North Carolina Democrats have a new leader. At a meeting in Pittsboro Saturday, hundreds of party activists elected Patsy Keever of Asheville as chair. She got a majority of the votes cast among the five seeking to succeed outgoing Chair Randy Voller, who did not seek re-election. Keever has been first vice chair, the party’s number two in command, since 2013. She’s a former state legislator, county commissioner and two-time congressional candidate.
Keever inherits several challenges from Voller. Democrats are in the minority in state government and North Carolina's congressional delegation. The party is also well behind Republicans in fundraising and its bank account sits at only around $53,000, according to Voller. The next general election is a big one, with races for president, governor and U.S. Senate on the ballot.
SC LAWMAKERS WANT TO BOOST TEACHER PAY
South Carolina legislators are considering increasing teachers' salaries as a way to keep young teachers in the profession and be fair to those approaching the ends of their careers. In South Carolina, teachers are paid according to their degree and years of experience. The minimum salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree is $29,600. At 22 years of service, the minimum is $45,500. No increases for experience are required beyond 22 years.
BEACH TOWNS ADD EROSION CONTROLS
Several beach towns in southeastern North Carolina are starting to build or are considering hardened structures they hope will slow shoreline erosion. The StarNews of Wilmington reported crews are pumping sand onto South Beach on Bald Head Island before construction of a "terminal groin" begins. That’s a long, low-slung wall built into the ocean and designed to trap drifting sand. For decades, North Carolina banned hardened structures, which regulators said relocate erosion problems to other oceanfront areas. But legislators voted in 2011 voted to allow up to four terminal groins after hearing complaints from some coastal officials and residents that they needed options other than temporary sandbags and beach nourishment to protect oceanfront property.