Good news?

One thing I’ve really been waiting/hoping for is for the more enlightened elements of the NC business community to speak out.  Surely, plenty of these folks recognize how central public education has been to the relative success of our state.  Well, that time has finally arrived in the person of one of NC’s richest Republicans:

Ann Goodnight is not happy. In a letter-to-the-editor in the News and Observer, she goes after the state budget and the leaders who wrote and passed it:

We are knowingly under-investing in our pre-K-12, community college and university students; in our teachers; and in innovative new approaches to learning. This budget is an embarrassment in its lack of investment in the skills and competitiveness of its people. This is a grievous mistake.

Before writing this off as another partisan attack, it should be noted that Ann Goodnight – the wife of Jim Goodnight, the founder and CEO of SAS – is a connected, important, and influential supporter of Republicans.

She’s held fundraisers in her home for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (to the tune of $300,000) and is a member of the UNC Board of Governors. According to, she has given to Republicans Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney, as well as Republican Congressional candidates in North Carolina

Her letter was posted by a number of FB friends with glowing commentary.  And sure, good for Ann Goodnight.  But where was she a few weeks ago when they were working on this budget?  And what did she think Phil Berger actually wanted to do for public education when she was holding all those fundraisers for him?    I sure hope to see a lot more of a letter out of her in the future.

That said, I do hope that this is the beginning of a flood of more enlightened/moderate business leaders in the state turning on the far right leadership that’s driving us off a cliff.  Them the elected Republicans will listen to.  Of course, I’ve got some hope for the 2014 and 2016 voters of North Carolina.  But that amazingly successful Republican gerrymander will certainly limit that impact.

[p.s.  Heading out to the mountains for a few days vacation with the in-laws.  You can probably expect a reduced rate of posting.]

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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