2019 Teachers Rally for Education at the NC General Assembly

Today, it was great to see teachers and their supporters from across North Carolina here at the North Carolina General Assembly to focus attention upon critical issues of concern including the following:

– Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national professional-to-student standards;

– Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff), teachers, administrators, and a 5% cost of living adjustment for retirees;

– Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families;

– Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017;

– Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013.

The turnout for this year was truly impressive and I hope that the enthusiasm, excitement, and momentum which I saw today will make a difference as we adopt this year’s budget and address issues related to education. More importantly, I hope that this momentum can be sustained to elect good people from across our state that will stand up forcefully, assertively, and passionately for our students. This year, my son, Floyd B. McKissick III, who is an attorney in my law office, joined me in greeting teachers from across the state and standing up for the issues they believe in.

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Moms Demand Action Visits the NC General Assembly

I’d like to thank Moms Demand Action for visiting the NC General Assembly in support of sensible gun regulations and reform. I had the privilege of speaking to this group and I deeply admire and respect the work and advocacy of this organization as well as the time that each member took to visit members of the General Assembly to advocate for reasonable firearm policies. Each year the membership of this organization has grown and I hope that they will hold Democrats, Republicans, and Independents accountable if they do not understand and appreciate the need for meaningful reform.

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Youth Voice Festival

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Youth Voice Festival hosted by the Durham Youth Commission at WG Pearson Center in celebration of Durham’s 150th Anniversary. I was extremely impressed by the students who attended this event and by the excellent questions which they asked me relating to politics and the actions which they needed to take to implement policies of concerns. Most of these students were juniors or seniors in high schools, and they were among the very best students in our community. They also represented a number of organizations active in our community such as Students Demand Action. I am certain that these intelligent and enthusiastic young people will be a part of the leadership in the decades ahead. A few of them I’ve actually seen in a number of other events simply in the last year alone. I’m so impressed by their energy and enthusiasm. I wish them the best as they approach their college years.

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Pinwheels for Prevention

Today, I joined in a program sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC) to increase public awareness of the need for us to prevent child abuse here in NC. The month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. You may see these beautiful blue and silver pinwheels blowing in the wind in communities across our state to raise attention to this critical issue. “Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC) is the only statewide organization dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Through investment in innovative programs proven to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs, PCANC helps North Carolina’s communities decrease factors that put children at risk for abuse and increase factors that encourage children to thrive.” According to PCANC’s website.
“Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on the health and well-being of children. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. A child is more at risk for ACEs when their parents experience stressors like economic hardship, social isolation, lack of health care, or inability to obtain basic necessities. In NC, 32% of our children have parents who lack secure employment; 38% live in single-parent homes; and, 6% are without health insurance. The lifelong consequences are often devastating to individual children and families – and they are also a drain on our businesses and taxpayers. Higher health care costs, incarceration rates, lost work time, and shortages of emotionally and mentally prepared workers are all directly correlated to ACEs. This does not have to happen. The answer is simple: To build a healthy future for North Carolina, we must invest in prevention and focus on strengthening our families and communities.” PCANC works hard to build great childhoods through evidence-based program support, advocacy for public policies that foster safe, stable, nurturing environments, and public awareness about the ways all of us can prevent abuse and neglect from ever happening.

I’d like to thank all of those from PCANC for their advocacy. Today, Wendy Jacobs, the Chairperson of the Durham County Board of Commissioners was also present when this year’s program was launched in Durham at the American Tobacco Complex.

For more information on PCANC, check out their website: https://preventchildabusenc.org

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A Visit to the Wright School

I recently visited the Wright School in Durham which is a residential facility with approximately 25 beds which is designed to assist children ages 6 to 12 with serious emotional and behavioral disorders. I’ve always been impressed by the dedication of the staff and faculty of the Wright School, however, the most impressive part of my visits to this school is the opportunity to speak with children who have attended this program as well as their parents who uniquely understand and appreciate all that the Wright School has done to assist their children. When I visited the school recently, it was great to see the renovations which had recently been made to benefit those who are a part of this unique program that our state funds and offers to those in our community.

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Speaking to the TATA’s Leadership Academy & Training Program

It was my privilege and honor to serve as a guest speaker for a Leadership Academy & Leadership Training Program hosted by the Triangle Area Telugu Association of NC (TATA). This program was designed for high school students to assist them in developing leadership qualities based on their multi-cultural heritage. This program took place over 5 weekends, and it assisted students with their critical thinking, stress management, communication skills, goal setting, self-discovery, and in understanding and respecting their Indian Heritage in a multicultural society. I’d like to Mr. Ratna Sekhar Garimella for inviting me to speak to this wonderful group of talented and intelligent students, but, more importantly, I would like to thank all of those that established this insightful program which will benefit these young people in the years ahead. They do not realize how lucky and fortunate they are to have the support of parents and a community that will help them reach their highest potential. It was my privilege to present each of the students with a certificate for participating in the program and three of them with $500 scholarships from TATA.

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Durham Democratic Party’s Annual County Convention

This past weekend, I attended the Durham County Democratic Party’s Annual County Convention. The convention was extremely well attended and if the enthusiasm and excitement in the room were any indication then we can expect great results in this year’s election. The party elected David Dixon as its new Chairman. I would like to congratulate him on his election, and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead. I have known David since the time he was employed as a member of the staff of the State Democratic Party and we worked closely together during that time frame. The other officers elected were Ebony West, 1st Vice-Chair, Jackie Turnwald, 2nd Vice-Chair, Steve Rawson, 3rd Vice-Chair, Kathy Hall, Secretary, and Margaux Escuti, Treasurer. I was elected once again to serve as a member of the State Executive Committee from Durham. I look forward to working with this energetic team of new members in moving our community and our state forward in the years ahead.

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2019 NC Realtors Legislative Day

I recently met with representatives of the NC Realtors Association on their Legislative Day at the General Assembly. Each year, I meet with a group of realtors from Durham who always comes in extremely well prepared on who are willing to share their thoughts and perspectives on a broad range of issues that are important to our state. I’d like to thank them for their thoroughness and dedication, but, more importantly for advocating for issues that are good for NC.

Students Demand Action

I enjoyed meeting with a group of students from all across North Carolina this past weekend who came together to attend the Students Demand Action Gun Violence Prevention Summit held at UNC’s Genome Sciences Building. In the aftermath of the Parkland School Shooting, many students across America became interested and motivated in organizing to make certain that a Parkland type incident did not occur in their community or anywhere else in America. Students Demand Action has become a lead organization in this student-driven movement. They are active all across our country in supporting reasonable and sensible gun regulations and gun safety programs. Rep. Marcia Morey and I met with and answered questions from these students, and hopefully, we provided inspiration to motivate them. It’s great to see so many students active and engaged and openly and constructively discussing policies that will make a difference. I applaud them for their efforts.


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Press Conference to Raise Minimum Wage

Today, I participated in a news conference in support of legislation which has been filed in the NC Senate (SB 291) and in the NC House (HB 366) both of which would raise the minimum wage in NC over a 5-year period of time to $15 per hour. It’s important that we raise the minimum wage in our state since the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour was adopted approximately 10 years ago and the cost of rent, food, and the necessities of life have significantly increased since that time. For example, in Durham, the livable wage in 2017 was $13.35 per hour, and in Orange County, in 2019, the livable wage is now $14.25 per hour. There are approximately 1.6 million North Carolinians who are paid the minimum wage. I would like to thank all of the coalition groups who came together today in support of this legislation. I would like to particularly recognize my primary co-sponsors in the Senate, Senator Wiley Nickel and Senator Mujtaba Mohammed as well as the primary sponsors of the House Bill, Rep. Susan Fisher, Rep. MaryAnn Black, Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, and Rep. Pricey Harrison. Please join the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.