As the 2016 Primary nears, all eyes and ears will be on the races for president, governor, and Congress. There’s no doubt that the presidential primary has been a bit of roller coaster. But in these uncertain times, we urge all North Carolina voters to make your voice heard and get out to vote on March 15th.
Looking beyond the rowdy presidential primary, there’s one item on the ballot where Farm Bureau needs your support and attention – the Connect NC bond. Over the past few weeks, we have made our case for supporting the bond. To help jog your memory, there are three main reasons to vote for the bond: 1) North Carolina can borrow at historically low rates, without affecting its financial reputation; 2) no tax increase needed to pay back the bond; 3) the projects are worthwhile investments, especially in regard to agriculture—the number one economic driver in North Carolina.
The Connect NC bond provides funding for projects that will benefit both urban and rural communities across the state. But as an advocate for farm and rural families, we’re going to focus on how the bond will positively impact rural North Carolina. If you missed our previous posts, the bond will make investments in:
- Improvements to our universities and community colleges that will help prepare rural North Carolinians to meet the demands of a 21st century workforce
- Small town water and sewer infrastructure projects that have been on the back burner for far too long
- State parks that help keep tourists coming back to our rural communities
- Our state’s National Guard training facilities.
- New agricultural research facilities that will help make North Carolina agriculture a $100 billion industry.
The Connect NC bond is a no-brainer for rural North Carolina. Patrick Woodie, president of the NC Rural Center, recently said “The Rural Center estimates that a minimum of $887 million of the $2 billion in bond proceeds will go directly to building long-term assets in rural communities.” That’s almost half of the bond funding going into rural North Carolina! Woodie added, “We have seen more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs leave our state, forever altering the composition of our rural economy. Now is the time to invest in the long-term future of our state, particularly for our rural communities.”
Rural North Carolinians need this bond to pass. All you have to do is turn out to vote, just as you have in the past! In the 2012 primary, based on the Rural Center’s new rural/urban county map, rural voter turnout was 35.84 percent compared to urban voter turnout at 34.37 percent (see map below). This shows you that if an issue or even an election is important to rural NC, we can stand together to improve the future of rural communities.
Farm Bureau’s united and statewide support of this bond is demonstrated by the overwhelming majority of county Farm Bureaus who have passed their own resolutions supporting the bond and encouraging their communities to do so as well. Now is the time for Farm Bureau and rural families to stand together and support this vital investment in the future of our state.
Go to the polls during early voting (ends March 12) or on March 15. You can truly make a difference in rural North Carolina for years to come. We urge you and your neighbors to vote FOR the Connect NC bond to keep North Carolina moving forward!