Progress Dems endorse Jeff Starkweather

News Release/Progressive Democrats of NC endorse Jeff Starkweather for NC House District 54:

The Progressive Democrats of North Carolina (PDNC) are pleased to announce the endorsement of Jeff Starkweather for NC House District 54. Jeff Starkweather’s platform is solidly progressive, and his long history in Chatham County politics and community organizing supports his claim to be THE progressive candidate in this primary. His passionate commitment to sustainable growth policies that are solidly rooted in the community, his tireless efforts for clean renewable energy and green building practices, his forceful and informed voice against the dangerous practice of fracking, his unwavering support for public education and strong schools for all, and his decades-long record on human and civil rights make Jeff Starkweather a candidate the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina can whole-heartedly support.

The Progressive Democrats of North Carolina are committed to the development and implementation of progressive ideals based on human and civil rights, peace, justice and environmental sustainability in North Carolina, the nation, and the world.

www.progressivedemocratsnc.org

Advertisements

Jeff Starkweather endorsed by The Indy, Sierra Club, State Employees and AFL-CIO

News release/ April 23, 2012

Jeff Starkweather’s record of fighting for good jobs, strong schools, a clean environment and civil rights won him the endorsements of four major organizations comparing candidates for election to NC House District 54, representing all of Chatham County and a portion of Sanford.  The endorsements, based on questionnaires, interviews and candidate records, are from: The Independent Weekly, the State Employees Association, the Sierra Club, and the AFL CIO.

“I’m overwhelmed and honored by these endorsements and others I have received during the campaign from current and former elected officials, community leaders and supporters all over the district,” Starkweather said.

The Independent called Starkweather “a longtime champion of the environment, social justice and sound growth policies.” The newspaper said that the retirement of Rep. Joe Hackney, “leaves a need for a candidate who has a deep familiarity with the issues facing this district. We think Starkweather’s views on energy and growth could continue Hackney’s work; his willingness to defend public education and to stand up to social conservatives is also impressive.”

“[Starkweather] has the kind of fire Democrats need in the Legislature,” The Independent concluded.

The NC Sierra Club said it endorsed Starkweather because of his lengthy track record promoting environmental protection and renewable energy and sustainability, and his opposition to fracking.

Jeff Starkweather is a strong environmental advocate who has a long history of working for environmental causes in Chatham County and North Carolina as a whole,” the Sierra Club said. “His key environmental positions include promoting alternative energy and its use in North Carolina, strengthening North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Standards, opposing changes in laws to allow fracking for natural gas until its economic benefits are proven to outweigh its environmental costs, and searching for ways to collaborate with citizens and environmental experts to make North Carolina a model of sustainability.”

The NC AFL-CIO and Triangle Labor Council based their endorsement on Starkweather’s answers to a questionnaire and interview on employment and economic development issues. The State Employees Association of North Carolina’s EMPAC endorsement was based on a questionnaire and interview about issues facing NC public employees. They endorsed Starkweather and other selected General Assembly candidates “because we feel they understand the importance of the valuable services our members provide,” the SEANC stated in its news release.

Starkweather has lived and worked in Chatham County for 40 years. He is the former editor and publisher of The Chatham County Herald and a retired attorney who specialized in civil rights and employment law. In 2009, the Western Chatham NAACP named him a Humanitarian of the Year and in 2006 he was a News and Observer Tar Heel of the Week.

He currently serves on the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation Board and the Triangle South Workforce Development Board. In those economic policy leadership positions he was instrumental in the development of the county’s economic development strategy and industrial incentives policy and in bringing a job link center back to Chatham. He has also served on Chatham’s Sustainable Energy and Green Building Advisory Board and he chaired the Affordable Housing Advisory Board.

Sierra Club endorses Jeff Starkweather for State House

The N.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club has endorsed Jeff Starkweather for NC House District 54 because of his lengthy track record promoting environmental protection, renewable energy and sustainability, and his opposition to fracking.

Jeff Starkweather is a strong environmental advocate who has a long history of working for environmental causes in Chatham County and North Carolina as a whole. His key environmental positions include promoting alternative energy and its use in North Carolina, strengthening North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Standards, opposing changes in laws to allow fracking for natural gas until its economic benefits are proven to outweigh its environmental costs, and searching for ways to collaborate with citizens and environmental experts to make North Carolina a model of sustainability,” the Sierra Club stated in its announcement.

Jeff has now received endorsements from every major organization that has compared his positions and track record with his opponent’s. He is endorsed by: The Independent Weekly, the State Employees Association of NC, the Sierra Club and the NC AFL-CIO.

He is also endorsed by 17 current and former elected officials on county, municipal and school boards in Chatham and Lee counties.

And he has the support of Women for Jeff, a campaign advisory committee comprised of more than40 active women in Chatham and Lee counties.

Vote Early April 19-May 5

You can register and vote at the same time, during the one-stop early voting period at the following locations:

Chatham County

  • Pittsboro:  Board of Elections, 984 Thompson St. (in the office complex on US 64 Business across from the Post Office): M-F 8 am–7 pm, Sat. 10 am–3 pm
  •  N. Chatham: at Chatham Downs, near the Harris Teeter: M-F 10 am–7 pm, Sat. 10 am–3 pm
  • Siler City: Earl B Fitts Center, 111 S. Third Ave:M-F 10 am–7 pm, Sat. 10 am–3 pm

*For more info: Chatham Board of Elections 919-545-8500

Lee County

  • Lee County Board of Elections,  225 S. Steele St, Sanford: M-F 8am-5 pm; Sat. May 5, 8 am-1 pm
  • McSwain Agricultural Center, 2420 Tramway Road, Sanford: M-F 8-5; Sat May 5, 8 am-1 pm

*For more info: Lee County Board of Elections 919-718-4646

On Election Day, Tues. May 8, you must vote at your precinct polling place*.

State Employees endorse Jeff Starkweather for State House

EMPAC, the political arm of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, announced that it is endorsing Jeff Starkweather in the State House District 54 Democratic primary contest.

Starkweather was among fourteen Democratic and four Republican state house candidates across North Carolina endorsed by EMPAC, along with five Democratic and five Republican State Senate candidates.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of the state employees, especially since I had the pleasure of representing many state employees as an employment and civil rights attorney,” Starkweather said.  “It is particularly important at this time when state employees rights and compensation are under severe attack from state legislative leaders to have a representative who understands the importance of their work to our state’s well-being and economic prosperity.”

The endorsements resulted from recommendations from SEANC members at the district level, which were then confirmed by a statewide committee.  Both Starkweather and his Democratic primary opponent submitted answers to an EMPAC questionnaire and were interviewed by a district level committee of SEANC members.

“SEANC has no permanent friends or no permanent enemies, only permanent issues,” said state EMPAC  Chair Wayne Fish. “We chose to support these candidates because we feel they understand the importance of the valuable services our members provide.”

SEANC, SEIU Local 2008, is the South’s leading state employee association, 55,000 members strong. With 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North Carolina and includes over one million public employees who have united to improve their lives and the services they provide.

Vote por Jeff Starkweather para la Cámara Estatal de Representantes Distrito 54 en la elección demócrata preliminar el martes, 8 de mayo

Jeff y sus nietas

Mi nombre es Jeff y soy candidato para la Cámara Estatal para representar al Condado de Chatham y parte de la ciudad de Sanford. Quiero usar mis años de experiencia como abogado y periodista para luchar por los derechos de todos los residentes de nuestro distrito, incluso los de los inmigrantes.

Excelentes Escuelas / Proyecto de ley DREAM Act: Debemos invertir en la educación pública, desde los programas pre-escolares hasta el sistema de colegios y universidades, y promover la educación bilingüe. Yo apoyo la Ley DREAM y el acceso al estudio superior para todos los estudiantes, sin importar su estado migratorio.

Buenos Trabajos: Debemos apoyar a los negocios locales y atraer buenos trabajos para todos. Los inmigrantes contribuyen a la prosperidad de nuestro estado y merecen documentos legales para obtener empleos.

Cooperación de las Agencias de la Ley: Todos merecen la protección policíaca y ser tratados con respeto por los oficiales de la ley. Nadie debería de vivir con miedo de la policía o ser discriminado a causa de su raza o etnicidad. Yo creo en el acceso a las licencias e identificaciones para todos, de este modo nuestras comunidades y carreteras serían más seguras.

Reforma Inmigratoria: Somos una nación de inmigrantes y debemos apoyar un proceso para obtener la ciudadanía para los inmigrantes que ya se encuentran en el país. Éste es un asunto que el gobierno federal tiene el deber de solucionar.

Unidos podremos restaurar una sociedad justa y próspera para todos. ¡Su voto es su voz, hágase contar! ¡Espero contar con usted el 8 de mayo!

“Yo confío en Jeff por su compromiso hacia la justicia y derechos humanos para todos. Jeff me ha apoyado mucho a mí y a nuestra comunidad. Yo votaré por él y espero que usted también” –Ilana Dubester, fundadora y previa directora de El Vínculo Hispano.

Ilana and Jeff

La votación temprana será del 19 de abril hasta el 5 de mayo, puede registrarse y votar a la misma vez. Las elecciones preliminares serán el 8 de mayo. Para mayor información en inglés, llame a la Junta de Elecciones de Chatham al 919-545-8500 o del Condado de Lee al 919-718-4646. Para español, visite a http://veyvota.yaeshora.info.

Y NC State Board of Elections, Carlos Casallas,919-715-9206, carlos.casallas@ncsbe.gov

Este anuncio fue patrocinado por Jeff Starkweather para la Cámara Estatal.

* * * * * * *

Vote for Jeff Starkweather for NC House of Representatives District 54

In the Primary Democratic Elections on Tuesday, May 8


My name is Jeff and I’m a candidate for the N.C. House to represent all of Chatham County and part of Sanford. I want to use my years of experience as an attorney and journalist to fight for the rights of everyone in our district, including immigrants.

Great Schools/ DREAM Act:  We must invest in public education from pre-school through the college and university systems, and promote bilingual education. I support the DREAM Act and in-state tuition for all students, regardless of immigration status.

Good Jobs:  We must support local businesses and attract good jobs for everyone.  Immigrants contribute to the prosperity of our state and deserve legal documents to secure employment.

Cooperative Law Enforcement: Everyone deserves police protection and to be treated respectfully by law enforcement. No one should live in fear of the police or be discriminated based on race or ethnicity. I believe in access to Drivers Licenses and IDs for everyone, this will ensure that our communities and roadways are safer.

Immigration Reform: We are a nation of immigrants and we must support a path to citizenship for immigrants who are already here. This is an issue that the Federal government must resolve.

United we can restore a just and prosperous society for all. Your vote is your voice! Make your voice count. I hope to count on you on May 8th!

“I trust Jeff because of his commitment to justice and equal opportunity for all. Jeff has helped me and our community a lot. I will vote for him and hope that you will too.” –Ilana Dubester, founder and former executive director, El Vínculo Hispano.

Early voting will be from April 19 to May 5. You can register and vote at the same time! The primary elections will be on Tuesday, May 8. For election information, contact the Chatham Board of Elections at 919-545-8500 or Lee County at 919-718-4646. For Spanish, visit http://veyvota.yaeshora.info.

And, NC State Board of Elections, Carlos Casallas, 919-715-9206, carlos.casallas@ncsbe.gov

Paid for by Jeff Starkweather for State House

What I wanted to say

I was so impressed and moved by the statements made by so many local people testifying at the fracking hearing at Fearrington last night.  They did their homework and they spoke from the heart and the head. And the message was heard loud and clear all the way to Raleigh.

I wasn’t permitted to speak at the hearing last night because I had already spoken at the Sanford hearing ( in fact, I’ve been speaking out about this at every opportunity for months). But here’s what I had planned to say.

First, I want to thank my friend Chatham Commissioner Sally Kost, who pushed and prodded DENR to have a fracking meeting in Chatham County.  And of course I want to acknowledge former House Speaker Joe Hackney and Senator Bob Atwater for assisting Sally in making this happen.

I also want to thank the DENR staff who worked so hard on this report with so little time and so little staff resources.

Finally, I want to “thank” the DENR administrator, who gave us an unexpected gift by ignoring the substance of the report, and writing the now famous conclusion from nowhere.

Despite the fact that:

●  methane gas  has been found in nearby fracking wells;

● EPA recently found fracking fluid in nearby wells;

● no significant longitudinal studies, laboratory,  or animal studies have been conducted about water contamination by fracking;

● the shale gas deposits in North Carolina are significantly shallower than those in other states whose experience DENR was relying upon;

●  the consumer protection section was blank;

● the Department of Commerce declined to conclude that fracking would have a positive impact on our economy;

● and on, on, on…

Nevertheless, the conclusion said that fracking could be conducted in North Carolina safely IF it was properly regulated.

That insulting finding clearly did not fool anyone.

The only thing the conclusion accomplished is to help energize what is clearly the largest grass-roots environmental movement in this area in a long time.

I want to thank  leaders like Elaine Chiosso of the Haw River Assembly and Colleen Kendrick of the Deep River Clean Water Society, among many others, who have spearheaded this awesome grassroots movement here in Chatham County. I feel fortunate to have been able to play a small role in this movement and to be able work with and listen to such amazingly intelligent, diligent, passionate, poignant and humorous allies.

Clearly, the case has not been made in this report or anywhere else that economic benefits of allowing fracking for shale gas in North Carolina outweigh its costs.  Given Speaker Tillis’s statement that those proposing or opposing legislation must make the “business case,” I do not see why North Carolina should waste any more time and resources to determine if fracking can be done safely with the proper regulatory regulations and resources, unless and until the economic case can be made.

Based on my experience and research over the last eight years on community economic development strategies, I sincerely doubt that this case can be made in Chatham or anywhere else in the Triassic basin.

All this was predicted when energy experts said some time back that we had reached peak oil – the point where more than half of the total supply of potential oil has been exploited. Those experts predicted that the attempts to extract hard to reach oil and gas deposits would be more expensive and  require new experimental  and risky technologies.  Does the 5-mile-deep BP oil spill ring a bell?  Recall that oil engineers and federal regulators assured us this technology was incredibly sophisticated and safe. Fracking presents the same risky story.

We need move to away from fantasy of energy technological utopias and toward a more pragmatic and sustainable energy strategy – energy conservation and alternative energy. This is where the jobs of the future are, not  in the temporary positions filled mostly by outsiders that fracking might provide.

This is the energy strategy the people of Chatham and Lee are telling me they prefer.  And like my friends Joe Hackney and Bob Atwater, I will listen primarily to people who live in these communities, not the outsiders who just want to exploit us.

–Jeff Starkweather

It’s A Party: Campaign Kick-Off March 4

You’re invited to help the Jeff Starkweather for State House campaign blast off in style.

We’re having an open-house party on Sunday March 4 from 4  to 7 pm at the former Pittsboro Chevrolet showroom, 697 Hillsboro Street. That’s on US 15-501 just north of Chatham Mills in Pittsboro.

Everyone is welcome. Admission is free and donations to the campaign are always welcome.

We’ll have plenty of live music and light refreshments.  And there will be time to ask questions and share your ideas for how we can strengthen our community and our state.

Do you want strong schools, good jobs and clean air and water?  I do, too. That’s what we need for an economy that’s built to last.

Are you worried about the rush to authorize hydraulic fracking for shale gas in Chatham and Lee counties? I am, too. Given the fracking track record elsewhere, it seems the environmental and health costs far outweigh any short-term gains.

I hope you’ll stop by on March 4 from 4 to 7.  It’s a chance to see old friends and make some new ones. Feel free to bring friends and family. And spread the word.

Thanks,

Jeff

Learn more about the campaign on our web page, blog and Facebook.

Thumbs up for Dist. 54 mayors’ support for public education

My letter to the editor published in Chatham News and Record, Feb.1, 2012:

I want to applaud Siler City Mayor Charles Johnson, Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller, Goldston Mayor Tim Cunnup, and Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive for supporting Governor Bev Perdue’s proposal to restore some $800,000 in state funds for our public schools.  While I am not generally a supporter of increased sales taxes because their impact is “regressive” (lower income households pay a higher percentage), I would support restoring a 3/4 cent increase if that was the only politically feasible way to adequately fund our public schools. Obviously, I would prefer those who can better afford it to pay a higher percentage burden of any tax increase than the numerous retirees, blue collar workers and unemployed in Chatham and Lee counties.

Since the 2008-2009 budget year approximately 6,108 NC public school employees have lost their jobs, 76% of whom were teachers or teacher assistants.  Although our local schools have done a good job of keeping those numbers down, we still have lost a significant number of positions, including completely eliminating Chatham’s middle school Spanish program. And while the Chatham Board majority did not actually cut their dollar contribution, they also did not provide sufficient funds to maintain the same per pupil funding, based on increases in student enrollment. Commissioner Sally Kost and I lobbied for these funds because we both considered not providing them as a funding “cut”.

I also support President Obama’s American Jobs Act, in large part, because it will provide North Carolina sufficient funds to restore or retain a total of 13,400 education jobs.

Any increased educational funding should be focused on classrooms and direct educational services.

Research clearly shows that the most important factor in improving a state’s and local community’s economic development and prosperity is public educational quality. Thanks to our state legislature’s misguided cuts to education, North Carolina has dropped to 46th in per pupil state funding. We are now below Mississippi and South Carolina. That is embarrassing.

It is time we put our future – our children and grandchildren – first.  I don’t have all the answers to the best way to fund education but I am willing to do my part and pay my share to make it happen. I hope you feel the same.

UNC study lauds importance of early education

Thumbs up to UNC researchers for their study showing the importance of investing in early childhood education. That’s what it’s all about and why I’ve made enhancing public education, from pre-school through community colleges and universities, an important part of my plank. Here’s an excerpt from Jane Stancill’s excellent article in The News and Observer, and a link so you can read the full story.

Poor children who get high-quality day care as early as infancy reap long-lasting benefits, including a better chance at a college degree and steady employment, according to a UNC-Chapel Hill study that followed participants from birth to age 30.

The latest findings, published this week in the online journal Developmental Psychology, are from one of the longest-running child care studies in the United States.

Conducted by the Frank Porter Graham Development Institute at UNC, the research is widely cited in a body of evidence that early childhood education can change the trajectory of young lives.

The findings may be cited in a court battle looming over state-funded pre-kindergarten for low-income children. For months, Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue and Republican leaders in the legislature have been at odds over funding for preschool for 4-year-olds.

The UNC study, known as the Abecedarian Project, began in 1972 with 111 babies from low-income families who were randomly assigned to two groups.

Half were enrolled in quality early childhood education from infancy to kindergarten; the other half, the control group, received what ever care their families arranged.

Researchers have followed the children since then. Along the way, the child care group posted better scores on reading and math tests in school.

They were more likely to pursue education beyond high school and less likely to become teenage parents.

College and beyond

The latest data from the participants, at age 30, show that those who received early education were four times more likely to earn a college degree – 23 percent graduated from a four-year college, compared with 6 percent in the control group.

There is little question that such early education can improve the odds for poor children, said Frances Campbell, a senior scientist at the institute and lead author of the study.

“That’s the take-home message, that you must not ignore the early years,” she said, “because what you do to enhance a child’s development when he is very, very young has very long-termimplications.”

The children in the early-education group also were more likely to have consistent employment and less likely to have used public assistance.

Seventy-five percent had worked full time for at least 16 of the past 24 months, compared with 53 percent of the control group……