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Lancaster, Kissell join Fix the Debt effort

Former Democratic Congressmen Martin Lancaster and Larry Kissell are lending their names to the Fix the Debt campaign that is seeking to pressure Congress to take major steps to overhaul programs such as Social Security and Medicare and other entitlements to address the question of the national debt.

“We are honored to have former Representatives Lancaster and Kissell join our campaign for a strong economy,'' said Bob Ingram, the co-chair of the state Fix the Debt campaign.

The campaign is being financed by former Wall Street executive Pete Peterson and is being headed by former UNC President Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson.

More than 11,195 North Carolinians have signed the group's petition.

Lancaster and Kissell among 100 former members of Congress who were named to the Congressional Fiscal Leadership Council, a branch of the Fix the Debt campaign.

NCAE to lobby Hagan, congressmen on fiscal cliff negotiations

A state teachers union representative will visit members of North Carolina's congressional delegation as part of an effort to avoid cuts to education spending and to advocate for an end to tax breaks given to the wealthy as negotiations over how to address the so-called fiscal cliff are lingering.

Mark Jewell, vice president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, will meet on Wednesday with Sen. Kay Hagan and Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Larry Kissell – all Democrats – to deliver a simple message: "The state budget for education has grown tighter, and the federal government has had to pick up," he said. "There's nothing left to cut outside of the classroom."

Jewell said he supports the Democratic push for tax breaks given to the wealthy to expire, saying that it's "time for everyone to pay their fair share to help public education."

The National Education Association, of which NCAE is a member, estimates the effects to North Carolina would be harsh:

  • $33.5 million in cuts, affecting nearly 45,000 low-income students;
  • $26.8 million in cuts, affecting nearly 14,000 students with special needs;
  • $14.1 million in cuts, denying nearly 1,700 the proven benefits of Head Start.

Jewell said those cuts specifically would be realized through federal funding provided to schools in low-income communities, programs for children with disabilities, and the Head Start Program.

Kissell welcomes Hudson to Washington

U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell welcomed Congressman-elect Richard Hudson to his Washington office on Thursday.

The two met to discuss issues important to North Carolina’s 8th District, and to update Hudson on the ongoing work of Kissell’s office.Hudson, a Republican, ousted two-term Democrat Kissell to take over the seat after a campaign that was expensive and hotly-contested.

Morning Roundup: Ellmers gets the benefit of a newly drawn district

Democrat Steve Wilkins, running in a tough congressional race against Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers, says his 22 years of military service – which include a key role in planning the invasion of Iraq – show the spirit of public service Washington needs to break the partisan logjam.

Wilkins is at the polls every day, introducing himself to early voters. But the odds are against him. National Democrats haven’t poured money into his campaign. And Ellmers, with much more cash, has another big advantage: The Republican legislature redrew her district in her favor. Full race profile here.

More political headlines:

--The main candidates for governor say they favor taking some steps to make state government more transparent, but both avoid sweeping promises about opening up many more records than are already public.

Morning Roundup: Congressman Kissell refuses to debate GOP rival Hudson

Citing scheduling conflicts, U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., has declined to commit to a locally televised debate with Republican challenger Richard Hudson.

Hudson, in a statement released by his campaign, called on the Democratic congressman “to come out of hiding.” Full story here.

More political headlines:

--Get a rundown on the feisty second presidential debate and see a fact check on the candidates' statements. Students at Queens College gave the win to the president.

--Emulating President Barack Obama, Walter Dalton also took an aggressive stance while Pat McCrory bobbed and weaved in the governor's race debate. And see an excerpt from a key exchange.

New Republican ad ties Kissell to Obama, unemployment numbers

The National Republican Congressional Committee has released a new TV ad tying Rep. Larry Kissell to Barack Obama and North Carolina's high unemployment.

D.C. Democrats tilting toward McIntyre, away from Kissell?

The Democrats are placing their bets, and they like Mike McIntyre's chances, but appear to be growing skeptical about Larry Kissell's prospects.

At least that is the takeaway from a Politico article about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reshuffling their resources. The article says they are sending more money to McIntyre in his efforts to defeat challenger David Rouzer in the 7th.

The DCCC has already pulled back on two weeks of TV reservations in defense of Kissell who is being challenged by Richard Hudson in the 8th.

Morning Roundup: Kissell, Hudson spar about Medicare in AARP debate

In the latest faceoff for one of the most competitive congressional seats in the country, the 8th District candidates sparred Monday over Medicare, Social Security and other issues crucial to senior citizens.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell said he opposes any changes to those two programs, while Republican Richard Hudson said he’d favor offering retirement “choices” to those now his age (40) and younger. Full debate story here.

More political headlines here:

--South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley had a simple message Monday for undecided North Carolina women: Jobs and the economy should trump social issues when it comes to deciding the next president.

Larry Kissell hit with another attack ad

UPDATED: Democrat Larry Kissell is the target of another attack advertisement from a national Republican group. The National Republican Congressional Committee uses the endangered congressman's voting record to try to score points, hitting him for the "failed stimulus," tax hikes and outsourcing. Kicker: "More jobs for China, fewer jobs for us."

Morning Roundup: Gary Johnson makes his case for president

A quick glance at Gary Johnson during his visit Thursday to Duke University was enough to realize the Libertarian candidate for president is no Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

The former two-term governor of New Mexico strolled into a conference room at the Sanford School of Public Policy wearing blue jeans, a navy blazer and a T-shirt with a peace sign. The nearest thing to Secret Service was campus police. Read the full story here.

More political headlines:

--Fracking opponents keep up efforts to block drilling in North Carolina.

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