. I have heard that our hotels are once again near capacity.
The General Assembly passed a range of bills to limit the governor’s emergency powers and try to force open bars, bowling alleys, gyms and minor league ballparks and allow for Fourth of July parades. The General Assembly also wanted the Council of State to sign of on all executive orders.
If those powers had been granted, North Carolina might look more like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas in its deaths and new cases. Governor Cooper vetoed these bills, and the bill’s supporters were not able to get enough votes to override the vetoes.
We will not be able to open the economy until the new cases start to flatten again, and we all need to be vigilant in hand washing, masking, and maintaining six feet of distancing.
I am an at-risk person, and I am counting on you to get me through unscathed.
I continue to enjoy my service to you all.
Rep. John Ager, District 115 North Carolina House of Representatives
Website Update November 2019
The North Carolina legislature has finally adjourned its 2019 session, and next year’s election now lies ahead.2020 looms as one of the most consequential elections in our state’s and nation’s history. The basic values of our democracy will be on the line.
In 2014 I was fed up with the hyper-partisan and vindictive Republican-held NC General Assembly, and with the support of a great many friends, I was elected to represent NC House District 115. Joining my Democratic colleagues, we took the first steps towards returning our state to its traditional leadership role in the South. The journey continues, and we must make 2020 our year.
After a decade of election rigging, 2020 marks a new decade for drawing political districts, mandated after the 2020 Census. The time has come, once and for all, to end gerrymandering in North Carolina.
After a decade of trampling on human rights in our state, 2020 could allow for the full repeal of HB2 and the final passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
After a decade of short-changing our teachers and wreaking havoc with our proud UNC University system, 2020 could renew our pledge for educational opportunity for everyone.
2020 can be the end to a decade of tax breaks for the wealthy. We can fight back against the fossil fuel interests who have blocked progress to combat climate change. Renewable energy is not just the future anymore.
Coal Ash deposits, fracking, and polluted water need to be relegated to the past, as we continue the clean-up our state.
I am excited about what can be accomplished in the next decade. I hope you will once again support me in my 2020 re-election bid for NC House 115, so that together we can move North Carolina forward.
Rep. John Ager
2020 General Electon Voting Information
Voting Hours fro October 15 through October 30
MONDAYS - FRIDAYS: 8AM to 7:30PM
SATURDAY Oct. 17 & 24 10AM to 3PM
SUNDAYS 10AM to 3 PM
Voting hours for last day of Early Voting
Saturday, Oct. 31 8AM to 3PM
Early Voting Locations - You Can Register and Vote All-At-Once During Early Voting
1. ASHEVILLE MALL (Old McAlister's Entrance/ Next to Old Navy) 3 S. Tunnel Rd, Asheville 28805
2. ASHEVILLE OUTLET MALL (Next to Levi's Store) 800 Brevard Rd, #250 Asheville 28806
3. BEE TREE FIRE DEPARTMENT 510 Bee Tree Rd Swannanoa 28778
4. BLACK MOUNTAIN LIBRARY 105 N. Dougherty St Black Mountain 28711
5. DR. WESLEY GRANT SR. CENTER 285 Livingston St Asheville 28801
6. ENKA-CANDLER LIBRARY 1404 Sand Hill Rd Candler 28715
7. FAIRVIEW COMMUNITY CENTER 1357 Charlotte Hwy Fairview 28730
8. HARRAH'S CHEROKEE CENTER ASHEVILLE (Civic Center) 87 Haywood St Asheville 28801
9. LAND OF SKY REGIONAL COUNCIL 339 New Leicester Hwy, #140 Asheville 28806
10. LEICESTER COMMUNITY CENTER 2979 New Leicester Hwy Leicester 28748
11. REYNOLDS VILLAGE 50 N. Merrimon Ave, #107 Asheville 28804
12. SOUTH BUNCOMBE LIBRARY 260 Overlook Rd Asheville 28803
13. TURTLE CREEK SHOPPING CENTER 23 Turtle Creek Dr Asheville 28803
14. UNC ASHEVILLE CAMPUS 1 University Hts Highsmith Student Union Asheville 28804
15. WEST ASHEVILLE COMMUNITY CENTER 970 Haywood Rd Asheville 28806
16. WEAVERVILLE TOWN HALL 30 S. Main St Weaverville 28787
This information is also on the website of the Buncombe County Board of Elections. The phone number for the Buncombe Board of Elections is 828 - 250 - 4200