Saturday, September 08, 2007

Representative Paul Stam
Speaks To Al-Pam Club

by Bill Tarpenning - September 6th, 2007
Bath, NC

Bill Tarpenning

The Al-Pam Republican Club held its monthly meeting on Thursday, September 6th, 2007, at Montero’s Restaurant in Elizabeth City.

Club president Chris East (shown above), of Roper, introduced this month’s speaker, Representative Paul Stam (R-Wake), Minority Leader of the North Carolina House of Representatives after opening remarks by Bill Blevins (shown below), Republican Party Chairman for Pasquotank County.

Bill Blevins - Pasquotank County Republican Chairman

Representative Stam (shown below) told the group that this was just one stop on a swing around the state recruiting candidates for the House. He said, “Of the 120 members of the House, Republicans hold 52 seats. Of the Democrats’ 68 seats, 32 ran unopposed in 2006.” Stam wants a Republican candidate in each of the 120 races.

Representative Paul Stam

“The total vote for Republican House members in November 2006 was 860,225, while the Democratic total was 830,642. That’s 50.87 percent for the Republican members and 49.13 percent for the Democrats. From that, you would think that the Republicans should control the House. “The reason for this disparity is that Democrats have gerrymandered the House districts in their favor. The process puts the maximum number of voters allowable into Republican districts and the minimum possible in Democratic districts.

“For three elections in a row Republicans have received more votes than Democrats.” Stam is hopeful for Republican chances in 2008, as he says, “Gerrymandering is only good for two or three elections because people move or change their minds and the power of the gerrymander dissipates over time.”

He also expects that the national Democrats will put up somebody “like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama” that North Carolinians won’t like.

“Additionally,” he said, “the Republican caucuses in the House and Senate are acting together much better than in the past.” He cited as an example that every Republican voted against the 9.5 percent budget increase for next year.

The need to become the majority “is simple,” he said. “The majority sets the agenda. In our attempt to pass the Defense of Marriage Amendment we had bi-partisan support with more than half the members acting as sponsors of the bill. They tried to kill it in committee but we won that 10 to 14. When it came to the floor, before it was debated, the speaker used his power under the Democrat set rules to deflect it to another committee, where it died.

“When we tried to pass an Eminent Domain Amendment we had 98 sponsors, and it passed 101 to 15, but under reconsideration there were six attempts, by six different groups, to gut the bill and they finally succeeded, and it died.”

“Politics is not a single dimension, a straight line between the left and right, liberals and conservatives,” he pointed out. “There are people above and below the line, split between social and economic issues. Holding the Republican Caucus together is a very difficult proposition, but we’re doing better. Several times we stood together and got eight or nine Democrats to join us to defeat bad legislation.”

He cited as an example the high-risk insurance pool, in which all insured would be assessed to establish the pool to insure high risks: “We thought that was bad idea and we argued long and hard. In the end we lost by one vote in the House, but when it went to the Senate, they had listened to our arguments and agreed to fund it from the general fund.

“We thought the bullying bill was not a great idea, but if we had such a bill it should apply to everyone, not just gays and minorities. We stuck together and got a tie vote in the House. The Senate agreed with our position. When it came back to us it just died.”

Coming back to his plea for House candidates, especially against representatives Bill Owens, Tim Spear and Arthur Williams, he cited two reasons. “We make the Democrats spend their money on those races. And candidates for all offices are needed to excite the voters.

“We don’t want kooks, commies, Klansmen, or felons,” he quipped, “We need good, clean candidates.

This is a first. I usually cover these events and write my own article about them, however Bill Tarpenning (from Bath, NC) shared his article with me and I really like what he had to say. So I used his article above as the blog report on the meeting. Hope you enjoyed it too.

I especially like his use of Paul Stam's closing line as the closing line to his article; "no kooks, commies, Klansmen or felons". The only proviso I wish to add would be that we not continue to be so paranoid of embracing possible sinners that we allow the liberal press to attack us as intolerant and bigoted when things happen.

The recent situation with Senator Craig of Idaho is an example of what concerns me. Anyone who has paid attention to press reports has to recognize that at this point we know as little about what happened in his situation as we knew in the early days about the Duke Lacrosse rape allegations which proved false. However though we really don't know whether Craig acted on the possible sinfull urges which the police officer accuses him of, we know for a fact that Republicans across the nation condemned him and demanded his immediate resignation. Just the possibility that he might have done something wrong meant to Republicans that he was unforgiven and unforgivable! Whatever happened, we (as we always do) destroyed his career. Is this what Jesus Christ taught us? When did we abandon the part of the new testament that says, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".

Is anyone really so free of sin that he can condemn someone on such flimsy analysis? Even if Craig had the sinfull urges which are attributed to him is it not true that even the police officer agrees he did not act on them? The officer wants to condemn him on the officer's opinion that he would have acted. Really? How can he be sure? How can we know if he would have acted even if he had the urge to sin? Is it possible he is like someone who occassionally has the urge towards greed, who is nevertheless strong enough to ultimately resist? Are you so free of sin that Jesus would not caution you to seek forgiveness for your own sins first? Do we have no Christian charity?

What I know for sure is that once again Repubilcans have proven themselves intolerant of and unforgiving of any possiblility of sinfull transgressions. Our reputation for failure of Christian charity remains intact.

On another subject, Bill Tarpenning himself spoke at the meeting to give everyone a status report on Ron Toppin's medical condition. Ron had a series of strokes last week and still had, even as I write this, an ongoing problem with blood clots in some partially blocked arteries at the back of his brain. Doctors continue to agonize over whether to try and treat the clots with blood thinners or to operate on them. Ron is in the Duke Medical Center in Durham. If you get anywhere near there, drop by and give your comfort to Ellen. She has not left Ron's side since the problems started a week ago. God bless them and please pray for them both.

Bill provides update on Ron's medical status.

I enjoyed meeting Paul Stam. I also enjoyed meeting Pat Franzese, candiate for City Council, First Ward, in Elizabeth City. I wish more candidates would attend meetings like the great meetings that Al-Pam conducts.

The Al-Pam Republican Club continues to expand and draw great crowds. Congratulations to Chris East and all the other club members who are working so hard to build this club. Below are some pictures of those who came to Montero's last night.

See you next month!


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