Thank you for the honor of representing you in the North Carolina General Assembly this year. As the year winds down, I look back with both pride and concern. The challenges were manifest and the process sometimes burdensome; the results are for you to judge.
I am proud to have participated in one of the most historic sessions in the history of North Carolina. This General Assembly took office on January 26, 2011. The new majority committed itself to closing the $3 billion budget gap, reducing the tax and regulatory burden and beginning the process of reforming how this state does business. Speaker Thom Tillis handed out little red wristbands engraved with our self-proclaimed agenda of Jobs and Economy. He urged us to snap ourselves each time we veered off track. I snapped myself so often that I broke the first wristband and had to obtain another.
We accomplished much of the agenda that we had set. We got lost sometimes and took up other issues. That happens. My patience often wore thin as I sat for hours listening to debate, hyperbole and harangue. In the end, we did much good and little harm. We did balance the budget, closed the gap, reduced regulatory intrusion and began the process of reform in education, criminal justice and general government. We took on some controversial social issues and we began to shine the light on historic wrongs.
I was honored to receive the “Defender of Freedom” Award from the American Conservative Union with a perfect score in their first-ever rating of state legislators. Also, CIVITAS ranked my performance in the top 25% of the Legislature with a score of 92 out of 100.
The General Assembly met for the last time this year right after Thanksgiving. The House passed a cap on the gasoline tax but the Senate adjourned and did not take up the bill. The new compact with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation has been signed by the governor but is awaiting legislative approval. The Eminent Domain bill that insures fair payment for personal property taken by the government remains stalled in the NC Senate. Our tax system desperately needs a fundamental overhaul and we must override the governor’s veto of “Photo ID To Vote” and the “Energy and Jobs Act,” both of which were passed with overwhelming support in both houses of the legislature.
This year I spent hundreds of hours in our schools, talking to students and teachers. I attended scores of meetings with constituents and local groups to hear their concerns and their ideas. I received and responded to thousands of emails. I learned a lot, but I have not yet learned enough. I am disappointed that I have not heard from many of you. I need more constituent input; I need to know what is on your mind. Please contact my office in Raleigh at 919-733-2406 or follow me on Facebook and Twitter, visit my webpage (www.CraigHorn.com) or subscribe to my newsletter. But, most of all, tell me what is on your mind.
May this Christmas Season bring peace to our nation, joy to our families and usher in a re-birth of good will among our friends and neighbors. This is a time for both reflection and hope. We must learn from the past, but we cannot live in it. This Holy Season is a reminder of our gift and a promise for our future. It is up to each of us to use that gift for the good of mankind, for North Carolina and for our marvelous country.
May God Bless Us All!