Thank you, Sen. Pate, for a Lifetime of Service

By. Rep. John Bell
Neuse News
February 3, 2019

The people of Eastern North Carolina will have a new voice in the N.C. Senate this year. My longtime friend, mentor and senator has decided to step away from politics and it could not be more bittersweet.

Louis M. Pate Jr. is a man who dedicated his life to not only Eastern North Carolina, but also his country. Sen. Pate is a Vietnam War combat veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years — earning multiple service medals.

After serving his country, Sen. Pate and his wife Joyce decided to call Mount Olive home. He established himself as a business leader and continued his passion for public service. Sen. Pate’s first call to serve in Mount Olive was as town councilman and later, mayor.

This is when we first met. As many know, Sen. Pate enjoyed Sunday afternoon lunch at the Southern Belle restaurant in Mount Olive — always wearing a seersucker suit, colorful tie and white bucks on a summer day. As a young man growing up in Mount Olive, I remember Louis Pate always taking his time to talk to everyone in the restaurant.

That’s the type of man he is — one who cares about people. Sen. Pate decided to run for the N.C. House in 1995 and served four consecutive terms until running for the N.C. Senate in 2008.

I was fortunate enough to run Senator Pate’s 2010 campaign for the Senate. In this time, Louis taught me about campaigning on merit, service and positivity. He worked tirelessly on each campaign, showing up to every BBQ supper, fire department and church fundraiser, Christmas parade and every other community event in his district.

No matter where you went, it always seemed Sen. Pate was there.

When I decided to run for the N.C. House in 2011, Senator Pate was one of my first supporters. Once elected, he continued to mentor and guide me in being an effective legislator for the people of Eastern North Carolina.

We worked together on a range of issues – protecting Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and standing behind those who serve, supporting our family farmers and fighting for access to rural healthcare.

He always stood up for small towns, pushing for citizens’ tax money to be spent in the places from which it came. These efforts produced important developments in our community — the new Cherry Hospital, the Maxwell Center in Goldsboro, and major advancements in transportation and education. Pate earned admiration and respect by all in Raleigh for his passion, ability to work across the aisle, and his Southern sense of style and class.

Without Senator Pate’s guidance, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today serving the people of Eastern North Carolina.

Public service is not an easy task and Louis Pate stayed true to his values. He always remembered where he came from and enjoyed going home to spend time with his children, grandchildren and wife.

Mrs. Joyce is a familiar face to many in our community as she supported her husband every step of the way. There is no one person to thank more for the work Sen. Pate did for our area than her. Mrs. Joyce Pate, thank you for allowing your husband to serve the great citizens of this state. As they say, behind every great man, there is a great woman. As much as he will be missed in the halls of the General Assembly, I know Mrs. Joyce will be glad to spend time with her husband, hearing his quick jokes and enjoying his favorite treat, as he will always remind us, “I paid for this ice cream.”

No matter your political affiliation, we should all take a moment to thank Sen. Louis M. Pate Jr. — military hero, councilman, mayor, representative, senator, husband, father, grandfather and statesman. I aspire each day to live up to the legacy that Louis Pate leaves behind — one of class, hard work and compassion.

Once again: thank you Sen. Pate for your service, mentorship and friendship. God Bless.

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BELL and ROSS: NC’s pro-growth policies continue to bring more good economic news

Jan. 30, 2019
North State Journal : Link
By Rep. John Bell and Rep. Steve Ross

It often gets overshadowed and lost in the news, but North Carolina is home to one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Each day, it seems there is an announcement of new jobs, higher wages and more investments coming to our great state.

While Apple and Amazon get the bulk of the attention, there are countless job announcements from small, medium and large businesses wanting to expand across North Carolina. In fact, North Carolina was just recognized by Forbes as the “Best State for Business” for the second year in a row.

Furthermore, this past week, the N.C. Department of Commerce released figures showing that the state gained more than 87,000 jobs over the last 12 months — with major job growth in manufacturing, hospitality, education and health services.

From agriculture and manufacturing to banking and technology, we are at the forefront when it comes to attracting some of the most exciting, sought-after and promising businesses.

A huge reason for this is the pro-growth reforms put in place by the Republican-led General Assembly over the past eight years. We have worked hard to improve the job-climate through lower taxes, fewer regulations, improved education and workforce development and sustainable and forward-looking budgeting.

Our agenda and policies have always focused on improving prosperity and growth for all North Carolinians — and the results continue to show.

North Carolina has shown the blueprint for what it takes to turn around a dismal economy plagued by reckless spending and over taxation. The numbers don’t lie. When we took over in 2011, North Carolina had a historic high 10.4 percent unemployment rate, $2.7 billion in debt and the 44th worst tax climate.

Due to the pro-job reforms we put in place, North Carolina now enjoys a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, $3 billion in savings and the 11th best tax climate. Put another way, we went from 1 in 10 being unemployed to now having the most people working in our state’s history.

While many falsely said these reforms would lead to revenue shortfalls and higher debt, the state has also reported six consecutive revenue surpluses and built up a record rainy day fund for future emergencies and natural disasters — which we have used to provide immediate relief to Hurricane Florence victims.

Simply put, a rising tide lifts all boats and our policies are doing just that. This something that all North Carolinians — regardless of party — should be proud of and celebrate. It also makes clear that we cannot afford to go back to the failed, big government policies of more spending, higher taxes and overregulation. We need to keep the momentum going.

Make no mistake, there is more work to be done — particularly in our rural communities. But our state is growing and people are moving here at record pace for a better quality of life. While the media too often likes to focus on the negative, there are so many positive things happening in North Carolina that do not get the attention they deserve.

We are experiencing historic economic and job growth that will reshape our state for generations to come. And it’s directly related to the responsible and pro-job reforms enacted by the Republican-led General Assembly. From lower taxes to balanced budgets, we must continue down this proven path of sound economic policies that has created more opportunities and prosperity for all North Carolinians.

Rep. John Bell is the N.C. House Majority Leader. Rep. Stephen Ross is the Senior Chairman of the Commerce Committee in the N.C. House.

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Legislators are thanked during Carver Heights visit

Goldsboro News-Argus
By Phyllis Moore
Link | Jan. 15, 2019

Makayla Thomas and Ariyana Jackson greeted legislators, dignitaries and visitors to Carver Heights Elementary School Tuesday morning.

The fifth-grade classmates are proud members of the Principal’s Council, which required demonstrating some important qualities.

“You have to have great behavior, be very, very smart and always be nice,” said Thomas, who has been at the school since third grade. “It’s a very good school.”

“I like this school because the teachers give us a very good education, and I get to learn something every day,” Jackson said.

The girls are best friends, they shared, as they hugged outside the media center.

They also credited Patrice Faison, their new principal since October — who is “very nice,” Thomas said, and is making their school an even better place.

Fourth-grader Akari Davis extended his hand to welcome visitors to the school. He was looking forward to escorting the guests on a tour, he said.

After all, he had trained for that moment, ever since applying to be on the council.

“We had to write two paragraphs about what we think is good about Carver Heights and what I would do to improve the school,” he said, before explaining his personal responses to those questions.

“I want to make the school a better place by improving the math and EOG (end-of-grade test) scores and to make sure the students are listening in class.”

These students, and others like them, were the reason for the gathering at the school. 

Since the fall, representation from educators to elected officials to community supporters have pooled their resources to maintain district control of Carver Heights. The school had come under fire for its low-performing status in recent years, and the state had threatened to either close the school or take it over as part of the mandated Innovative School District.

Local legislators played a big role in reversing that decision and keeping leadership in Wayne County Public Schools’ hands, said superintendent Michael Dunsmore. Two of the biggest players in that effort were House Majority Leader John Bell IV, R-Goldsboro, and Sen. Don Davis, D-Snow Hill.

“This is a happy, happy occasion,” Dunsmore said. “For the last several months we have had a staunch fight on our hands to maintain control of this school.

“I personally thought it was well worth it — to maintain control and keep these young people here.”

When he asked for a show of hands of those who had attended Carver Heights Elementary School, Bell, Mayor Chuck Allen and Rep. Raymond Smith Jr., D-Goldsboro, were among those to respond.

Bell was a student there in second and third grades, he said, and this marked the first time he had returned.

He praised the collaborative efforts of many in the room.

‘This is what happens when you get community leaders together and work for the common good,” he said. “The legislators’ work now is done — now it’s the community’s turn.”

Davis said he was not a former student of the school but could very well have been.

Growing up in Greene County, his father had lived in Goldsboro.

“I was actually reared less than a mile from here,” he said. “Not only that but my aunt retired from the (school) system, and she spent a lot of time in these schools.”

What prompted him to become part of the many late-night calls with Dunsmore and other efforts to turn the tide for the district was the children, he said. But first, he acknowledged Bell’s leadership.

“He really started the ball rolling on this by just getting language in the bill and, obviously, it continued to move forward,” Davis said, before leaning in and directing his remarks to the students. “We’re here today because your education, your future today and tomorrow is not about what party you’re in. It’s because we care about you.”

He also referenced Sen. Louis Pate, R-Mount Olive, a legislator for 16 years before announcing his retirement Monday.

“He’s been a part of this for a long time, and it’s been great working with him,” Davis said. “He worked hard for this community and the students of his community.”

For Smith, his presence was more than business. It was “absolutely personal,” he said, having grown up in that part of town.

As a school board member in the midst of the fight to retain control of his alma mater, and now serving at the state level, it was a “labor of love,” he said.

Dunsmore also applauded Sylvia Barnes and the local NAACP, noting the importance of having public support at every turn.

As the program wrapped up, Principal’s Council members Gladys Sherrod and Zitereon Cobb officially welcomed the guests.

“We have a big and important job, and we cannot do it without you,” Cobb said, thanking the crowd for showing up. “Please come again.”

Faison echoed the sentiment, recalling the important role each person represents moving forward. She recalled having the role of turning around schools previously in other areas, saying the biggest part of the job is the residents.

“I need you back,” she said. “I don’t just need you here today. We love people to come and see what we’re doing, and we love to have your help.

“You cannot do this by yourself. If we’re going to be successful — and we’re not going to talk about not being successful — we have to do this, and we need to do this."

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Interview: House Majority Leader on New Legislative Session

By Capital Tonight on Spectrum News
January 10, 2019

NORTH CAROLINA -- Republicans maintain their majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, but they are no longer veto-proof majorities.

We talk House Majority Leader John Bell, (R) Wayne County, about his party’s agenda and if bipartisanship will be key to get anything major done this session. Click here to watch.

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General Assembly Upholds the Will of the Voters and Overrides Gov. Cooper’s Voter ID Veto

Raleigh, NC – The N.C. General Assembly on December, 19, 2018 overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the bipartisan voter ID legislation, which had been mandated by voters in this year’s election when they approved a constitutional amendment requiring a photo ID to vote.

Despite being approved with 55% of the vote and earning bipartisan support in the General Assembly, the Governor defied the wishes of the voters and vetoed the legislation – calling such efforts “sinister,” “cynical” and “designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters.”

“The voters spoke loud and clear when they approved this common sense measure to protect the integrity of the ballot box,” said Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne). “It’s a shame Gov. Cooper chose to defy the will of the voters and put his personal agenda ahead of the citizens he was elected to serve. Fortunately, the General Assembly has acted to restore the will of the voters and make voter ID the law of the land.”

The Governor also incorrectly claimed that the bill failed to address issues with absentee ballot fraud. In fact, the bill included an amendment by a Democratic House member that places new safeguards on the absentee-by-mail process.

North Carolina will now join the already 34 other states who require some form of voter ID.

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Rep. John Bell Re-Elected N.C. House Majority Leader for 2019-2020 Legislative Session

Raleigh, NC – The North Carolina House Republican Caucus re-elected Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne, Greene and Johnston) on December 13, 2018 as its Majority Leader for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session. Rep. Bell, who was first elected in August 2016 to serve as House Majority Leader, is entering his fourth term representing the citizens of House District 10.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to have once again earned the support and trust of my colleagues to continue serving as their Majority Leader in the N.C. House of Representatives,” said Rep. John Bell. “I look forward to helping lead our House Republican Caucus to another successful legislative session that builds on our pro-growth agenda and improves the well-being of all North Carolinians, including those in our rural communities.”

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By Spectrum News - Capital Tonight
Oct. 15, 2018

State lawmakers are back in Raleigh for a special session to approve more relief funding for those hit by Hurricane Florence.

Senior Political Reporter Loretta Boniti talks with Rep. John Bell, the House Majority Leader and a Republican from Wayne County about how the General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper are working to get resources where they are needed most.

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Rep. Bell Praises Passage of Nearly $800 Million Florence Relief Package

Raleigh, NC – N.C. House Majority Leader John Bell issued the following statement on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2018 praising the passage of a $794 million Hurricane Florence relief funding bill:

“The N.C. General Assembly has moved at record pace to make sure relief gets to the victims of Hurricane Florence. With the passage of this historic recovery package, we will now have allocated $850 million in Hurricane Florence relief.

“This bill focuses on the immediate needs of our state, including delivering much-needed assistance to our agriculture community and funding repairs for damaged schools, roads and infrastructure. It was also made possible without raising taxes thanks to the record rainy day fund we have worked so hard to build up over the years.

“This is only the next step in our efforts to help the people of Eastern North Carolina recover. Far too many folks are still hurting from Hurricane Matthew and we are going to keep fighting for answers and relief for them. The victims of these storms will not be forgotten – and we are prepared to act to make sure they get the help they need.”

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My Lenoir Magazine: 10 Questions with Rep. John Bell

My Lenoir Magazine
Oct. 3, 2018

Q: Tell us a little about your family.

I am married and have one child. My wife, Kelli, is from Wayne County. We have been blessed with a beautiful little girl, named Averi, and we are both crazy about her.

Q: Tell us about your district. What have you learned about Lenoir County since you took office?

I currently represent Craven, Greene, Lenoir and Wayne counties. First of all, I don’t think people realize how large, geographically, Lenoir County is (roughly 400 square miles). I’ve become very familiar with highways 70, 258, 58, 55 and 11. Secondly, the people of Lenoir County are amazing! I’ve gotten to know and work with many of these wonderful people. They have embraced me as one of their own, and it’s been an honor to represent them in Raleigh.

Q: How did you get involved with politics?

I’ve always followed politics and found it interesting. While I was younger, I had the chance to meet many of our elected leaders. As I grew in age, I began serving on various community boards, and I learned more about the issues facing our area. In 2007, I experienced trial by fire when I volunteered to manage a NC House campaign for a family friend, Efton Sager. Two years later, I worked to get Sen. Louis Pate elected, and was elected Vice Chairman of the Wayne County Republican Party. I then ran for State House in 2012.

Q: You had a career in the Boy Scouts. Tell us about that and how it has influenced you as a leader.

I am an Eagle Scout, and I was very blessed to start my professional career with the Tuscarora Council, BSA. I covered Duplin and Sampson counties for the council. Working with the boy scouts afforded me the opportunity to learn organizational skills, time management, the ability to work with and listen to people, and the fundamentals of fundraising. Being active in the Boy Scouts of America really helped prepare me for the career I have today.

Q: Walk us through what it’s like in the day in the life of the House Majority Leader?

When we’re in session the days start early and end late! It’s my job to organize, unite and execute the House Republican Caucus agenda. It can be difficult to get all 75 members on the same page. It’s my job to listen and learn about the members’ concerns, find a consensus within the caucus, then work with the Speaker to negotiate with the Senate. When you serve as House Majority Leader no two days are the same and you get pulled in many directions. I’m very blessed to have a knowledgeable staff that serves the district and the caucus.

Q: Politics at the national level can seem confrontational at times, how do you describe the working relationship between our elected officials at the local level and in the capitol building?

I make sure that all lines of communication are open. We all must remember that we represent people with many of the same interests. Representing rural districts, we must be willing to work together. We have so much at stake. People are going to disagree at times, just like families. We must be able to work through disagreement to take care of the people we represent.

Q: What is something you’ve learned about living and working in Eastern North Carolina?

After high school I was like many young people, I wanted to move away. I did just that, but I learned the saying is true, “there’s no place like home!” There’s nothing better than living, working and raising a family in Eastern North Carolina!

Q: If you could snap your fingers and change one thing locally, what would it be and why?

Create more good-paying jobs, and lower property taxes. Those things help grow communities. I have yet to meet anyone that wanted to pay higher taxes.

Q: If we were going to run into you outside the capitol building or your working hours, where might we bump into you in town and what would you be doing?

My family likes eating lunch in downtown Kinston, and getting ice cream at Inside Scoop. My daughter loves playing with the little train set at H Stadiem, and watching the fish at Neuse Sport Shop.

Q: What new exciting thing is coming down the pipeline that you would love to brag about and let people know?

I can tell you that a large group of lawmakers are really fired up and motivated to help find a better way to handle disaster relief at the federal, state and local levels. Regardless of party affiliation, I think we can all agree it is unacceptable for these families to still be waiting for relief two years later. I know the discussions have started, and I really have hope that we will join hands to find a better way, and say “never again.”

Bonus question: What changes would you like to see take place locally to help improve the overall quality of life for the residents of Lenoir County and North Carolina?

I would like to be able to work with other rural lawmakers to help economic development in Lenoir County, and other rural areas. The urban-rural divide is a real issue, and population losses continue to hurt our small towns, as their tax base shrinks. I would like to see Kinston and Lenoir County lower their property taxes – allowing them to be more competitive for new businesses and homes. New construction is the lifeblood of communities. I have heard economists say the private sector needs to provide new buildings, new jobs, and new families for the long-term success of a community.

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Rep. John Bell Appointed as Co-Chair for Subcommittee to Investigate Hurricane Relief Delays

Raleigh, N.C. – N.C. Rep. John Bell (District 10) was appointed by State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) as co-chair of the Subcommittee on Hurricane Matthew Recovery Efforts on Thursday, August 6, 2018 following a vote by the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations. The subcommittee was formed after months of unsuccessful inquiries by legislators and the press to Governor Cooper’s administration about hurricane relief delays.

Hurricane Matthew struck nearly two years ago and caused widespread flooding that devastated communities in eastern North Carolina.

While South Carolina has already placed people in more than 100 new or repaired homes with Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Relief (CDBG-DRs), as of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations hearing on August 29 not a single of those projects in North Carolina had been completed.

Earlier this summer, reporting by WBTV revealed that Governor Cooper and his administration ignored the recommendations of their own review panel and attempted to award a multi-million dollar contract to a preferred vendor.

The subcommittee that was authorized to investigate the struggling relief program will look into the decisions that have delayed aid distribution, including why it took the governor six months to re-submit required environmental reviews after the federal government rejected the first set.

The subcommittee will also seek to determine the exact sequence of events that led to the governor’s decision to ignore the expert recommendations and try to award a major contract to one company.

House Members Appointed to the Subcommittee on Hurricane Matthew Recovery:

Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne) Co-Chair, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Rep. William Brisson (R-Bladen) , Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake), Rep. Elmer Floyd (D-Cumberland), Rep. Brendan Jones (R-Columbus) Advisory Member

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N.C. Hurricane Relief Committee Reauthorized to Investigate Recovery Delays

Raleigh, N.C. – The state House Select Committee on Disaster Relief was reauthorized by Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) on Monday, July 23, 2018, following news the administration missed another deadline to deliver relief to victims of Hurricane Matthew.

Committee co-chair Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus) called for renewed hurricane recovery oversight after the administration failed to deliver federal grants meant to rebuild homes in the state's hardest-hit communities.

Rep. Jones said the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief would convene and "do everything we can" to assist victims still waiting for recovery funds.

“It’s been nearly two years since Hurricane Matthew, yet far too many people are still out of their houses and waiting for help,” said Rep. Jones.

“The governor’s failure to allocate millions of dollars in federal assistance is absolutely unacceptable and demands action. Our committee must continue to do everything we can to hold this administration accountable and get the victims of Hurricane Matthew the help they deserve.”

Hurricane Matthew dropped more than 12 inches of rain on eastern North Carolina in October 2016, leaving much of the region underwater for several days and causing catastrophic damage to homes and businesses.

Nearly two years later, just one of twenty-two affected counties has received final approval to begin spending $236 million of federal  community development block grants for disaster recovery (CDBG-DRs), according to the state's Emergency Management Division.

Another three counties are expected to complete required paperwork in August, according to the division, and work is 'just now underway in the remaining 18 counties.'

“As serious questions remain unanswered regarding the slow pace of the Cooper Administration’s recovery effort, it’s critical that we continue our committee’s oversight to ensure folks get the help they need,” said House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne), a co-chair of the committee.

“I appreciate the Speaker’s support in this effort and commend Rep. Jones for his leadership in making sure the victims of Hurricane Matthew are not forgotten.”

South Carolina received the Hurricane Matthew recovery funds at the same time as North Carolina, but it has placed 145 families into homes and issued 459 award letters, according to WBTV. 

In North Carolina, by contrast, "one family has been granted an exception to receive a reimbursement."

“Major hurricanes like Matthew pose an annual threat to North Carolina’s coast, so the state General Assembly saved a record emergency fund of $2 billion, created a Reserve for Disaster Relief, and appropriated $360 million to aid disaster victims since 2016," Moore said.   

"I share the deep concern expressed by my colleagues for their constituents who have not yet received critical aid in eastern North Carolina despite its ready availability," Moore continued,  "and reauthorize the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief to see that assistance is delivered to families affected by Hurricane Matthew.”

The state General Assembly appropriated $200 million to aid victims in the Disaster Relief Act of 2016, another $100 million in the Disaster Relief Act of 2017, and the 2018 state budget directed $60 million to a new Reserve for Disaster Relief.

The state's new Reserve for Disaster Relief directs the administration to spend funds on specific needs like enabling low to moderate income homeowners to purchase residences and provide flood insurance subsidies for affected citizens. 

Another major storm, Hurricane Chris, formed off the North Carolina coast this month but never made landfall.

Speaker Moore also announced he would add members to the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief, appointing Rep. Larry Strickland (R-Johnston), Rep. Bob Muller (R-Pender), Rep. Howard Hunter (D-Hertford), and Rep. William Brisson (R-Bladen).


July 19, 2018

FEMA awards $16.8M to NC for flood damage from Hurricane Matthew 

July 10, 2018

NC lawmaker calls for renewed hurricane recovery oversight after WBTV reporting 

July 9, 2018

State misses another deadline for Hurricane Matthew recovery

July 7, 2018

Cooper promises full Hurricane Matthew recovery to Lumbees

June 7, 2018

Cooper: Process to fix homes damaged by hurricane ‘taking too long’

May 31, 2018

Where is the money? Hurricane Matthew victims still waiting for relief.

May 25, 2018

Congress members want Cooper to explain slow distribution of Matthew recovery money

May 25, 2018

Disaster Relief Reserve to receive $60 million in state budget

April 16, 2018

Lawmakers have a lot of questions, get few answers about hurricane recovery

April 12, 2018

NC has spent $0 of $200 million grant to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew, report says 

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John Bell: New refueling tankers will ring huge benefits to Eastern North Carolina

Goldsboro News-Argus
By Rep. John Bell
July 20, 2018

With a history in aviation that dates back to the Wright Brothers, it is an undisputed fact that North Carolina has been a pioneer in the field of aeronautical prototypes and industry firsts.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that a state, which is the grandfather of aeronautics, and known for being industry leaders in everything from tar to furniture, would again be chosen to host the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 refueling tanker.

As announced last year, the KC-46 will replace the existing refueling tankers assigned to the 916th Air Refueling Wing as the next generation refueling tanker at Goldsboro’s Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. As a native of Goldsboro and the representative of House District 10 in the N.C. General Assembly, this was an exciting moment for me, our community and the entire state. The KC-46 tanker program will strengthen our military footprint, create new jobs and bring more opportunities to our region.

The current fleet of KC-135 were introduced during the Eisenhower administration and their replacement has been a top priority and need for our military. Tankers are vitally important in protecting our aerial assets in the defense department and are the cornerstone of America’s aerial fleet. They have a storied history of success in our Air Force, such as providing the largest air refueling missions during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.

The production of the KC-46 will revolutionize and modernize the U.S. Air Force. By eliminating the vulnerability of an aging tanker fleet, it will also further improve military readiness, enhance our capabilities and help ensure America’s air superiority over our enemies.

For decades, Boeing has helped deliver superiority in the skies above. The KC-46 is essential as we continue to face growing international threats. As such, Boeing has equipped this aircraft with a wider ranging and advanced technological systems than its predecessor.

As the citizens of North Carolina are aware, our state has one of the largest military footprints in the country, representing three out of four military branches and home to six major DOD installations. Military and defense industries are collectively the second largest employers in the state – contributing $66 billion dollars annually to our economy.

Most importantly, our local communities have great relationships with our service members and the installations they serve on. Due to the synergy and partnerships developed between local and state governments, defense contractors and local businesses, our military families and local communities have benefited greatly as we have attracted more jobs, new economic opportunities and improved the overall quality of life.

The 2019 KC-46 tanker program is guaranteed to bring $11 million dollars and 200 jobs to the state through its suppliers and contractors. The tankers will call Seymour Johnson AFB home and provide direct benefit to the 916th Air Refueling Wing and America’s national security.

I am proud to have helped lead the fight to bring this next generation aircraft to North Carolina and urge all citizens in our great state to support the KC-46 refueling program.

John Richard Bell IV is a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly. He represents the 10th district.

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John Bell: Standing with our farming communities

Kinston Free Press | By John Bell
July 3, 2018 | Link

Last week, over 2,000 people traveled to Raleigh to participate in a rally in support of our farmers and agriculture. While it did not get the media coverage that a hand full of liberal activists generate when they routinely stage arrests and disrupt official business, these folks did it the right way.

They were respectful, but forceful. They came with a simple, but strong message. And Gov. Roy Cooper and other elected officials better pay attention. A sleeping giant has been awakened – and our farmers and agriculture communities will not be ignored.

It was truly inspiring to see so many hardworking farmers – who took the day off of work – to come make their voices heard and fight for their livelihoods.

I have the honor of serving four Eastern North Carolina counties in the N.C. General Assembly – Craven, Greene Lenoir, and Wayne counties. Eastern North Carolina is my home and agriculture is our way of life.

We hear a lot about what farmers do and the crops they grow, but we rarely hear what else they do. They’re deacons at church and Sunday school teachers. They’re the first one called to support the local booster clubs, BBQ suppers and community organizations. They voluntary their time as youth group leaders and little league baseball coaches – simply because they love their communities.

I will never forget how our farmers were also there to help in our time of need when Hurricane Matthew ravaged Eastern North Carolina. In addition to taking care of their farms, they serve as voluntary EMTs, firemen and reserve deputies in the sheriff’s department.

Our farmers truly are the backbone of our state, particularly in Eastern North Carolina. If it wasn’t for agribusiness, so many small town would not exist today. Agriculture, agribusiness and farmers keep these communities afloat every single day of the week.

However, for far too long, our farmers have been ignored. But something special is happening. They are making their voices heard and their presence felt, which is needed now more than ever.

Despite being there for generations and following every single law and regulation, N.C. farmers are being targeted by out-of-state trial lawyers and extreme environmentalists who want to put them out of business.

In response, the N.C. General Assembly passed the N.C. Farm Act of 2018 that puts in place common sense protections and provides certainty for our farmers and their operations – ensuring they can continue feeding the public and driving our economy.

Sadly, shortly after last week’s rally, Gov. Cooper ignored the concerns of our agriculture communities and vetoed this vitally important bill. Nevertheless, the General Assembly stood strong with our farmers and voted to override Gov. Cooper’s veto – making it the law of the land.

Going forward, we must learn from this and stay engaged. People need to know that food does not come from the grocery store – it comes from hard work on our family farms. Farmers drive North Carolina’s economy – and it’s time they get the respect they deserve.

I promise to always stand with our farmers, agriculture producers and rural communities. We must join together and work hard to protect, promote and preserve our agriculture heritage.

John Richard Bell IV is a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly. He represents the 10th district. Representative Bell was honored with the “2014 Rising Star” award by the North Carolina House Legislative Partners.

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N.C. House Passes Bill to Let Citizens Decide Voter ID Requirement

Raleigh, N.C. – The N.C. House on Tuesday approved a proposed state constitutional amendment that gives voters the opportunity to determine whether a photo ID should be required to vote. If approved in the November 2018 election, the constitutional amendment would place North Carolina in the mainstream with thirty-four states that already require some form of voter ID. The legislation now goes to the N.C. Senate.

“Voter ID is a common sense tool that upholds the integrity of the ballot box, prevents voter fraud and ensures confidence in the election system,” said Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne). “Furthermore, it is overwhelmingly supported by the public and is in line with the majority of states who already require an ID to vote. That’s why I have consistently supported a voter ID requirement in the past and was pleased to vote for this effort to give our citizens the chance to decide such an important issue in the upcoming election.”

Key Facts

  • Thirty-four states require some form of voter identification to cast ballots in their election systems. 
  • North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast not to have any form of voter ID at the polls. 
  • North Carolina is one of only 18 states that do not require any form of voter identification at the polls. 
  • 69% of North Carolinians support voter ID in February 2018 Civitas Poll
  • 70% of likely U.S. voters support voter ID in August 2017 Rasmussen Poll
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Majority Leader Bell Supports Passage of NC Farm Act

Raleigh, N.C. – N.C. House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) issued the following statement on June 14, 2018 after supporting House passage of the N.C. Farm Act of 2018:

“I was proud to cast my vote in support of the Farm Act and stand with family farms and agriculture producers across this great state. This bill addresses the concerns of farmers and consumers alike. It was great to see farmers from Eastern North Carolina fill the gallery, speak in committee and reach out to my office to stand up for their livelihood and the right to farm in our state. I will continue to show my support for North Carolina farmers who feed not only this country but the growing population across the world.”

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Wayne agencies benefit from state budget

Goldsboro News-Argus | By Steve Herring
June 12, 2018 | Link

Several Wayne County municipalities, nonprofits and agencies have received grants in the state's new budget.

"To me it is a good budget period, and a really good budget for eastern North Carolina," said state District 10 Rep. John Bell of Goldsboro. "That is what they sent me up there to do."

Local funding includes downtown infrastructure grants of $50,000 for Pikeville; $25,000 for Seven Springs; $25,000 for Eureka; and $125,000 for Fremont.

Also in the budget is:

* $30,000 for Wayne Action Team for Community Health.

* $30,000 for Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County.

* $50,000 for ReNu Life in Goldsboro.

* $7,500 for Make a Difference Food Pantry.

* $35,000 for Wayne Initiative For School Health.

*$7,500 for the Men of Faith, Integrity and Character.

* $7,500 for All the King's Children.

ReNu Life does great work with very limited funds, Bell said. Also, there are issues with the building, he said.

"They house a lot of traumatic brain injury patients," Bell said. "They were having some challenges on what to do with their building so I was able to secure them a half million dollars last year to support their operations in funding a building or rehabbing the building they currently have.

"This ($50,000) was an additional appropriation to help with that. They fill a niche that was really void. I am just glad I was able to help a little bit."

Also of local importance is that the budget fixes the low-wealth school funding formula, Bell said.

Wayne County Public Schools had been facing the loss of $2 million in low-wealth funding because the county's tax rate does not meet the threshold required to receive the funds.

The fix not only fully restores Wayne County's low-wealth school funding, but increases it by nearly $700,000 in reoccurring dollars over the current level.

A state law exempts counties with military bases and a student population of at least 23,000 from the low-wealth formula. Currently, that applies only to Cumberland County, the home of Fort Bragg, and Onslow County, home of Camp Lejeune.

The new budget lowers that number to 17,000 and mandates that Wayne County be held harmless to the sum of $7,642,721 -- the same amount the county received in fiscal year 2012-13.

The $23.9 billion state budget includes a $700 million increase in public education funding, large pay raises for state employees and educators, an additional $60 million in Hurricane Matthew relief and $35 million for new school safety initiatives, Bell said.

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Majority Leader Bell Applauds Passage of 2018 Budget

Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina House on June 1, 2018 approved a $23.9 billion state budget that includes a $700 million increase in public education funding, large pay raises for state employees and educators, an additional $60 million in Hurricane Matthew relief and $35 million for new school safety initiatives. The budget, which now goes to Governor Cooper, also includes key provisions that specifically benefit the people of House District 10.

“This is a great budget for the people of Eastern North Carolina and hardworking families across the state,” said Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne). “Our budget further invests in public education, funds new school safety initiatives, raises teacher and state employee salaries and directs more funding for Hurricane Matthew victims – while also providing tax relief for families and job creators and saving money for future disasters and economic downturns. 

“It also includes key investments in House District 10 that I fought for that encourage economic development and improve the quality of life for my constituents and communities across Eastern North Carolina. I am proud to support this responsible, pro-growth budget that will meet the needs of our great state and ensure North Carolina remains on a sustainable path that has led to a surging economy and record budget savings.”

Key provisions in North Carolina’s new spending plan include: 

Investing in House District 10

  • $2 million for Lift Fan Facility Project at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station
  • $30,000 for Wayne Action Team for Community Health
  • $30,000 for Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County
  • $50,000 for ReNu Life in Goldsboro
  • $17 million for Global Transpark in Kinston
  • $10,000 Friends of the Homeless Shelter Kinston
  • $12,500 SAFE of Lenoir County
  • $7,500 for Make a Difference Food Pantry
  • $35,000 for Wayne Initiative For School Health
  • $40,000 for Lenior County United Way
  • $25,000 for Town of Eureka
  • $125,000 for Town of Fremont
  • $25,000 for Town of Hookerton
  • $50,000 for Town of Pikeville
  • $25,000 for Town of Seven Springs
  • $25,000 for Town of Snow Hill
  • $25,000 for Town of Walstonburg

Helping Hurricane Matthew Victims Recover

  • $60 million new funds for disaster relief
  • State disaster relief funds total over $360 million since Hurricane Matthew
  • $10 million for infrastructure grants for Golden LEAF Foundation

Investing in Teachers and Schools

  • A fifth-consecutive teacher pay raise averaging 6.5%
  • A $700 million increase in public education funding
  • $3,150 average principal pay raise

Making Schools Safer

  • $35 million for school safety initiatives
  • $241 million lottery funds to build or upgrade school facilities

Improving Compensation for State Employees

  • A new baseline salary of $31,200 for all state employees
  • A 2% raise for most state employees and a cost-of-living supplement for retirees

Connecting Rural North Carolina

  • $10 million investment in broadband access for rural communities

Ensuring Taxpayers Keep More of Their Hard-Earned Money

  • 99% of North Carolina families will pay lower state income taxes, or no taxes, in 2019
  • 25% new state income tax rate, down from a top rate of 7.75% since 2011. 

Rewarding Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers

  • A 4% pay raise for all corrections officers
  • $44,000 starting pay for State Troopers
  • In 6 years of service a State Trooper will reach top of pay scale: $64,202
  • $15 million for security and safety improvements in state prisons 

Saving for the Future

  • $161 million added to state’s rainy day fund for emergencies, which is now at a historic high of $2 billion
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Majority Leader John Bell Appointed to Serve on House Select Committee on School Safety

Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) has been appointed by Speaker Tim Moore to serve on the newly created bipartisan House Select Committee on School Safety tasked with examining safety standards and procedures throughout North Carolina’s elementary, middle and high schools in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Florida. The committee will consult with local governments, school systems and policy experts in a range of fields to address violence prevention, emergency management and security in North Carolina classrooms.

“As a father, I am committed to ensuring the safety of our students and preventing such senseless tragedies from happening in North Carolina,” said Rep. Bell. “This committee will provide us important insight from local school leaders, mental health experts and law enforcement agencies on the steps we can take to better secure our classrooms. In the aftermath of the Florida school shooting, it is critical that we hear all the ideas, concerns and expertise available to us on this vital issue. As elected officials, it is our duty to uphold the safety of our citizens and I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to identify solutions that will keep our students and teachers safe.”

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Rep. John Bell Files for Reelection

Goldsboro, NC - Majority Leader John Bell released the following statement after filing for re-election on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018:
"In 2012, the voters gave me their trust to represent them in Raleigh.  You sent me to Raleigh to clean up our state government and to put North Carolina back on a path to prosperity. We were facing a $3 billion dollar budget deficit, the third highest unemployment rate in the country and job creation was stagnant because of onerous government regulation and over taxation.
As your Representative, my colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to change course and put North Carolina on the right track. Today, North Carolina has one of the fastest growing economies in the country, our unemployment rate is at an all-time low, businesses are finding a friendlier regulatory environment, and people now have more money in their pocket because of our tax reforms.
We are also focused on building a robust North Carolina for future generations. Our state is building roads again; teachers are getting regular pay raises for their dedication to educating our children, state employees see more money in their paychecks, and most important we have gotten our budgets under control and put money aside in a rainy day fund in case of economic downturns or natural disasters.
I have stood firm in support of our men and women in uniform and sponsored legislation that protects Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. I fought to make sure the doors to the new Cherry Hospital were open to serve our most at-risk citizens. After Hurricane Matthew destroyed Eastern North Carolina, I worked with our local officials to make sure we had the funding necessary to recover – an effort I am still fighting for today! 
While I am proud of these accomplishments, there’s still more work to do. After much prayer, and with my family by my side, we have decided to file for re-election to the North Carolina House of Representatives. I am truly blessed by all the support, and I look forward to continuing serving as your Representative. God Bless!"

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Rep. John Bell awarded public safety award

Rep. John Bell awarded public safety award
Goldsboro News-Argus
By Steve Herring

For the second consecutive year, Rep. John Bell of Goldsboro has been recognized with a Defender of Public Safety Award.

The award, presented by the N.C. Sheriff's Association, recognizes recipients for work in the legislature to protect public safety in the state.

"Rep. Bell took a leadership role in advancing the legislative priorities of the N.C. Sheriff's Association which represents all 100 sheriffs in the state," said Sheriff Carson H. Smith Jr., association president. "As a result, our sheriffs are better prepared to protect the lives, liberties and property of N.C. citizens."

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John Bell: Great Representation For Wayne County

John Bell: Great Representation For Wayne County
Goldsboro Daily News
By Joel Gillie

On Tuesday, November 8th, eyes were glued to the news as votes were tallied for government positions across the country. While the presidential election had everyone’s attention, on the state level local representative John Bell was celebrating a victory. Voters in Wayne, Craven, Lenoir, and Greene counties had put their faith in Bell for a 3rd term representing their counties in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

The story begins in Mount Olive, NC. Bell was born and raised in Eastern North Carolina and his parents Ricky and Cindy were both great role models for Bell growing up. Bell graduated from North Duplin High School and continued his education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. After college, Bell began his professional career with the Boy Scouts of America in Goldsboro with the Tuscarora Council covering Duplin and Sampson counties. Bell spent a brief time with the Gulf Coast Council in Pensacola, Florida but couldn’t stay away from North Carolina. Bell returned to NC to start his career in banking, managing a bank in Goldsboro. He moved to the NC Community Credit Union in February 2007 and is about to celebrate his 10 year anniversary with the credit union.

If you ask Bell who helped shape his life, he will tell you he had a lot of help along the way. Two staples in his life were his grandparents, Norwood and Elinor Ezzell. It doesn’t take long to realize he has experience with the issues he pushes in the general assembly. Bell’s grandfather was a veteran who started his own business and his grandmother made sure her kids and grandkids received a good education. His father Ricky worked for the NC DOT and his mother Cindy worked for the Red Cross and the medical manufacturing field.

Education, infrastructure, and business are some of the big issues facing our state right now.

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Deregulation, hurricane relief, bipartisanship are priorities for new NC House majority leader

Deregulation, hurricane relief, bipartisanship are priorities for new NC House majority leader
NC Insider
By Lauren Horsch

In August, when state Rep. John Bell was elected majority leader by the House Republican Caucus, he said he was looking forward to traveling the state and helping maintain Republicans’ 74-seat majority. Now, with a supermajority secured for the GOP and the long legislative session underway, Bell and the rest of his caucus can get down to work.

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