FCC Chairman Ajit Pai visited Graham High School to recognize North Carolina’s recent technological achievement. The Tar Heel State is the first and only state with broadband access in every single classroom.
“As we enter a digital economy we want our students to be able have the tools necessary to compete and, increasingly, that means access to the internet,” Pai said during the visit Tuesday, May 22.
Joining Pai was Lt. Gov. Dan Forest; State Superintendent Mark Johnson; Alamance-Burlington Superintendent William Harrison; Rep. Stephen Ross, R-Alamance; Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, and Rep. Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance.
“We have made some giant leaps over the years, but I think this is probably the largest one so far,” Forest said.
The achievement is long in coming. In 2002, the General Assembly created the Business Education Technology Alliance commission to determine how best to integrate technology into public education. Former Gov. Bev Perdue led that commission.
It wasn’t until 2007 that the School Connectivity Initiative was created to connect every school district to broadband access with help from the Friday Institute. The General Assembly allocated $12 million in recurring funds for the initiative, but eventually the pot grew to $32 million.
The goal was to have every classroom connected to broadband by 2022, but Forest wanted to get there sooner.
“I said, ‘What do we have to do to speed this process up?’” Forest said. “Really, the equation amounted to money and manpower.”
North Carolina reached the goal with help from the FCC and public private partnerships with the Friday Institute, MCNC, and other agencies. The FCC contributed $65 million to the endeavor.
“For the last 11 years North Carolina has been the recipient of some $700 million dollars in E-rate funding, and we see today in this high school, in this very room, the power of that funding.” Pai said. “Every dollar has been stretched in the Tar Heel state to make sure that every student here, regardless of who he or she is, regardless of where in the state he or she happens to live, has access to educational opportunities.”
The job isn’t done just because every K-12 classroom has access to broadband. Johnson said he would continue working on a computer science plan to help prepare students for a job in that field.
“There are over 18,000 jobs here in North Carolina right now that are open in the field of computer science,” Johnson said. “The lieutenant governor and I are looking for a way to connect every student to those opportunities, and having high speed internet in the classroom will help with that endeavor.”
Connectivity was one of the easier parts of moving the initiative forward, Forest said. Data management, teacher training, and integrating technology into school curriculums are part of future efforts.
“Now we are finally starting to see the benefits of connectivity,” Forest said. “Because of this endeavor of getting every classroom connected, we are starting to see results in local level as well.”
Forest pointed to the equalizing effects of internet access and argued that students in poorer areas now have the same ability to succeed as students in wealthier, urban districts.
“This makes a difference in students’ lives,” Forest said. “To have a student in a rural part of our state, in Hyde County or Alamance County, or Swain county or somewhere else that doesn’t have connectivity to the best content and curriculum in the world, now they have that.”
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Administrator Linda McMahon and Small Business Week
During Small Business Week, I hosted Administrator of the SBA, Linda McMahon in Raleigh for a series of events. She was selected by President Trump to be part of his cabinet because of her success as a businesswoman, creating a multibillion dollar company with WWE. During her visit we visited Triangle Rock Club, attended a small business awards luncheon and wrapped up with a town-hall with the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Although it was an early morning wake up call, I had a blast at the Opening Ceremony for the Lineworkers Rodeo in Wake Forest. This is an annual event that is held each year around the United States. This year, North Carolina was able to host the best lineworkers in the country to compete in their version of the Olympics. From the fly over to the competitions, it was an awesome morning. These men and women truly do “keep the lights” on for all of us and we should be grateful for their work throughout our communities.
Henry Clay Day
Another great Henry Clay Day at our office. We always look forward to celebrating the life of one of our country’s greatest statesmen, as well as honoring a leader from North Carolina that puts principles over politics. This year we honored High Point native Dr. Robert “Bob” J. Brown as the newest inductee into The Order of the Henry Clay Oak.
Brown’s career includes working with Martin Luther King Jr. and serving on the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, working for U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, and serving as a direct report and adviser to President Richard Nixon.
On the road in Morganton and Hickory
I had a great day on the road visiting Morganton and Hickory. Started off with the Special Olympics opening ceremony, then visited WPCC as well as the future site of the Western Campus of the School of Science and Math, and wrapped up with a NFIB Business Roundtable.
Opening of Standard Process Inc.
I joined leadership from Standard Process Inc. for their ribbon-cutting at the North Carolina Research Center in Kannapolis. Standard Process, a manufacturer of high-quality nutritional supplements, has chosen North Carolina as the location for its Nutrition Innovation Center. We welcome Standard Process and thank you for choosing our state. Be on the lookout for a video that we are doing about this operation.
Recently the North Carolina Democratic Party released a statement with the headline, “NC Democrats Condemn Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s Comments Attacking Democrats of Faith” at Civitas Institute’s annual Conservative Leadership Conference this past weekend.
In it, they scold Lt. Gov. Forest for calling Democrats people that “don’t have hope in God.” The only problem is, he never once mentioned democrats during the seventeen-minute speech (you can see for yourself in the video below).
The speech aimed to point out the religious-like fervor with which secularists have embraced government in hopes of achieving their version of utopia. He also pointed out that this is not just a problem on the Left, saying, “This is not just an idea of the Left anymore. I think this is an idea of the Right, too. I think you see more and more people on the Right looking for government to solve the problems.”
Unfortunately, this is an example of opportunists choosing to incite outrage without relying on facts or context.
The question is, did they willfully blur the lines between secular progressive ideologues and Democratic voters, at large, or do they genuinely believe that every registered Democrat subscribes wholesale to their platform?
Not every Democrat is a leftist, and not every Republican is a conservative. Saying so evokes a sort of political ignorance for which there is little excuse.
The decision to lump all Democrat voters into the same category as those mentioned in the speech delivered at the Civitas conference is an unfair representation of their own party, since voter opinion runs a broad spectrum for both of the state’s chief political parties.
For example, many secularists on the Left believe there should be no restrictions on abortion. Contrast that radical position with the fact that 49 percent of Hispanics (a demographic that voted for the Democratic presidential candidate by a wide margin in 2016), believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
Perhaps this serves to prove the point even more clearly: In the February Civitas poll, 50 percent of Democrat voters said they support having a smaller government with fewer services compared to 35 percent of those that support having a larger government with higher taxes. If we were to ask progressive ideologues this same question, it is safe to assume their opinion on big government wouldn’t even come close to 50 percent.
Lt. Gov. Forest was making a larger point about how the growth of secularism leads to more dependence on government. That is a point on which many Democrats and Republicans can agree, even if they hold different policy solutions. A belief in transcendent truths or God will naturally place limits on the state.
The NC Democratic Party has chosen to paint their members with a broad brush in hopes of fostering needless partisan division. They have irresponsibly misconstrued a statement and covertly apply a blanket label to 38 percent of voters, to incite outrage.
We invite you to chime in on this conversation. If you think the NC Democratic Party mischaracterized the Lt. Gov.’s speech, share this video with your friends. Let’s give North Carolinians the real story behind Friday night’s CLC speech.
RALEIGH – Republicans may control Congress, the White House and North Carolina’s legislature.
But when it comes to debating the role of government in the public square, N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says conservatives are at a disadvantage.
Forest, a likely candidate for governor in 2020, was among the headline speakers this weekend during the Civitas think tank’s Conservative Leadership Conference at the Crabtree Valley Marriott.
In a short speech Friday night, Forest argued that government can’t — and shouldn’t be expected to — fix all of society’s ills. But, he said, small-government conservatives are in a dangerous place in history because “the left” marches and lobbies for bigger government with “religious fervor.”
“It’s the thing that wars used to be fought over,” Forest said.
“You see it on issues like climate change or the Me Too movement or Black Lives Matter or gun control,” he continued. “Name the issue today, the fervor has reached a religious pitch in America. Why? Because it really is the religion of the left.”
Real societal and cultural change comes with changes in character, Forest argued. Referencing a push for more gun restrictions, Forest at one point noted that God punished Cain — and not the rock — when Cain used a rock to kill his brother Abel in the biblical book of Genesis.
The left, however, “they don’t have a hope in God,” Forest said. “They have no hope in a higher power.
“They are hopeless. They truly do believe that, but for the government, but for the work they do, there’s no hope for America. So, it’s a dangerous place to be.”
Republicans are guilty of relying too much on government too, Forest added. He noted that the recent omnibus spending bill in Congress raised America’s debt, didn’t block funding to Planned Parenthood and didn’t repeal Obamacare.
Government isn’t the answer, he said.
So what is? “Before we can change government, we must change men’s hearts,” Forest said.
He suggested that people don’t help each other enough because they expect government to step in. “Why would we help our neighbors if government is going to do it for us?” he said. “Why would we help the poor if government’s going to do it for us? Why would we feed the hungry, help the sick, take care of mom and grandma in their old age if government’s going to do it for us?”
The U.S. Constitution and founding documents were crafted through a “God-ordained framework,” Forest said.
But, he argued, America‘s culture is no longer God-centric. “We need to teach character education in North Carolina,” he said. “If you want to make a huge dent in the breakdown of society, then make a dent in fatherlessness.”
Forest laid out these numbers: 43 percent of children live without their father, fatherless children are four times more likely to live in poverty, 70 percent of children in state-operated facilities come from fatherless homes and fatherless kids are twice as likely to die by suicide.
“If you want to make a dent in all these issues, don’t make a policy, don’t get government involved,” Forest said. “Start to do something about fathers in homes.”
He didn’t elaborate on what that might look like.
NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV) –
A statue of Billy Graham may soon be in the U.S. Capitol Building.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest tweeted Tuesday, “soon, a statue of Billy Graham will reside in the US Capitol Building showing our admiration for the life he lived, the faith the held, the Gospel he preached and the pride we have in calling him our own.”
Forest wrote a letter to the architect of the Capitol, asking the Joint Committee of the Library of Congress to approve North Carolina’s request to replace the statue of Governor Charles B. Aycock in Statuary Hall with a statue of Reverend Billy Graham.
“Today, as Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina and President of the North Carolina Senate, I write to encourage you to approve North Carolina’s request to replace Governor Aycock’s statue with one of Rev. Graham,” Forest stated in the letter.
Graham died just before 8 a.m. Wednesday from natural causes at his family home in Montreat, NC, just outside Asheville. He turned 99 on Nov. 7.
Graham’s body is currently lying in repose at the Graham Family Homestead in Charlotte, where thousands have visited since Monday.
Wednesday, Graham’s body will be taken to the U.S. Capitol where he will be the first private citizen to lie in honor there since Rosa Parks in 2005. Rev. Graham’s body will lie in honor for Wednesday and Thursday.
Graham’s funeral service starts at noon on Friday, March 2. The funeral will be private and open only to invited guests. Burial will follow.
The Sampson County Friends of Agriculture is having its annual Ag Rally on Tuesday, Feb. 27, with the Lt. Gov. Dan Forest as this year’s guest speaker.
The event is open to the public but Friends of Ag organizers request that people secure a ticket to attend. Tickets are available at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office , Hwy 421 South and Clinton Truck & Tractor Co., 107 NE Blvd. Clinton, NC
Forest has served as Lt. Governor of North Carolina since January 2013. Prior to becoming Lt. Governor, he received two degrees from the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC). After college, he became a leader in the business community for over 20 years, having served as Office President and Senior Partner of the state’s largest architectural firm, Little Diversified Architectural Consulting.
He has been designated as an Architect Emeritus. A father of four, he and his wife, Alice, reside in Wake County.
Since being elected to office, Forest has been a strong proponent of the agriculture community. With North Carolina being the third most agriculturally diverse state in the nation,Forest saw an opportunity to grow the industry when food manufacturing only ranked 19th. He led the charge for the development of the Food Manufacturing Task Force, of which he was a co-chair. Through his leadership, as well as that of the Department of Agriculture and NC State, this task force devised a plan to grow food manufacturing in North Carolina, which will result in approximately 40,000 new jobs, and help thestate reach the goal of $100 billion annually produced by the state’s agriculture sector.
For his work on behalf of the agriculture community, Commissioner Steve Troxler presented Forest with the distinction of Ambassador of Agriculture, the highest honor in North Carolina for someone in the agriculture community.
Finally, Forest successfully worked with the FCC to bring high speed broadband to every single classroom in the state. Building off this success he is now working with the Federal Department of Agriculture and the FCC to bring high-speed broadband to the last mile of rural North Carolina and the state’s farming communities.
He will be discussing this topic among many others during his time at the annual Ag Rally here in Sampson.