Step UP Duke Power

I was just reading a press release from the Southern Environmental Law Center. Duke is refusing to clean up their mess, the coal ash pits that have plagued so many North Carolina residents. With a past governor, Duke Energy had government in its pocket. Now, Governor Cooper and the Department of Environmental Quality want to make sure this clean up happens, and not at the consumer’s expense.

Why are they so resistant to acknowledging the research? It isn’t like they are some small, local business. They have the money to do this. They just need the will. North Carolinians have little choice in a power provider. Duke holds many of the cards and they know this. Are they hoping to hold off cleanup until political conditions are more favorable to the big corporations in Raleigh? Are they stonewalling until they hold ALL the cards?

The article says it best: “For years, tens of thousands of North Carolinians have been telling Duke and the Department of Environmental Quality they demand these cleanups, which every utility in South Carolina is now doing and is now required for every one of the unlined lagoons of Virginia’s utility. It is long past time to clean up all of Duke’s leaking, unlined coal ash pits in North Carolina.“

To read more go to:


Good Things Happening for Good People

In the news this week we have had some much needed good news for ourselves and our neighbors. With Governor Cooper at the helm, things are beginning to show signs of looking up. Now we cross our fingers and hope that the gerrymandered General Assembly will work toward helping all North Carolinians, and not just lining their own pockets.

Number 1 is that Governor Cooper launched his plan to increase teacher salary and fund investments in our schools, from Kindergarten all the way on up. A better public education only means one thing, a better future for all of us. Here is the link for all the details on this plan:

Number 2 is the Early Childhood Action Plan. Again brighter future for everyone. We know a quality education starts early. This plan started with an executive order by Governor Cooper, directing DHHS to develop this plan. It focuses on three foundations for all NC children, they are :

  1. Safe

  2. Well Nurtured

  3. Learning and ready to succeed

You can read more about this plan at this link:

When we do better for our children, we do better for all of us living, working and raising families here in Burke County.


Where is the American Dream?

“Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children.” - I have a dream, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Finding myself frustrated after six years of unemployment, I was at the temp agency in town doing my paperwork for a  prospective job. They needed my North Carolina birth certificate, so I went home to look for it, instead, I found myself staring at my daddy’s refugee papers. Here, I found my beginning: a grass green Promissory Note issued to my daddy for $640. I stopped and I began to weep. I had the typical American childhood filled with my uncle dressing up like Santa Claus, yes, Santa is Hmong. Birthday parties with the pointy hats and echoes of close your eyes and make a wish now.  Everyone knows how challenging school can be but I beat the statistical odds and graduated as a Patriot with Honors and AIG from Freedom High School. I ended up as a Demon Deacon for Wake Forest University and by the time I managed to graduate in 2010, both my parents had lost their jobs at Southern Devices-Leviton and Capri Industries.  

If I could encompass the hurt in my heart for the heavy weight that I feel for not being able to find a steady career into words, all I could muster would be Dr. King’s words, “In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”

I’m still waiting for my check to bounce. I rather wish I was in a boxing match because at least I’d know who my opponent would be (Cinderella Man). How could I articulate the echoes of Dr. King’s words on that day because I am still paying that Promissory Note for my father. A poor Hmong village boy who was left with nothing but a musket rifle his father used to hunt when America decided to pull out of Southeast Asia.  

My mother and I don’t know how to look each other in the face sometimes and express the dismay in our hearts because we don’t know how to do anything but cling to one another. How can you possibly know what you just don’t know? Please heed me in this turbulent climate of powerlessness the only thing I’ve been able to turn to has been writing my once broken grammar into my broken hearted thoughts of saying, “I don’t know this country, though I speak the language, no one understands my English or what I mean.”

As I write this story, I’m still unemployed with a stack of student debt accruing interest. My language is not of war but of survival now. What must I do to get a decent job?

Expanding Medicaid Would Help NC Veterans

30,000 veterans do not have any healthcare coverage in North Carolina and that is a disgrace. I have been reading a lot lately about medicaid expansion here in North Carolina. We are one of only 17 states that has not expanded medicaid. And there are a lot of issues wrapped up in that topic that will have to wait for another post. Too many North Carolinians go without. But the kick to the gut for me was that we have about 30,000 veterans living in NC that do not have any medical insurance coverage at all. 30,000. Of those, 23,000 will be helped if we would just expand medicaid here in this great state. This is a worthy read if you want to read just a bit more about the statistics.

I then asked myself why? I thought the VA covered veterans. Well, searching out that answer lead me to this article:

To sum it up, there is a huge gap there. In 2003, it seems the Bush Administration put a stop to many VA medical benefits. Middle income veterans and their families were no longer eligible for VA healthcare unless they had a service connected disability.

  • Any individual veteran with no dependents making over $27,790 a year is not eligible

  • Any veteran with dependents making over $38,948 a year is not eligible

Some of these veterans make too much for medicaid, too little to be able to afford private insurance, and are too young for medicare.

Those are just the ones that are not eligible for coverage. There are veterans that do not get care even though they may qualify for VA medical benefits. The reasons given for those are:

  1. No facility close by

  2. High cost of co pays for specialty care

  3. Long wait list

This leaves 30,000 with no healthcare coverage in NC alone. According to the ABC article almost 2 million nation wide. STAGGERING NUMBERS

As a veteran myself, this is unacceptable, and expanding medicaid will not cover everyone. But it will certainly help while a better plan for healthcare cost coverage is worked out in this country. NC needs to expand medicaid now!

If this astounds you as it did me, there are things you can do:

1. CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR NOW: That is the link to find your legislator here in NC you just click on NC House then NC Senate and see who represents you. Just tell whoever answers that you are a voter and need your legislator to support medicaid expansion here in NC. After the call…

2. Sit down and write a letter or post card to those same legislators. Saying the same things. That it is a disgrace that so many go without medical care because of lack of funds. Expand medicaid now. And then…

3. Send a quick e mail with the same message.

Yes, hit them up three ways. This is important, and it needs to happen now!


Never Underestimate the Influence of Precinct Organization

Hello fellow Democrats. It is an exciting time of year when we get together and plan for the next two years. Precincts are the grassroots of the Democratic Party and the Burke County Democratic Party cannot move forward without the neighborhood organization of the precinct.

I get so many questions about precincts and precinct organization. So many people do not know what a precinct is or what it does. A few years ago, all I knew was that a precinct was a geographic area around my polling place. All people in the same precinct voted at the same polling place on election day. But there is more to precinct organization than that.

Precinct Democrats:

  • Organize around an issue of concern for their precinct

  • Get to know other Democrats in their neighborhood

  • Distribute information from the Burke County Democratic Party

  • Communicate with voters in their precinct

But that’s not all. Being part of an organized precinct allows you to:

  • Have an impact on the Democratic Party Plan

  • Participate fully in the Democratic Party

  • Have a voice

It is important for everyone to have a voice in the Democratic Party, to shape our future. We have precinct meetings going on right now. Attend your precinct meeting. Here is a list of all precinct meetings.:

Click to find precinct meetings in Burke County NC

Click to find precinct meetings in Burke County NC

If you are unsure of your precinct you can go to the NC Board of Elections voter search page, and enter your name and county. When you find your name, click on it. The first thing listed on the right side is your precinct.

Make a plan, get involved, and attend your local precinct meeting. The Burke County Democratic Party depends on you. I look forward to seeing you there!