A local chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) is being established in Polk County, and a diverse group of about 40 citizens attended the chapter’s first meeting last week.
CSE is a national watchdog group with approximately 35,000 members in its North Carolina chapter.
Benny Smith, chairman of the new Polk County CSE Chapter, and George Comparetto, vice-chairman, led the informational meeting last Thursday at Columbus Town Hall.
“We’re not a negative group or a positive group,” said Smith. “If it’s an idea we think is good, we’ll help implement it and if it’s an idea we think is bad, we’ll help get it defeated.”
Smith described CSE as a group that is not Republican, Democratic or Liberal. After all the attendees introduced themselves, Smith commented on the group’s political diverseness.
“This goes to show you we do have a broad base,” said Smith. “Everybody here wants what’s best for the citizens of Polk County and the state.”
N.C. State Rep. Trudi Walend, a member of CSE, attended as guest speaker. She spoke about CSE and about state issues she has faced during her current term.
Walend said officials are making good progress on the county’s current Lake Adger issues.
On the question of redistricting, Walend said Polk County should remain whole through the process.
She discussed problems she has with the state budget and reasons she personally voted against this year’s budget. She explained that many North Carolina programs could be consolidated and the problem lies in spending. She said CSE is one of the solutions to the problems, and groups gather frequently for rallies for and against state issues.
“CSE along with other organizations will help let people know who to get elected,” said Walend. “CSE will be part of the solution. They send you information, keep you up to date and they have a lot of influence on the election and members of the general assembly. People do listen to what CSE says.”
Walend said she appreciates people’s interest in government and although she may receive up to 400 letters and emails per day, she often takes letters to committee meetings so state officials know what people in Polk County are saying.
“You need to remember that this district is not my district, it’s yours,” she said. “I can only be as good as you help me to be.”
CSE is a non-partisan, nationwide grassroots organization fighting for lower taxes and less government. Volunteers are needed for Polk County’s chapter, which plans to operate with a board of directors to decide which issues to support and fight.
“The goal is to be helpful to the county,” said Comparetto. “Based on economics, we are here mostly interested in local stuff, but CSE does handle state and federal issues.”
Polk County’s next CSE meeting will be held on Sept. 11 at a designation that has yet to be determined.