Raleigh has been a busy place. In addition to my regular interim committee meetings, I have received some very exciting news regarding my responsibilities in the Senate.
I am honored to have been appointed co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee (see story A5). As co-chair, I plan to continue the work of the 2013 committee, which wrote a balanced, fiscally responsible budget that safeguarded North Carolina’s long-term financial health while creating a business-friendly environment.
Though I will be leaving my position as co-chairman of the Senate Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee, District 10 will continue to be my first responsibility. I will still be a member of the committee and plan to remain very active in that role. I will never stop fighting for agriculture and rural North Carolina.
This new position will give me the opportunity to fuse the needs of rural North Carolina with the needs we face across the state in education, health care and transportation.
I would also like to draw your attention to some recently released economic data that shows the positive direction our state is heading. The December unemployment data, which was released on Monday, confirmed that North Carolina’s unemployment rate has fallen 3.5 percent in three years to 6.9 percent. This is the first time in over five years — since September of 2008 — that North Carolina’s unemployment rate has fallen below 7 percent. It looks like we are finally seeing the consistent, positive numbers that show North Carolina is on the right track.
March 23-29 is NC Small Farms Week
The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2012 Census of Agriculture shows that small-scale farms make up 88 percent of all farms nationwide and 87 percent of farms in North Carolina. There are approximately 43,000 small-scale farmers statewide, and in honor of their accomplishments, pioneering work, and technological advancements, the state of North Carolina recognizes the week of March 23 – March 29, as North Carolina Small Farms Week. The theme for the 28th Annual North Carolina Small Farms Week is: Small Farms: “Innovations for the Next Generation” which recognizes younger farmers, born in the 1980s to 2000s. The highlight of the week is the Annual Small Farmers Recognition Luncheon, which is held March 26, on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Other activities in Greensboro include Agricultural Tours, a local foods tasting and an educational vendor fair. Small farms play a vital role in the economies of Sampson, Duplin and Johnston counties, and I hope you will join me in supporting our local small farmers during NC Small Farms Week and beyond.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your representative in the North Carolina Senate. I read every email that comes to my legislative account and I encourage you to reach out to me with your thoughts and concerns. If you would like to stay informed of my actions in the legislature, I encourage you to friend me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter using the links at the top of the page. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please email my legislative assistant, Acy Watson at email@example.com.