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News State / Region

Being a member of Congress has its perks.

The pay isn’t bad, there are plenty of breaks, and allowances for staff and expenses can reach as high as seven figures — not to mention the various tax benefits, pensions and health insurance.

But when it comes to winning a prestigious seat on Capitol Hill, candidates and incumbents are largely on their own. Regardless of rank, all are forced to sweat it out raising campaign funds at private meetings and public events, in order to pump cash into election efforts.


Ron Robinson and Jane Hipps to face off in primary.

The Macon County News is presenting candidate profiles on all primary candidates between now and the May 6 primary. Following the results of the primary, MCN will then profile candidates vying for seats in November.

The North Carolina Senate District 50, which represents Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Swain, Jackson and Macon counties, is an office in which voters will choose which candidate will move on to the general election in November. The winner of the May primary will face Republican incumbent Senator Jim Davis in the November general election.


Recently, during the League of Women Voters' monthly meeting at Tartan Hall, Chris Brook gave an overview of what new voting laws could mean to North Carolinians.

Last year, the N.C. legislature passed bills that would establish new voting regulations and procedures that will go into effect in 2016. Brook serves as a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who will be representing the league in a lawsuit opposing some of the provisions in the new voting law.

“A lot of the headlines that we see refer to the voter I.D. portion of the law,” said Brooks. “But that is a small portion. It is important that we understand the other changes that come with the law.”

The league has publicly opposed the law since it gained national attention last spring. Brook began his presentation by giving an overview of the history spanning back to the first bill, House Bill 589.


Students who entered third grade this year became the first batch of students to be affected by the state’s new Read to Achieve law. The law, which requires local districts to retain students who do not test proficient on the end of grade reading test, was predicted to cause nearly 50 percent of third grade students in Macon County to fail third grade at the end the school year.

Monday night, Carol Waldroop, director of Elementary Education for Macon County, informed school board members that the district had been approved for a one-year waiver that allows the district to view alternative assessments in addition to the end-of-grade test when determining which students should be retained at the end of the year.

“We think the retention rate would be about 50 percent statewide if the state board had not added some alternatives to the original law besides the portfolio,” said Waldroop.


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