Pat Smathers for Lieutenant Governor

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...

First Post:
"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."

Second Post:
"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."

Comments

Welcome

Welcome again Pat, Thanks for taking the BlueNC plunge. I tweaked a couple of links and broke up your email to reduce spam harvesting. Good luck.

Non wonk question

Ill bypass the wonkish questions and ask you about strategy (kinda like the "real" media except I do care about policy).

What are you doing in the next year to increase your name id? To be honest, I couldnt find Canton on a map, so its gonna take a lot of work to get your name out there.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Canton

is 20 miles west of Asheville, 240 miles west of Durham, and 120 or so miles east of Murphy.

Welcome to BlueNC, Pat. Glad to see you posting here. North Carolina faces a big election in 2008, with open seats in statewide races for Governor, Lt. Governor, Treasurer, and possibly other races, depending on who decides to run for U.S. Senate.

This is a chance to add new blood to the Democratic leadership in Raleigh, and not just recycle the usual Inside the Beltline suspects. We need more people like you who are willing to take a chance and lead our state.

oh ok

Sounds like a good base of operations. We need progressive voices from the mountains in state wide races to have any hope of beating Dole and Burr.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

WNCNN

sounds like, good or bad, you might have some local Democrats covering you. If you get them on your side...

I'm looking forward to seeing the specifics of your vision - I like the vision.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Welcome.

I don't know how many people here have run for public office, but I can tell you from personal experience, it can be a grueling ordeal, even at the local level. Multiply that times a hundred counties and man-oh-man, it's a gigantic undertaking.

My hat's off to anyone with a sincere commitment to serve. Best of luck.

____________________________________

We are not amused.

I'll add my welcome

and hope to hear your thoughts on issues raised by people here.

I've looked at your website and wiki-entry. I have to admit to a personal "thing" about using the word "values" which I note you use in several places. Having lived a lot of places I've heard the term "Oklahoma Values " and Texas Values...Georgia...Florida...small town...mountain...and so on and I suspect if you asked someone what that really means they'd have a tough time answering...or differentiating the difference between, say, small town values vs some other "values."

Just for fun you might look HERE to see what Americans actually value by their actions rather than words.

Anyway...to me "value" glosses over a pretty complex set of beliefs that might be better served if plainly stated.

You did ask for thoughts.... :-)

Again, welcome.

Stan Bozarth

I'll also say "Welcome!"

...and thank you for your committment to North Carolina. I'll be glad to get to know more about you, and possible see you at an event or two here in the center of the state. Good luck, stay strong, and keep running!

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi

Another Welcome

I'd like to throw in my welcome as well. I look forward to learning more about you and your positions in the coming months.

As for Canton, there's a paper mill there that I used to pass on my way to my relatives in Hickory (from Robbinsville, try to find that one on the map!) and had to bury my face in a pillow to avoid the smell. Now when I head from Charlotte back to home, I notice that the smell has not changed at all. Anyway, that's what I know about Canton.

Again, welcome Pat!

Flooding

left Canton pretty well devastated. There were 2 floods from 2 hurricanes that came about 2 weeks apart. The flooding left the Town Hall, the Police Dept., the Fire Dept., the town park, the major employer (Blue Ridge Paper), and the sewage treatment plant under water. Twice. Imagine any community trying to recover from that.

Pat Smathers provided a lot of leadership to pull his town, and others in Western North Carolina, through that. He has demonstrated strong leadership abilities in a crisis. I look forward to hearing his policy-wonk stuff.

very cool

I would definetly like to hear both personal/feel good stories from that AND some major policy initiatives, cause I am sure that he saw good thing and bad things that state govt could change. Just as importantly, that experience is a great way for a mountain candidate to connect with those who live down east.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Late to the party

but Welcome to BlueNC Pat.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Update From Pat Smathers

Thank you to all the BlueNC-ers who have taken the time to consider and respond to some of the ideas I shared in my first post. I am looking forward to an ongoing dynamic dialogue with the committed Democrats on this site as I develop the key points of my platform.

I have chosen the motto “Local leadership, statewide” for my campaign because I believe statewide problems are best solved on the local level. As lieutenant governor, I would use my position to press for further empowerment of local government and local state offices, advancing ideas that put communities first.

I plan to outline some of those ideas in a series of monthly blog posts on various issues, starting today with thoughts on disaster preparedness in our state. Future posts will address topics including economic development, environment, tax reform, education, immigration, energy and public safety.

I sincerely hope you will review my proposals with the skepticism of an on-the-fence voter and the meticulousness of a veteran legislator. I’m not here to fish for compliments: I’m looking for engaged political observers who are willing to tell me what they really think. I am counting on your rigorous critique to shape my campaign so it fully encompasses the Democratic values we all share and how we can best implement them.

I anticipate a lively response online, but would also encourage you to contact me personally if you’d prefer. My e-mail address is smathltg@bellsouth.net. Also, as my family and I travel across the state I encourage you to let me know what you think in person. On Monday, Dec. 11th, my son Zeb will be at the Franklin County holiday party. If you will be attending, please take the time to meet him.

Let’s talk.

My Ideas: Disaster Preparedness

North Carolina has withstood 35 major disasters since FEMA launched its current classification system in 1953. These hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms have destroyed crops, leveled homes, disrupted the economy and – in some cases – taken lives. By adequately preparing for these events, which usually leave behind a million-dollar clean-up bill, we can better protect our citizens and expedite the recovery process.

I learned the devastation of a natural disaster firsthand, when Hurricanes Frances and Ivan pelted Canton with wind and water in the fall of 2004. Resultant flooding turned our town hall into a swimming pool, with muddy waters rising up six feet within the building: Town property alone sustained $9.2 million in damage. More than 20 homes were ruined beyond repair.

As mayor and a National Guard officer with 28 years experience, I knew what had to be done to rebuild. As lieutenant governor, I will make sure all local leaders are similarly well situated by advancing the following principles:

• Compacts between municipalities and emergency management services are crucial for managing a successful recovery effort. The state must make it a priority to strengthen and support these mutual aid agreements.
• If a town has not created or updated its disaster plan, the state should help facilitate that process so security and communication will be maintained in the days after a disaster.
• It is the state’s responsibility to educate local leaders about the resources that are available to them, and to ensure those resources are sufficient. The legislature should create a fund to help municipalities rebuild their communities according to their local values.
• The Hurricane Recovery Act of 2005 was a model of legislation that worked for our state’s citizens and businesses. Future disasters should always be met with such speedy and substantial legislation.

Disaster readiness requires thinking about the smallest details (For more on this, please see my “Top Twelve Lessons Learned for Emergency Preparation and Response from Hurricanes Frances and Ivan”, posted by the North Carolina League of Municipalities.) It’s time for the Council of State to include someone who has wrestled with these details.

I understand the heartbreak coastal North Carolinians endure every time a hurricane strikes their hometown and the fear that seizes our neighbors in southern counties when tornadoes rip through their back yards. We can’t prevent these disasters, or even accurately predict when they’ll hit. But we can mitigate their effects by investing our state’s disaster-preparedness dollars and institutional support in responsive, community-led programs that keep our citizens safe.