Nobody has the rural solution | Eastern North Carolina Now

Tom Campbell
    As one who was born and raised in Eastern Carolina I hate to see what is happening to this rural region. Many voice concerns about the fate of the region east of I-95, as well as the rural west and other rural sections nobody to date has come up with solutions to the crisis. Every day that passes results in people getting poorer, less healthy, less educated and more ethnic, having to cope with a crumbling infrastructure.

    Rural unemployment rates are horrendous, a result of the perfect storm of textile and other manufacturers closing their doors about the same time as the decline of tobacco and mechanization of agriculture put people out of work. No jobs mean no taxes and no corporate or charitable contributions to solve problems. The population exodus, especially in the past three decades, means they have fewer legislators and less clout in public policy decisions. And it must be admitted that some of current rural crisis is a result of the lack of entrepreneurial, dream-driven, results-focused local and regional leadership, not just from politicians but from all sectors.

    Like the "Field of Dreams" movie the mantra has been, "If you build it, they will come," and while nobody would pretend North Carolina has done enough we have made a concerted effort to build roads, run natural gas lines, construct high-speed Internet and even funnel economic development funds into regional economic development partnerships. Guess what? The jobs and the people didn't come and whereas many have criticized the NC Rural Center and the Golden Leaf Foundation they have been the best hope rural regions have had.

    Every person in our state, regardless of where they live, will benefit from stronger rural counties. Growing, urban areas might not agree, but their growth is causing problems with traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, overtaxed water and sewer systems and higher crime rates. It could get worse. If we don't find ways to improve rural conditions the courts will likely force more and more urban and state tax dollars be spent on rural areas for education, healthcare, unemployment benefits and other government payments. It's the classic "pay me now or pay me later" situation.

    Continuing to do little or nothing is not a solution. It won't be easy and there's no one-size-fits-all answer, since each county and each region has singular advantages and disadvantages. But we must get started.

    We call on Governor McCrory and all government leaders to make this their number one priority for 2014. Yes, there are other significant needs but none more threatening to our state's future wellbeing. Next, we urge top business leaders and those from every sector to commit their time and resources to this issue. Most importantly, our rural leadership must rise to the challenge, put aside their petty sectional rivalries and jealousies and work toward as one for regional good.

    Our state is home to some of the best and brightest thinkers in the world and not for one minutes do we believe we won't find solutions if this is our priority. We've done it before and can do so now. North Carolina cannot succeed when 50 of our counties thriving and the remaining 50 are gasping for survival.

    Publisher's note: Tom Campbell is former assistant North Carolina State Treasurer and is creator/host of NC SPIN, a weekly statewide television discussion of NC issues airing Sundays at 11:00 am on WITN-TV. Contact Tom at NC Spin.
Go Back


Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )




'Trust,' a useful tool for deceitful people My Spin, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics Reports of Mass N.C. Teacher Exodus Miss the Mark


HbAD0

Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during an interview over the that he and President Joe Biden were not responsible for the illegal alien crisis that has exploded as a direct result of Biden’s open border policies.
A new national poll shows roughly two-thirds support for key school choice concepts among American parents.
Venezuelan illegal alien had been arrested previously in NYC for harming child
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been sent back to the hospital, the Pentagon announced on Sunday, the latest wrinkle in a health controversy that began last month over the Cabinet official’s secretive hospitalization for complications following a procedure to treat prostate cancer.
The Democrat-led Senate pressed ahead on Sunday with a $95 billion foreign aid package that dropped a controversial border security and immigration reform deal that was originally included in it.
At an adults-only family meeting held behind closed doors, the parents of 7-year-old Tim Wilcott shared their concerns that "Little Timmy" had not yet graduated high school.
Former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr suggested during a speech late last week that in a rematch between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, he’ll back his former boss.

HbAD1

In North Carolina, bars and restaurants interested in purchasing spirits must place an order through the ABC warehouse system.
The Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda is reportedly rapidly growing in size inside of Afghanistan just a couple of years after President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from the country.
I am no football expert. I am only a fan. I learned the game as a cheerleader in the 1960s. I knew the “push ‘em back” and the “ hey, hey, let’s go” as well as anybody.
After a hard-fought but relatively low-scoring game, the Kansas City Chiefs came away with a 25-22 victory in Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.
In a landmark compromise between Democrats and Republicans, the Senate is set to vote on a new anti-murder bill that will limit the allowed murders to only 5,000 per day.
Bob Bauer, the personal lawyer for President Joe Biden, claimed during an interview over the weekend that Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on Biden’s handling of classified material was a “shoddy” piece of work that contained numerous “misstatements of fact” from Hur’s interview
Korean Christians stand up to anti-Israel protestors at Harvard: ‘What’s happening here is not normal’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back at an ABC News journalist during an interview over the weekend after the journalist promoted Hamas terrorist propaganda.

HbAD2

 
Back to Top