Each week, staff at Carolina Journal looks back at the week in N.C. politics and chooses several interesting, relevant stories you may have missed. Here’s this week’s review:
- Common core: A week ago, State Superintendent Mark Johnson sent a survey about Common Core to thousands of parents and educators. The results are in, after more than 71,000 people responded to the survey. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they wanted to remove Common Core, Johnson said in a news release. “There is a path forward, and we are carefully reviewing the process followed by the Florida Department of Education to ensure any review of standards dedicates sufficient time for diligent review and includes the views of all stakeholders,” Johnson said. Johnson was criticized for sending the survey using a state database of parents’ phone numbers. Justin Parmenter, an education activist, filed an ethics complaint against Johnson and accused him of pursuing the change as part of his campaign for lieutenant governor.
- Democratic town hall: Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar is scheduled for a town hall in Raleigh on Feb. 27 with Fox News Channel. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum of Fox News will moderate the event with the U.S. senator from Minnesota. The location hasn’t been determined.
- WRAL poll: Three Democratic presidential candidates are neck and neck in a new WRAL News poll. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, are tied at 22%. Former Vice President Joe Biden isn’t far behind at 20%. SurveyUSA, on behalf of WRAL, surveyed 2,335 registered voters, of whom 698 said they would vote for a Democrat. The margin of error for the Democratic primary questions is plus or minus 5%. North Carolina will hold its primary election March 3, or “Super Tuesday”, along with 13 other states.
- Apprenticeship program: The U.S. Department of Labor awarded $6 million to N.C. State University on Feb. 18 as part of the Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap grant program. The grant money will go toward the Artificial Intelligence Academy: North Carolina Apprenticeships for Innovation program at NCSU. The labor department has provided $100 million in grants to create 28 apprenticeship programs across the country.
- Deaths: Former Lt. Gov. Bob Jordan, a Democrat, and Rep. Linda Johnson, a Cabarrus County Republican, died this week. Jordan, 87, died Feb. 16 at his home in Montgomery County. He served four terms in the General Assembly and was lieutenant governor from 1984-88. He lost an attempt in 1988 to defeat incumbent Republican Gov. Jim Martin. Johnson died Feb.18 after a brief battle with cancer. Johnson served in the House for 19 years. She was co-chair of the joint education oversight committee and a senior appropriations chair. Johnson announced earlier this year that she wouldn’t run for re-election, instead opting to spend more time with her family.
- Mark Ruffalo: Mark Ruffalo, an actor and activist, visited the N.C. General Assembly on Feb. 19 to spread awareness about PFAS, man made chemicals that include GenX. Ruffalo joined Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, in advocating policies to eliminate the chemicals from industrial products. N.C. Conservation Network, Clean Cape Fear and the Center for Environmental Health sponsored the event.