Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Foxx grabs ringside seat for Obama speech

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will have a ringside seat for President Obama's first State of the Union speech tonight. He'll be in the House gallery with other guests and VIPs.

Foxx travels to Washington this afternoon for the speech, where he'll be a guest of U.S. Rep. and fellow Democrat Larry Kissell. Each member of Congress can invite one guest.

Foxx also got a new assistant today. Kevin Monroe will serve as a sort of chief of staff, working out of the same office as did longtime Pat McCrory aide Dennis Marstall.

Monroe, 47, was a strategist for Foxx during last fall's campaign. He ran U.S. Sen. John Edwards Charlotte office for four years and before that worked on Capitol Hill for former Democratic Sens. Terry Sanford of North Carolina and Bob Graham of Florida. He also served as Senate liaison for the U.S. Department of Energy.

In his new role, Monroe says, "I want to certainly play on my policy background."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fetzer: 2010 to see historic GOP gains

Not since 1898 have Republicans controlled both chambers of the N.C. legislature. State GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer thinks that's going to change.

"Republicans are going to get a majority in the General Assembly, both House and Senate," Fetzer said today during a series of stops in Charlotte.

N.C. Republicans could find a national tailwind this year, an off-year election when the out-of-power party historically does well in congressional races. Add to that a flurry of retirements by prominent Senate Democrats and the six seats the GOP needs for control seem within reach.

In the House, Republicans need 9 seats to take control.

With former Gov. Mike Easley and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, both Democrats, facing possible criminal investigations, Fetzer thinks the "culture of corruption" charge that didn't stick after the fall of House Speaker Jim Black and other Democrats finally will gain traction.

"Beyond that, Republicans need to demonstrate and articulate a coherent and cohesive message," Fetzer said. Look for the state GOP to get more involved in legislative races this year than it's done before.