Opinion

The Case For Re-Electing Thom Tillis to the Senate

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Posted: Oct 15, 2020 8:44 AM
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The Case For Re-Electing Thom Tillis to the Senate

Source: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Pool via AP

I’m not one to get involved in political races in states other than my own, but occasionally a race comes up that is worth weighing in on.  In this case, it’s the re-election for North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis that’s on my mind, and I urge North Carolinians to bring him back to the Senate.

I always prefer representatives who come from humble beginnings, because those are the values that they generally carry with them throughout their lives, and those are the values they will be true to in Congress.  We don’t need a representative to be a policy wonk, we need a representative to be a regular person.  They should reflect who we are, as Americans, and in this case, as North Carolinians.

Sen. Tillis fits that bill.

I also like to see representatives actually get something done, instead of just sitting in Congress and doing their party’s bidding.  In just five years in the Senate, Tillis was the primary sponsor on six enacted bills and has introduced 22 in this year alone.

Sen. Tillis is firmly on the side of law enforcement. He introduced the Protect and Serve Act of 2020, which punishes criminal offenses targeting law enforcement officers.  The Protect Act of 2020 protects people with pre-existing conditions in case the ACA is struck down.  The wonderfully-titled No Cash for Crooks Act revokes retirement benefits for members of Congress convicted of a felony.   S. 4249 protects our genetic data from dissemination of any COVID-19 testing.

This is all common-sense stuff that any American can support.

Sen. Tillis has also taken a smart and moderate approach to solar energy.  The industry does provide nearly 8,000 jobs in North Carolina and solar helps power more than half a million homes. The thing about climate change is that it has needlessly sparked polarization.  Rather than camp out on one side or the other, Thom Tillis recognized that there is nothing wrong with making reasonable efforts to address sound environmental stewardship.  His approach isn’t to dictate how people should live, but push for innovation and market-based strategies.

He supported the Restore Our Parks Act, which established a fund of up to $1.3 billion that was required to be used to meet the National Park Service’s priority deferred maintenance needs.

North Carolina has a particularly important agricultural industry.  It’s the largest industry in the state, employing almost 700,000 workers, with an $87 billion annual impact on the economy.  Yet the critical element of agriculture that many Americans take for granted is that the industry is responsible for much of our food supply.

America has been fortunate that its supply and food chains were minimally impacted by COVID-19, and this is where the actions of representatives like Tillis make a difference both locally and nationally.  What most people probably didn’t realize is that a lot of migrant workers come to the US for seasonal work and then return home.  

COVID-19 initially suspended the visa program that allows those workers to enter the country.  That could have led to the very food and supply chain issues that everyone was concerned about.  Senator Tillis pushed the State Department, DHS and DOL to remove the restrictions.  In the midst of a national panic, a cool-headed senator showed that he could keep his eye on the ball and got those restrictions lifted, helping save our food supply chain.

That’s the kind of thing that most people never hear about but is exactly the kind of advocacy North Carolina and America needs.  Another item in that same category is that it is our representatives who can help resolve issues Americans face when dealing with the ridiculous bureaucracies of federal agencies.  It’s a nightmare and sometimes we need an advocate.  

Tillis’ office has received 33,000 requests for assistance since he took office in 2015, and resolved 29,000 of them.  The mere idea that Tillis’ office would even get an average of 20 such requests a day shows how problematic our system is, but what really impresses is that his office resolved 85 percent of them.

There are plenty of reasons to re-elect Thom Tillis to the Senate, and I suggest North Carolinians do exactly that.