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Orange County lawmaker opts for an early oath

The newly elected state lawmakers get officially sworn into office Jan. 9 when the legislature convenes for a one-day organizational session.

But not all are waiting that long. Rep.-elect Valerie Foushee, a Democrat, will hold her own swearing in ceremony the day before at the Orange County Courthouse in HIllsborough. (Gov.-elect Pat McCrory also isn't waiting for the traditional inauguration, opting for a private ceremony at the Capitol a week earlier.)

Foushee's ceremony is perfectly acceptable, said Jordan Shaw, a spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis, as long as certain requirements are met. For example, only certain officials, such as judges, can administer the oath of office, he said.

Dems warn of "extreme" Republicans

CHAPEL HILL -- Democrats warned about the “extreme” views of their Republican opponents at a fund raising breakfast Saturday morning in Chapel Hill.

Top-level Democrats including Senate candidate Elaine Marshall, House Speaker Joe Hackney and 4th District Congressman David Price spoke to about 320 people at a fund raiser at The Carolina Club on the campus of the University of North Carolina.

Hackney told the Orange County Democratic Party event that across the country the Democrats are confronting “the most extreme set of candidates we've seen in generations.''

Hackney cited Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell as an example of the direction that the Republican Party was going.

In North Carolina, the election of a Republican legislature would mean a sharp cuts in secondary and elementary schools, in community colleges, and in the University of North Carolina system., Hackney said.

He said GOP control could mean the end of successful early childhood programs such as Smart Start, and deep cuts in programs that help the disadvantaged such as Medicaid.

Hackney said that contrary to Republican claims about out-of-control spending, the Democratic-controlled legislature had held spending in check at a $19 billion per year over the last several years. And he noted that Forbes Magazine had just rated North Carolina as having the third best business climate in the country.

“What will win this for us,” Hackney said, “ is our superior ideas and the extremism on the other side.”

Price, who usually ignores his opponents, went after Republican B.J. Lawson of Cary, saying: “I have never had a more extreme opponent.”

Price said Lawson favors withdrawing from the United Nations, sending the military to the  Mexican border, ending all U.S. foreign aid overseas including helping HIV patients, and ending federal regulation of Wall Street or of off shore oil drilling.

“This is where the Republican Party is going nationally,” Price said. “This is for real, this Tea Party business.”

Price said it was not out of the question that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be the GOP presidential nominee in 2012.

Price said the substantial public investment that has been critical to the success of the growth of the Research Triangle – dependent on federal research money – and that could be in jeopardy if current Republican ideas take hold.

Marshall said this week's two Senate debates made clear that there were sharp differences between herself and Republican Sen. Richard Burr.

She said she would go to Washington to represent the middle class, while Burr represented the special interests.

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