Hello, my name is Pat Smathers and I hope you have heard by now I am running for Lieutenant Governor in 2008.
I have learned that this website is an important part of North Carolina’s Democratic political scene, and have enjoyed reading people’s comments and observations over the last few weeks. After reading some recent postings, I made the decision that it was time that I not only officially introduced myself, but that I personally started to engage a very important sect of NC voters and activists. Below you will find what I have posted so far under the topic "Inside the Beltline." Thank you so much for your interaction, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say...
"Over the last year I have traveled across the state speaking at local events and listening to people’s ideas. A major reason I am running for Lt. Governor, is that I see the office as a “big idea” office where ideas concerning all North Carolinians can be fully explored. Because the Office of Lieutenant Governor has one foot in the executive branch and one foot in the legislative branch, the position can directly influence and encourage lawmakers to be innovative.
I am now a registered member of BlueNC, and I sincerely want your ideas, wisdom, and advice. I plan to be the voice of the people in concerns for the future of our state. I will post as often as time allows, but I also encourage you to send me direct emails to smathltg @ bellsouth.net with questions and ideas. My website, www.patsmathers2008.com, is active, but there will be a major re-launch following the first of the year. For biographical information please visit the website or my Wikipedia site at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Smathers. With your help I will become NC’s next Lieutenant Governor by bringing fresh ideas, practical solutions, and experienced leadership with local input to Raleigh."
"In reply, let me briefly explain the driving idea behind my campaign and why my slogan is "Local Leadership Statewide".
I, like everyone else who will be running as a Democrat, for statewide office, certainly have a core set of traditional Democratic beliefs and priorities: equal opportunities, good quality education, health care, clean environment, support for small businesses, public safety, ethical and efficient government, etc. The problem is not what we believe or value; the problem is how do we implement these values. How we take big, new and innovative ideas and make them happen. My answer is that we do it by empowering local government.
Think about this. The vast majority of services we enjoy (I would roughly estimate 85 percent) as citizens of this state are provided by local government. When in danger, you call your local Sheriff's, police, and fire departments or medical emergency personnel. One can't discuss environmental issues without including local governments because something around 85 percent of all water treatment plants in N.C. , and over 90 percent of all waste treatment plants, are owned and operated by municipalities and county governments. It is your local school board that primarily educates your children and who you contact when there is a problem.
Most economic development efforts (industrial parks, small business incubators, downtown revitalization programs, etc.) are either owned, managed, or operated by local government entities. Obviously, there are issues like health care where the solution cannot be primarily resolved at the local level, but I am certain whatever the solution, it will be administered and implemented locally (and don't forget the work of our local health departments and the services they provide the disadvantaged).
I am emphasizing the importance of governing at the local level because I know that local government and local state offices are where you actually get things done. Where the "rubber meets the road". I know what I am talking about based on past experience as a mayor, school board attorney, community college attorney, National Guard officer, precinct and county party chairman, as well as businessman, and civic leader.
I have no doubt about what can be done for the people of this state if we develop and support a new partnership between state government and local entities whereby local governments and offices are empowered to implement democratic values at the local level. Specifically, local governments need to be provided funds, or the ability to raise them, technical training and assistance, and continuation of programs such as the Clean Water Management Trust Fund which make it possible for local entities to secure and protect water resources. There are many other ways to empower local entities, and I will be discussing them throughout the campaign, but I also would appreciate your ideas. It is very important to me that I know your ideas, because without question, I believe in the power of people.
Let me close by emphasizing that my highest priority is to get things done! Make it happen! In my opinion we do too much talking and not enough doing. As you learn more about me, I am confident you will find my best traits are leadership, leadership, and leadership, and the attributes that make it possible. I encourage you to talk to people who know me, citizens and residents of Canton, Haywood County, leaders and people in Western North Carolina and across the state who can vouch for my leadership and efforts in improving my hometown, responding to the floods which occurred there in 2004, and being "out-front" on behalf of people. As I ask for your support, it is more important that you hear what others say about me, rather than what I say about myself. Esse Quam Videri."