Supporting Connect NC bond supports Sampson

There are many reasons to vote in the March 15 primary, among them selecting leaders for various local, state and national offices. But perhaps one of the most important items on the ballot will be the $2 billion bond residents will be asked to support.

We are urging residents to support this bond: firstly by talking about it frequently, educating friends, family and neighbors to its importance; and secondly by going to the polls to cast a ballot in favor of its passage come March 15 and helping to ensure others do the same.

Never has a funding package been more needed than the Connect NC bond, which will benefit Sampson County directly and indirectly, with over $4.5 million going to Sampson Community College’s coffers, alone, and a sizable agricultural investment that will touch our farmers through much-needed research that can only serve to boost our already strong agricultural roots.

Bonds whet the appetite of some, but not all, yet when you look at the big picture of what this bond can do, one should recognize both the great needs could be met and the amazing things that this money can do for North Carolina and its residents.

Drilling down to the local level, the impact seems even greater, touching the lives of hundreds of people and extending its reach into the community in a multitude of ways. What is good for Sampson Community College is good for Sampson County as a whole.

We have a tremendous institute of higher learning in our midst and the nurses, farmers, business professionals and college-bound students it helps on a regular basis only serves to strengthen our community and beyond.

If the Connect NC bond passes, SCC would receive $4.7 million, money that can be used for new construction, repairs and renovations. Considering the needs that have often been pushed aside at the college (one should remember how commissioners side-stepped construction needs at SCC a few years back to meet public school needs first — ignored construction needs that haven’t been revisited), this is money that can be utilized to make a great community college even better.

“This would,” SCC President Dr. Paul Hutchins said in a recent Sampson Independent article, “infuse some funds we would not otherwise have.”

He’s right. With state and federal cuts hitting the college from both sides, it’s a wonder the school is able to maintain the quality it continues to afford its students. Imagine then what an infusion of money could do for this school and the students who attend there. And then imagine what those students, when trained, can do for our hospitals, businesses and community.

It has a trickle down effect that will eventually serve to benefit us all.

The same is true of the agricultural component of the bond, which will have its own impact on farmers locally. Anything we can do to help our farmers, we believe should be done, another reason we strongly support this bond.

And then there are the bigger picture items. The bond funds will be used to fund critical improvements in higher education, including capital projects that focus on STEM education, career readiness, medical sciences and business for the UNC Systems campuses, along with the $350 million for upgrades at the state’s 58 community college campuses. Then there’s the $75 million for facilities at 45 state parks; $25 million for the facilities, trails and exhibits at the North Carolina Zoo; $70 million for the National Guard; and the over $300 million that will be invested in statewide water and sewer loans and grants to meet a growing statewide population.

Every aspect of this bond is needed. Both our state and our county need the things this money can afford. Saying no closes a door to advancements we all want. But wanting them alone doesn’t do the trick. We must want them and pay for them. And to pay for them starts by first voting to put them into motion.

We urge you to do that come March 15. A yes vote secures better futures for us all.