Letter: Urban, rural classes unsustainable

May. 11, 2013 @ 01:54 PM

To the editor:

For several months, Gov. Pat McCrory has met with small groups of legislators at the Governor’s Mansion in what appears to be a revived communication tool previously used by former Gov. Jim Hunt.

I was invited to a breakfast a few weeks after Gov. McCrory unveiled his state budget recommendations. This became a topic of conversation as legislators voiced their opinions to him.

I warned Gov. McCrory that I would concentrate more on an “attitude” that I saw within his recommendations, rather than giving heavy scrutiny to specifics.

I outlined the factors within his budget that are detrimental to rural North Carolina: reduced funding for the Rural Economic Development Center, diversion of funds from Golden LEAF, de-emphasis of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, and the elimination of funding for non-profits allowing rural citizens to create business plans and find loan sources for start-up businesses.

Gov. McCrory respectfully disagreed with my assessment. However, he agreed to review some of his recommendations and have further discussion with me.

I live in a rural area. I’m a native and lifelong resident of Person County. I’m proud of my “country” heritage. But, I am fearful that the current policies being pushed in Raleigh will bring increased economic woe to rural areas. I’m part of a growing number of state legislators willing to stand up, but we cannot win this fight alone. We need residents living in rural North Carolina to join your voices in saying that de-emphasis of programs helping rural citizens must end. The idea of two North Carolinas — an urban one with all the perks and a rural one with reduced attention — cannot be sustained.

Rep. W.A. (Winkie) Wilkins



The letter writer represents District 2 in the N.C. House of Representatives.