Already the signposts for 2014 are being planted. The economy, while improving, promises to be the top issue for the elections. And the elections…there will be some surprises, with resignations and new candidates popping up. Factions within the major parties are shifting, some losing ground at the extremes. The indications are positive for manufacturing and the Manufacturing Solutions Center and Textile Technology Center are gearing up for a year with record activity.
STATE GOVERNMENT AND CHANGES
There will be changes at the top in the N.C. House and Senate. Most legislators predict that House Speaker Thom Tillis will abandon his Speaker role to run fulltime for the U.S. Senate. But Republicans are divided on how this will play out. Will the House elect an interim Speaker or will the vote be for a Speaker who will continue to preside over the 2015-16 session?
Sen. Pete Brunstetter, a senior appropriations chair, has resigned to take another job in the private sector. Will Sen. Jerry Tillman replace Brunstetter and join Sens. Harry Brown and Neal Hunt in the budget-writing role? Several top legislators have announced they will not seek re-election. New Democratic faces are announcing bids to unseat Republicans in Wake County. And will 2014 be a better year for Gov. Pat McCrory who, after one year, shares low poll ratings with President Obama. Will the frosty relationship between the governor and legislative leaders warm up? Business leaders want to know—the environment for their operations is at stake.
PRIVATIZING COMMERCE OPERATIONS
Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker has set in place the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, a private economic development agency attached to Commerce Department.
Heading the operation will be Richard Lindenmuth, a Raleigh business executive and founder of a company that specializes in business restructuring. The private agency will take over the role of recruiting new companies and jobs to the state and marketing the state’s film, tourism and sports industries. Lindenmuth said he has no plans to resign from Verto Partners, his company.
The Commerce Department was a major funding source for the new building in Conover that houses the Manufacturing Solutions Center. Secretary Decker has visited the Textile Center in Belmont and is scheduled to visit the MSC later this month.
CRISCO EYES CONGRESSIONAL SEAT
Former Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco has formed a campaign committee to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat now held by Rene Ellers, a Republican. Crisco is a registered Democrat who touts his ability to work with leaders of both parties. A textiles manufacturing executive, Crisco lives in Randolph County, a Republican stronghold. He is popular with GOP officials in the county.
The membership rolls for the Hosiery and Textiles Governmental Affairs Council is at a record high. We thank those companies, which are investing in the Council’s efforts to protect the interests and environment for our operations. Let’s make 2014 a happy New Year indeed.