Reece Gardner for Tuesday November 20 2012

Join Reece and I as we discuss:

  • 2012 elections
  • “Clean Bill of Health for the City of Kinston”
  • Outlook for Kinston (demolishing houses, Arts & Cultural District, Riverwalk, industry and more)
  • Governor-elect McCrory and Spirit
  • Transitional Hold Harmless money
  • 2013 General Assembly
  • Local elementary school visits
  • Will Barker on Electricities board



Video: Reece Gardner Interview on 10/8/2012

Interview begins at 26:00.

Reece and I covered:
– Street resurfacing
– Amtrak service
– Governor’s race and impact on electric issues
– Planning updates (CDBG, updating UDO, Arts & Cultural District, demolishing blight)
– Monthly newsletter:
– Sewer expansion
– $0.25 sales tax on ballot
– Paying our obligations
– Fund balance
– S. Queen St. bridges
– 2013 Mayor’s race


KFP: Republican vice presidential nominee speaks to capacity crowd at ECU

by David Anderson

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, center, holding American flag, and his wife Jessica watch Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speak before a capacity crowd at ECU Monday.
David Anderson / The Free Press

GREENVILLE — Paul Whittington spent four hours Monday waiting to hear Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan speak – half the time was in the rain and half was in temperatures above 85 degrees – but it was worth all the aggravation to hear from the Wisconsin congressman.

“Absolutely, well worth the wait,” Whittington said. “No regrets at all, a well-spent Monday, a well-spent Labor Day.”

Whittington, a Kinston resident who also serves as a member of the executive committee of the Lenoir County GOP, was one of 2,018 people who filled the Student Recreation Center at ECU to capacity.

Stuart Johnson of Kinston was another. He came with his wife and 15-year-old daughter Rochelle.

“I think this is the most important election in my lifetime,” he said. “It’s a tipping point for our country where we will permanently decide America’s course from here on.”

Rochelle Johnson, a student at Pathway Christian Academy in Goldsboro, said she had never been to a political rally before.

“I just came with my parents because I thought it would be interesting. . . . It’s pretty cool,” she said.

Alan Nielson, assistant director of facilities for the university, said the local fire marshal cut off the crowd in the recreation center when it reached capacity.

Thousands of ECU students and Ryan supporters from throughout Eastern North Carolina spent hours Monday morning waiting in lines that snaked through the area around the SRC, and an overflow crowd in the hundreds was settled in the nearby Hendrix Theater in the Mendenhall Student Center.

Many more spectators heard Ryan’s speech outside over loudspeakers.

“No matter what generation you come from, this really is the most important election of your lifetime,” Ryan told the cheering crowd.

He said the results of this year’s election would “determine the path of America for at least a generation.”

Ryan was introduced by former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican candidate for North Carolina governor.

McCrory described Ryan as “grounded, he’s smart and he has great values, and he is a natural leader.”

“One thing I know is, because my parents were born in Wisconsin, Wisconsin values are very similar to Eastern North Carolina values,” he said. “They love their family, they love their faith, they love people who work hard – that’s Paul Ryan!”

Ryan was selected last month to be the running mate of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s nominee for U.S. president.

Ryan is in the midst of his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives and is serving as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

He is a native of Janesville, Wis.

He has put forth a controversial plan for next year’s federal budget, which opponents have stated cuts spending too deeply and could hurt those in the greatest need.

“We have got to stop spending money we just don’t have,” he told the crowd.

Ryan espouses conservative views of limited government and encouraging private-sector growth by getting government “out of the way.”

“The way to growth and prosperity is by unleashing the entrepreneur,” he said.

He is also a social conservative, speaking against abortion and gay marriage, but his speech Monday focused on fiscal conservatism.

He also spoke of the need to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the comprehensive health care reform package championed by President Barack Obama in 2009 and passed by the U.S. Congress, then held by the Democrats.

Opponents have derisively termed the ACA “Obamacare,” and that derision was on full display Monday – one spectator yelled, “Obama sucks!” as Ryan spoke about repealing the health care reform plan.

He and the speakers who preceded him Monday noted the Democratic National Convention, scheduled to begin today in Charlotte.

“This is a defining moment . . . the president cannot tell you, ‘You are better off (than four years ago),’ ” Ryan said.

One speaker who shared Ryan’s spotlight had a Kinston connection – Mayor B.J. Murphy.

“We need leaders like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who will tell the truth about unemployment, about the state of the economy, and about the change in fiscal policy we so desperately need so that my children and your children won’t have to pay this generation’s debts,” Murphy said. “We need leaders who truly understand servant leadership.”

Murphy, who celebrated his 32nd birthday Monday, attended with his wife Jessica.

He later called the experience “surreal,” especially with TV cameras from national networks such as Fox recording the event.

“It’s really great to have them here in Eastern North Carolina. . . . We are a focal point of the national campaign,” Murphy said.

Jessica Murphy added: “The crowd responded well, so I was very proud.”

The crowd outside

People from all over North Carolina lined up early Monday morning to see Ryan.

The doors to the Student Recreation Center opened at 11 a.m., and the campaign rally began around 1:30 p.m.

The lines snaked toward the doors of the SRC from multiple directions, and were filled with people of all ages and races.

“We think this is the most important election of their lifetimes,” said Scott Dacey of New Bern, who came with his wife Jennifer, their 11-year-old daughter Drew, 9-year-old son Jack – both children attend Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston – and the children’s grandmother, Gwen Joyner of Morehead City.

“I think he’s a genius,” Joyner said of Ryan.

Jack Dacey wore an oversized plastic hunk of cheddar cheese on his head – the typical “cheesehead” worn by Green Bay Packers fans – in honor of the home state of Ryan, and his father.

Scott Dacey, who serves as a Craven County commissioner and the vice chairman of the Craven GOP, is a native of Wisconsin and said he is a longtime friend of Ryan.

“He’s just very well balanced, well mannered, just a great guy with a great family,” Dacey said.

Not everyone in line was a Romney/Ryan supporter.

Matt Cirricione, an ECU freshman from Charlotte, wore a homemade T-shirt supporting Obama.

“I want to hear the other side of the political world,” Cirricione said while waiting in line with two friends.

Sam Hodges, a sophomore from Charlotte, acknowledged he was a Republican, something Cirricione said he found out “yesterday.”

“So this friendship might not last much longer,” Hodges joked.

Their friend, sophomore Theodis White of Rocky Mount, expressed his neutrality.

“I’m just coming here with an open mind,” he said.


David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 or Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.


Video: Mayor Murphy Speaks at Paul Ryan Victory Rally

Victory Rally with Paul Ryan
Remarks by Mayor BJ Murphy

Thank you Mr. Hinton.

Hello Greenville!

How about them Pirates?!

It’s truly an honor to be here today.  I bring you greetings from neighboring Kinston.  My wife and I have been happily married for over nine years and we are blessed with two girls, one four and one 7 months old.

Raised by a bread man, my father knew hard work.  And although today is my 32nd birthday, I could never understand why my father worked on Labor Day when so many took the day off.

But now as a father, I understand the sacrifices you make for your family.

As a public servant, I understand the necessity to respect the tax dollars that we collect from our hard working American families and the stewardship that commands us to spend them wisely.

Max DePree once said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.  The last is to say thank you.  In between the leader is a servant.”

We need leaders like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who will define reality.

We need leaders like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who will tell the truth about unemployment, about the state of our economy, and about the change in fiscal policy we so desperately need so that my children and your children won’t have to pay this generation’s debts.

We need leaders who truly understand servant leadership.

Creating a will for a 14 year old terminally ill child is an example of true servant leadership.

Standing in the gap for you and me to propose a bold, new budget that protects the American family and rewards honest, hard work.  That is servant leadership.

Mrs. Romney said that Mitt will not fail.  I believe she is right, not just because of his tireless work ethic, his devotion to his family and his faith, or because of his humility as well as success.

I believe she’s right because we won’t let him fail.

We can’t let him fail.

North Carolina needs Romney/Ryan.

America needs Romney/Ryan.

But Romney and Ryan need you.

Make some noise and stand today if you believe Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are right for our country.

Make some noise if you are willing to call or text a friend.

Make some noise if you are willing to knock on a neighbor’s door.

Make some noise if you are ready to fight.

Let’s do this America!

God bless you.

And God bless America!

Mayor Interns Getting Exposed to Local Government

2012 Mayor’s Summer Interns:
Carly Sanderson, rising Junior at Bethel Christian Academy
Austin Croom, rising Senior at Bethel Christian Academy
Adam Caldwell, Freshman at East Carolina University

Here’s a list of some of the things the interns have done:

  • City Manager’s meeting with Department Heads
  • Breakfast meeting with Mayor and City Manager
  • Lenoir County Transportation Meeting
  • Presentation(s) to Kinston City Council
  • Luncheon with NC Sen. David Rouzer, Candidate for US Congress
  • Arts grant presentation by US Rep. GK Butterfield
  • Tour of the NRWASA Water Plant
  • Small group discussion with UNC grad students on our new Arts & Cultural District near Mitchelltown
  • Communication via email and phone with NCGA bill drafting and other mayors
  • Tour of the Woodmen Community Center














Video: Reece Gardner Interview on July 24 2012

This week on the Reece Gardner Hour, Reece and I discuss recent headlines, Mayor’s internship program, 2013 Mayor’s race, street resurfacing funding increase, technology improvements at the City (kiosks, online applications and social media), future political office, Section 5 of the Civil Rights Act, endorsement of Pat McCrory (Gov), Dan Forest (Lt Gov), John Bell (NC House) and David Rouzer (US House), partnership with the Arts Council for a $100,000 grant, revitalization efforts, MLK corridor improvements, demolition by neglect.

You should see some significant improvements from City Hall on out over the next four or five years.

My interview begins at 29:15.

Mayor Murphy Endorses Dan Forest for Lt. Governor


Dan Forest for Lt. Governor Campaign Announces Endorsements

(Raleigh, NC)- Dan Forest for Lt. Governor today announced a second wave of endorsements for his campaign for Lt. Governor in the July 17th runoff election.
Endorsing Dan Forest for Lt. Governor:
NC Senator Dan Soucek
NC Representive Carolyn H. Justice
NC Representative John Torbett
Frank Palombo, former Republican Congressional Candidate
Linda Daves, former NC GOP Chair
Bill Cobey, former NC GOP Chair and US Congressman
Bill Randall, former Republican candidate for Congress
Ilario Pantano, former Republican candidate for Congress
Richard Vinroot, former Republican nominee for NC Governor
NC Representative Jerry Dockham
Congressman Joe Wilson
Steve Forbes, Chairman of Forbes Media
NC Representative Jonathan Jordan
Mayor BJ Murphy, Kinston, NC

Video: Reece Gardner April 10 2012

Live interview with local TV host Reece Gardner begins at 17:20.  We had a fun time discussing state and local elections for 2012 and a few other topics.  Reece is a legend in is own time.  I thoroughly enjoy being a guest on his show.

Reece Gardner – April 10 2012


KFP: Local elections board seeks approval for Sunday voting

by David Anderson

After a recent 2-1 vote in favor, the Lenoir County Board of Elections is seeking state and federal approval of a measure to have the polls open during one Sunday afternoon of early voting this spring.

“This is a baby step for us and we’ll see what the voter response is,” board Chairman Sharon Kanter said.

Kanter named 12 counties in North Carolina that have instituted Sunday voting during their early voting periods since 2008 — Wayne County has since stopped opening polls on Sundays, leaving 11 counties which still hold Sunday voting.

She said Sundays in some counties have seen the highest voter turnout of the early voting period, citing State Board of Elections data from the 2008 and 2010 elections.

“In those two elections, the Sunday voting, in no instance, was a bust,” Kanter explained. “It was not the lowest turnout day, but in some counties it was not the highest turnout day — as it was in others.”

Kanter said the data showed board members that Sunday voting “could be a huge convenience to our voters.”

In Lenoir County, early voting for the 2012 federal, state and local primary election begins on April 19 and lasts through May 5; Election Day for the primary is May 8.

Polls are traditionally closed during weekends for early voting — except for the final day, which is a Saturday — but the Lenoir County board proposes opening the polls for several hours during the afternoon of Sunday, April 29.

“We will track the numbers for the first time and see what happens,” Kanter said.

The county must obtain approval for the Sunday voting from the state board and the U.S. Justice Department before implementing it, according to Elections Director Dana King.

Kanter said the proposal will be part of the election plan the county submits to state and federal officials before the primary.

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy posted a poll question regarding Sunday voting on his personal Facebook page recently, and those who commented on the question appeared to be against it, writing statements such as “a big no!!!!!!!!”

Kanter expected the Sunday voting proposal, along with the rest of Lenoir County’s election plan, to be approved in time for primary early voting.

“This is a standard operating procedure for every election,” she said of the election plan.

The Lenoir County elections board is now holding meetings on the third Wednesday of every month, and the 2-1 vote to seek approval for Sunday voting took place at its Feb. 15 meeting.

The minutes of each meeting are also posted on the Board of Elections website,


David Andersoncan be reached at 252-559-1077 or Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.

KFP: Perdue announces will not run for second term as governor

by David Anderson

Local residents, learning of Gov. Bev Perdue’s decision Thursday to not seek a second term, bemoaned the loss of a governor they considered a champion of Kinston and Eastern North Carolina.

“I just hope that the next governor of North Carolina will be as equally concerned and fair for Eastern North Carolina, because that’s extremely important for us,” said downtown businessman John Marston.

Marston and his wife Lucy, who serves as Lenoir County’s tourism director, have known Perdue for many years.

“Lucy and I both consider Bev a very good friend, and a very fair and concerned individual in all aspects of government for North Carolina,” Marston said.

Perdue announced Thursday she would not seek a second term because of what she called “highly partisan times.”

The governor said in a statement released by her office that “it is clear to me that my race for re-election will only further politicize the fight to adequately fund our schools. A re-election campaign in this already decisive environment will make it more difficult to find any bipartisan solutions.”

The New Bern resident has ties to Kinston and Lenoir County stretching back nearly 30 years when she ran for the N.C. House in the mid-1980s.

Former Mayor O.A. “Buddy” Ritch Jr., his late wife MaryMac and Mansfield Creech, who was on the Kinston City Council at the time, took Perdue around town when she made her first run for the House.

“We helped her with just everything we could, because we had heard so much about her caring for the people in Eastern North Carolina, so we introduced her around and our friendship started from there,” Ritch recalled.

Ritch said Perdue was always accessible to folks in the region, “and she would return your telephone calls; there was no trouble getting to her.”

While Marston and Ritch praised Perdue for focusing on Eastern North Carolina a great deal more than previous governors, the Democratic chief executive has clashed with the Republicans in the legislature on taxes, budgeting, voter ID and many other policies.

Those clashes have filtered down to the local level, as well.

“I think her announcement today is probably one of the best things that’s happened to North Carolina in the last four years,” said Kinston’s Republican mayor, B.J. Murphy. “We still need jobs, we still need roads fixed, we just plain need leadership in North Carolina, and I think she saw the writing on the wall.”

Lenoir County Commissioner J. Mac Daughety, also a Republican, praised Perdue for her attention to the eastern part of the state, though.

“Although I disagree with them on a lot of issues philosophically, her administration, particularly the transportation folks and the economic development folks, have been very helpful, very supportive of us in Eastern North Carolina and we hope that whoever is the next governor, they will be as helpful in helping us get the transportation infrastructure and the economic development support that we need,” Daughety said.

A number of names swirled about Thursday as possible Democratic candidates.

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton announced he planned to run.

“I believe that our future economy and better jobs depend on our historic commitment to education,” Dalton stated in a press release emailed to reporters late in the afternoon. “After all, education is in North Carolina’s DNA — it’s what sets us apart and it’s what will determine our future.”


David Anderson can be reached at 252-559-1077 or Follow him on Twitter at DavidFreePress.