Thursday, October 08, 2009
Speaking to a group of Uptown Charlotte Democrats today, House Speaker Joe Hackney tried to mollify concerns that Raleigh lawmakers don't show a lot of love to Mecklenburg County.
"There's often a perception in Mecklenburg, I am told, that nobody cares about Mecklenburg," he said.
"I can assure you I keep up with it. I know all about 495 ... " People in the audience quickly corrected him that it's completion of the I-485 beltway that is a concern to Charlotteans.
"485, same thing," Hackney said quickly.
Meanwhile the Chapel Hill Democrat blasted Republican legislators for "trying to fight against us at every turn" during the last legislative session. He outlined the difficulty of balancing a state budget that had a $4.6 billion shortfall. The Democratic controlled General Assembly used a package of cuts and tax hikes and federal stimulus money to balance the budget.
"We did what we had to do to protect education and our universities," he said, adding that Republicans did nothing but ridicule Democratic proposals. "This session (they) were not serious about government ... It's a national trend."
My colleague Ben Niolet posted this from the N.C. Republican Party:
N.C. Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer couldn't resist poking fun at a gaffe House Speaker Joe Hackney made while trying to show he is knowledgable about issues related to Charlotte.
Hackney mistakenly referred to Charlotte's incomplete Interstate 485 as "495."
"Despite his selfless attention to Charlotte’s roads, Hackney struck an oratorical pothole when he didn’t know which road he was talking about, and had to be corrected by the audience," Fetzer said. "Speaker Hackney went to Charlotte to demonstrate his awareness of the Queen City’s needs and laid an egg. Let’s hope he didn’t take the wrong road home to Chapel Hill.
"The Speaker should know his roads. And not just the ones that curve sharply to the left,” Fetzer said.