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New Report Card on State Governors
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Press Release

New Report Card on State Governors

Against the backdrop of the worst state budget crunch in years, this report presents the findings of Cato Institute’s sixth biennial fiscal policy report card on the nation’s governors. The report card’s grading is based on 17 objective measures of each governor’s fiscal performance. Governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades. Those who have increased spending and taxes the most receive the lowest grades.

10/07/2002
Campaign Notebook: Keough Campaign Director
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Campaign Notebook: Keough Campaign Director

One of the key figures behind state Sen. Bruce Keough's rise from relative political obscurity to a second-place finish in the Republican gubernatorial primary has found a new job. Keough campaign director Rich Killion has been named director of Franklin Pierce College's new Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication. The center, dedicated in May, is named in honor of the press secretary to President Reagan and former President Bush. Before joining Keough's campaign, Killion was executive director of New Hampshire Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group that helped defeat a proposed home rule amendment to the state constitution. The group also supported U.S. Sen. John McCain's bill exempting Internet retail sales from state sales taxes. Killion previously worked at Franklin Pierce as head of public relations and director of the capital campaign. He also helped start the college's Center for Applied Public Opinion Research, a public opinion polling institute.

10/07/2002
Raleigh's Tangled Web Site
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Raleigh's Tangled Web Site

BY J. Andrew Curliss

After a decade of winning dozens of those "Best of" awards, Raleigh has come up a big loser. Brown University researchers ranked Raleigh's city Web site (www.raleigh-nc.org) as one of the worst among those of the 70 biggest cities nationwide. Raleigh's "e-government" efforts were in the same crowd as those in New Orleans, Norfolk, Va., and Detroit. "Good lord!" city spokeswoman Jayne Kirkpatrick said. "That's some tacky company." The Brown University study evaluated Web sites based on a 100-point scale, measuring the availability of information and services and the quality of citizen access, privacy, security, disability access and foreign language translation, among other features. Raleigh ranked 68th out of 70, down from 47th a year ago. Worst was New Orleans, then Norfolk. Best were Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and San Diego. Kirkpatrick said the rankings don't tell the city something it doesn't already know. The city plans to revamp its Web site, she said, and meetings are already scheduled to talk about it. Until now, the Web site operation has been "fragmented" and the pages need to be redesigned, she said. "It is something that we need to address," she said. POLITICAL TRAIL - THE CONSERVATION COUNCIL OF NORTH CAROLINA will hold its annual conference from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the old House chamber of the state Capitol in downtown Raleigh. The theme is "Politics and the Environment: Who We Elect Matters!" - THE RALEIGH JAYCEES will hold a voter registration drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in the food court at Triangle Town Center. - DONNIE HARRISON, the Republican candidate for Wake sheriff, will hold a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Heather Hills clubhouse, 901 Claymore Drive in Garner. He will also appear at a coffee from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at 4824 Fox Branch Court in Raleigh, at an event from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at 805 Hemingway Drive in Raleigh and at a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at 2700 Hazelwood Drive in Raleigh. - REBECCA LIEBERMAN, president and CEO of Vote for America, will speak at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Brickyard at N.C. State University and at 8 p.m. Monday in Room 100 of Hamilton Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill. Vote for America is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit group that is trying to increase voter participation, especially among young people. - PRECINCT 07-07 will hold a candidates' forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Abbotswood at Stonehenge retirement community, 7900 Creedmoor Road. - WAKE SHERIFF JOHN BAKER and Gerry Bowles, a Democrat running in N.C. Senate District 15, will attend a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the home of Jim and Sara Liles, 11504 Black Horse Run in Raleigh. - THE JOHN LOCKE FOUNDATION and Citizens for a Sound Economy will be hosts of a speech on Social Security from Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute in Washington at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the North Raleigh Hilton, 3415 Wake Forest Road. - STATE REP. JENNIFER WEISS, a Democrat seeking re-election in N.C. House District 35, will hold a fund-raiser from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the home of Bett and Bill Padgett, 1213 Dixie Trail in Raleigh.

10/05/2002
People
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People

BY Erin Heath

Image-Makers Boeing has lured Maureen P. Cragin away from the Veterans Affairs Department to serve as vice president of communications in its Washington office. Cragin, 39, is now in charge of coordinating Boeing's communications with Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and many others. She spent the past year and a half as assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs at Veterans Affairs, managing a staff of about 85. She also spent nearly six years with the House Armed Services Committee, ultimately becoming communications director. She got her start in public affairs during seven years of active duty in the Navy (she's still in the Reserves). Cragin caught the attention of the Naval Academy with her prowess as a swimmer, and went on to graduate in 1985. How did she survive her plebe year? She recalls that her father, a former Navy basketball coach and Marine, told her, " 'Remember, it's a game. You just need to play the game.' Whenever I was down, I remembered those words."

10/05/2002
Latest Update from Capitol Hill
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Press Release

Latest Update from Capitol Hill

Just a quick note to provide everyone with a Congressional update. I would say legislative update but that would be a misnomer since there really is not that much legitimate legislation going on up on Capitol Hill.

10/04/2002
Social Security Investment Ads to Run in Allentown
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Social Security Investment Ads to Run in Allentown

BY Jeff Miller

A business-backed coalition promoting private investment accounts for Social Security will begin running TV ads this week in Allentown and 18 other markets with close congressional races. The Coalition for Moderinzation and Protection of America's Social Security, or COMPASS, is spending between $6 million and $8 million on the campaign, which will also include print ads and direct mail. Executive Director Derrick Max said the campaign is aimed at reassuring senior voters that retirement benefits won't be cut if younger workers are allowed to invest part of their Social Security taxes in accounts they own. The coalition includes the Business Roundtable, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the National Association of Manufacturers, the United Seniors Association, the Hispanic Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Although Mark McKinnon, who consulted on President Bush's 2000 campaign, created the ads, coalition leaders said they are not intended to help either party in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 5 election. "This is not a Democratic or Republican issue," said Sam Beard, the coalition's Democratic chairman who served on President Bush's Social Security commission. "It's really those who are for reform against those who are not." According to The Associated Press, the ads will run for two weeks in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia. The coalition declined to provide a full list of specific markets. The ads state that after "years of debate, bipartisan principles have been agreed upon that will save the [Social Security] system." They include protecting current benefits for retirees, no tax increases and allowing younger workers "the option to invest a small portion of their Social Security money in accounts they own." Some Democrats do support the accounts. But most are opposed to them, including Ed O'Brien, who is running for the 15th District congressional seat. The district covers all of Lehigh and Northampton counties and part of Montgomery. O'Brien calls the proposal a "risky privatization scheme" that could cause retirees to lose their retirement savings in a stock market downturn. His opponent, Republican incumbent Pat Toomey, is a staunch supporter of investment accounts for Social Security. Toomey says the accounts will give younger workers a far better return than the government provides and will enable them to build savings they can pass on to their children. Social Security is running a surplus. But that will change dramatically as the baby boom generation begins to retire in large numbers, leaving fewer workers to support them in the pay-as-you-go system. Beard said the system faces a $20 trillion debt that, without private accounts, will need either a 50 percent increase in taxes or a 30 percent cut in benefits. Bush's commission recommended three plans to move toward investment accounts. But critics of the commission's work say the plans would reduce the overall retirement income for most workers and don't account for the transition costs of moving to private accounts. "We've always said the devil is in the details -- how you structure the benefits and how the accounts would work," said Lee Goldberg, spokesman for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Democrats have accused Republicans of avoiding the issue until after the election. But Jack Iannantuono, a Lehigh Valley COMPASS member who ran for U.S. Senate in 1998 on the Libertarian ticket, said neither party is taking seriously Social Security's long-term financial problems. "It could be that people just don't want to deal with difficult issues, and this is a difficult issue to understand, let alone solve," Iannantuono said.

10/03/2002
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
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Press Release

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Today, international trade is at a standstill in 29 ports across the Western United States. Normally bustling docks are quiet, as cargo ships stack up offshore in the Pacific Ocean.

10/02/2002
Texas CSE Director Peggy Venable to Greet Sawgrass Convoy
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Press Release

Texas CSE Director Peggy Venable to Greet Sawgrass Convoy

In what promises to be its biggest rally yet, The Sawgrass Rebellion convoy rolls into the Fort Worth area for an October 12 stop at the Saginaw, TX, Train & Grain Festival. Texas CSE state director Peggy Venable and other CSE members will join the grassroots organization, Citizens Against Forced Annexation, in supporting the convoy as it crosses the country to educate citizens and show solidarity with property owners in the Everglades area of south Florida.

10/01/2002
What’s in a Name?
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Press Release

What’s in a Name?

If, as The Washington Post reports, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill plans to send a tax reform proposal to President Bush before the end of the year, now is the time to set the record straight on what “tax reform” means and why it is necessary.

10/01/2002
Arrogance ... Thy Name is Torricelli
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Press Release

Arrogance ... Thy Name is Torricelli

This Week - The House will take up several measures this week. They begin with H.Res. 543 to express the sense of the House that Congress should complete action on making the marriage tax relief permanent. They will also take up the long awaited Department of Defense Authorization bill. Finally, since a new fiscal year began on Tuesday and the current, continuing resolution ends on Friday, they will also pass another CR - although the length of time has not been decided. The quicksand pit of the federal government, otherwise known as the U.S. Senate, will begin the week with the issue of homeland security again. However, since there is no end in sight to the debate, they will push it aside mid-week and take up the President’s resolution on Iraq. Arrogance… Thy Name is Torricelli Tales abound of Washington’s self-absorption, of our Prima Donna legislators and candidates who will sell themselves for a vote. But, even veteran politicos were surprised on Monday by the sudden and unusual decision of Senator Torricelli (D-NJ) not to seek re-election. The decision itself was remarkable. Known as The Torch, for his fiery and unyielding style, everyone expected him to have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of office. The speech, a self-indulgent rant of momentous proportion, represented the worst of Washington and was, in itself, a perfect example of Washington arrogance.

10/01/2002

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