By: John Steed
Republican voters have been scratching their heads over our GOP-led legislature's sudden embrace of gambling, both new sports betting laws that have already passed, and pressure to open up our state to multiple new casinos. A handful of legislators are behind this push and one of those most involved is Kinston's Senator Jim Perry, who is at least nominally a Republican.
Many citizens are concerned that gambling often brings with it other problems like drugs, prostitution, and other crime. Gambling can also drain family finances of gambling addicts.
Senator Perry was recently named by a national pro-gambling organization as a finalist for their “Gambling Policymaker of the Year” award in the 2023 American Gambling Awards. Perry is seen by the gambling industry not only as a leader of their efforts in North Carolina, but nationally as well.
Perry is a huge recipient of the gambling industry's campaign financial contributions. Bob Hall of Democracy NC recently released a report on the penetration of gambling industry and marijuana industry money in North Carolina politics, and it found Senator Jim Perry to be the fourth largest recipient of contributions from the gambling industry and the marijuana indusstry in the 170 member state legislature. Most of that money came from out of state and from contributors who had never donated in a North Carolina campaign previously. Perry received $25.100 from gambling and marijuana industry sources.
During his tenure in the legislature, Perry has been known for being a major leader on other issues of a liberal nature where he has taken large campaign contributions from special interests pushing for them. For example, Perry was heavily funded by Big Medicine interests and has been a major promoter of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which passed earlier this session, after a multi-year campaign.
Obamacare Medicaid expansion will strip hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians of their employer provided medical insurance and force them onto taxpayer-funded Medicaid. In doing so, it will mean many of them will lose their doctors. It also raises the cost of employee medical insurance to small business and increases costs to county governments. Perry was obviously more concerned about supporting his campaign contributors than looking out for the interests of his constituents.
Last year, in a similar move, Perry took big campaign contributions from “woke” utility monopoly Duke Energy and from wind and solar operators and became a major supporter of their push for NC's Green New Deal, HB 951. That legislation, which is modelled on the EU's Green Deal, but is more radical, will greatly raise electric rates in North Carolina. It has already directly led to an 18% rate increase, which will be the first of many. Germany, which has followed the same path to which this legislation now commits North Carolina, has seen a massive rise in electric rates as a result. Germans now pay over three times what North Carolinians pay for electricity.
Perry is elected by a district that includes all of Beaufort, Craven, and Lenoir counties and faces election again in 2024. Filing for that seat will happen later this Fall.
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