Congressman provides update on proposed legislation affecting North Carolinians

5 How does this impact you?

That’s the question I ask myself before considering every bill I introduce, cosponsor, or vote on as your Congressman.

With our new Republican majority in place, we have hit the ground running this year — and we will not slow down. From stopping soft-on-crime policies, defending the Second Amendment with my Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, protecting our strategic oil reserves, standing up to socialism and the Chinese Communist Party’s use of a spy balloon over U.S. territory, and voting to end COVID-19 vaccine mandates — House Republicans have delivered results for you and families across the country.

Following a productive work week, I returned to Washington last week where we built on this work with more than a dozen hearings to hold the Biden administration accountable on issues including the origins of COVID-19 and the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Last week we also advanced my HALT Fentanyl Act, one important stop to keep fentanyl out of our communities and away from our children. The fentanyl crisis has only gotten worse due to the open border policies of the Biden administration, as thousands of pounds of fentanyl continue to pour into our country every month. No parent should have to endure the loss of their child to fentanyl poisoning or overdose, and

I'm proud to support North Carolinians who turn loss into advocacy, such as Matthew's Choice out of Sanford.

My bill now advances to the full Energy and Commerce committee before heading to the House floor. With a record amount of drug overdose deaths and fentanyl poisonings occurring right here in North Carolina, putting an end to the lethal amounts of drugs and fentanyl present in our communities is a priority.

I was also honored to introduce bipartisan legislation to secure a statue of the late Reverend Billy Graham to represent our state. I will continue to work with my colleagues to place this once-in-a-generation faith leader in the U.S. Capitol.

Last week, I also continued my work to improve our nation’s pandemic preparedness and response. During the last pandemic, our nation learned there are many things we can improve in our preparedness for Public Health Emergencies. Congress has to reauthorize the law that governs our response this fall. As the lead Republican on this effort, I released a Request for Information from stakeholders and citizens across the country on how the U.S. can be better prepared when taking on future emergencies. I look forward to reviewing the information submitted and leading bipartisan discussions of how we can improve our nation’s response efforts.

To close out the month of February, I introduced a resolution supporting the designation of February 28 as "Rare Disease Day." I have long worked to improve access to treatments and therapies for Americans who are affected by rare diseases.

Working with my colleagues to advance common sense solutions is part of my commitment to you as your Congressman. I will never stop fighting for you, our community, and our nation.

Publisher's Pen: Voters should decide length of terms

4Full Disclosure: I'm not a fan of City Councilman Mario Benavente. Over the years, his actions and behavior have defined his persona as a self-indulgent opportunist. Benavente is a remarkably intelligent and knowledgable young man, very capable of analyzing complex situations and articulating them along with common sense solutions. Hopefully, he will use these God-given talents for the greater good of the Fayetteville community.

I must give credit where credit is due. Benavente’s recent comment about extending the City Council members terms to four years are right on the mark: “It’s crucial that if we want to make such a drastic change to the way that this city operates that it once again goes to the vote of the people and should not rely simply on City Council to benefit themselves by changing the rules to give themselves more time.”

Journalist Bill Kirby, Jr. and former Councilman Ted Mohn both speak out about the prospect of changing city elected officials' term limits along with the true intentions of District 6 Councilman Derrick Thompson.
I agree wholeheartedly with Ted Mohn’s assessment of Thompson in his comparison to the late honorable District 6 representative Bill Crisp. Thompson definitely is no Bill Crisp. And, the same can be said of former District 6 representative Chris Davis, who also failed to live up to the reputation of Bill Crisp’s dedication, commitment to duty, and concern for all of Fayetteville’s residents. Both are extreme disappointments.

Read on. Kirby and Mohn say it best. Enjoy. And, thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper.

Bill Kirby Jr.: City councilman says change in term length is a decision for residents alone

By Bill Kirby Jr.

If a new Fayetteville City Council member cannot get up to speed on long-term strategic planning for the city, then that City Council member should not be on the council. But that’s freshman Councilman Derrick Thompson’s position in hoping to change council member terms from two years to staggered four-year terms.

“I think it’s crucial that if we want to make such a drastic change to the way that this city operates that it once again goes to the vote of the people and should not rely simply on City Council to benefit themselves by changing the rules to give themselves more time,” says Mario Benavente, also a freshman councilman. And well said, councilman.

Benavente has support from Kathy Keefe Jensen, who says her north Fayetteville residents are fine with two-year terms.

The council, by vote of Mayor Mitch Colvin, Mayor Pro Tem Johnny Dawkins and council members D.J. Haire, Shakeyla Ingram, Courtney Banks-McLaughlin, Brenda McNair, Deno Hondros and Thompson, has called for a public hearing in the council chamber on April 10 to hear how you feel about it.

A chamber of 15 to 20 people speaking at a public hearing does not speak for this city, and neither does a mayor, a mayor pro tem and six council members. City residents estimated at 208,000 do, and the truth is less than three quarters of them even take the time to vote.
• • •
Councilman Derrick Thompson says he is not a “politician” and only trying to save the city money and do what is best for the city when it comes to staggered, four-year council terms. Former council member Ted Mohn begs to differ, and the former mayor pro tem doesn’t mince his words.

Ted Mohn Begs to Differ

“Derrick Thompson is nothing like a Bill Crisp in D6,” Mohn says in an email referencing the late District 6 councilman who served six two-year council terms before stepping down in 2017 because of declining health.

“Derrick Thompson appears simply as an arrogant, self-serving politician. Bill Crisp was often quoted saying that while he was elected in District 6, his beat was the entire city of Fayetteville. Derrick Thompson is a typical politician pandering to his specific council district. Derrick Thompson's narrow-minded views of not wanting this on the ballot is a total disgrace to Bill Crisp's legacy.”

Those who agree with Thompson, you can be assured, would beg to differ with Mohn. William Crisp died at age 81 on July 28, 2021.

Editor’s note: Bill Kirby’s column appeared on March 17. For background on the proposal to extend City Council term limits, read the article written by CityView Today's Ben Sessoms in the March 15 issue of Up & Coming Weekly or online at

Letter to the editor: Resident questions ability of city leadership

6 Almost every day each of us has opportunities to learn something new. This past Monday’s [Feb. 27] Fayetteville City Council meeting was such an experience for me.
I learned why the [Mayor Mitch] Colvin administration is so very much against electing council members by the city rather than a multitude of so-called districts.

If the City Council were elected citywide the current cabal of racist, politically corrupt members would be out of office.

There would be people in those positions who would be expected to consider the welfare and benefit of the city rather than their own political interests.
The case of the PWC Commission position would be decided on the qualifications of the candidates rather than race or political connection.

After the original six candidates for the PWC position were announced, a lifelong Fayettevillian told me at a civic organization meeting that I should tell Joe Hallatschek to not waste his time, that former Councilman Davis would be chosen for the position.

I asked why he thought that. He said it was the way politics are done in this town.

Full disclosure: Joe Hallatschek is my son-in-law. I know his character and his technical qualifications for the job. A probable majority of the City Council knows that too.

But that’s not the way they voted. Joe is a West Point graduate, an Eagle Scout and a solid rock for me as I struggled through the loss of my wife of 64 years.

As Bill Bowman said in his editorial Actions speak louder than words: “That behavior speaks volumes to the leadership they are NOT providing ... the Council lacks integrity, intelligence and common sense ... I see bias, racism and good ole boy politics taking precedence over what is right and good for the citizens of Fayetteville. Fayetteville deserves better.”

The city has a lot going for it that is being wasted. A beautiful baseball stadium, the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, the coming Civil War and Reconstruction History Center, the Dogwood Festival, Methodist University and hundreds of very committed citizens who want the best for our community.

As long as Colvin and company have political control of our city we won’t get what is the best. Just more of the same shenanigans and self-serving acts.

We are in desperate need of more and better investigative reporting. With elections coming in November we need to spread the word about what is happening in city government.

Let’s encourage more people to get involved and question their so-called representatives. We do deserve better.

—Pat King, Fayetteville

Editor’s note: The referenced Publisher's Pen by Bill Bowman ran in the March 1 issue. It can be found at

More buzz about honeybees

19 Last time I wrote about honeybees. I've learned more I want to share, beginning with where the term “Queen Bee” comes from.

She is truly a queen. Her court as I call it has a 24-hour royal service. Bees do not sleep, and the average bee produces one and one/half teaspoons of honey in a lifetime. Honey comes from the nectar of flowering plants and bees gather pollen and perform the vital service of pollinating fruit, vegetables and other types of plants in our food chain.

Honey is as old as written history and sacred writings in Egypt and India. Cave paintings in Spain have depictions dating back to 7,000 B.C. and fossils date back about 150 million years. Honey was considered valuable and often used as a form of currency, tribute or offering. In Germany, the peasants paid their feudal lords with beeswax and honey.

The earliest recorded beekeepers were found in the sun temple near Cairo and were often symbolized as royalty. Honey cakes were often baked by the Egyptians and Greeks as offerings to the gods.
Honey is the first sweetener known to man. Bears love honey but it isn’t just for the sweetness. They raid beehives in search of honey and will consume the bees, and larvae, which adds protein to their diet. The hives satisfy their sweet tooth with a quick meal of vitamins and minerals. Honey also has a presence in Christianity with the use of beeswax for church candles. There are also mentions of honey in the Bible.

John the Baptist was said to have survived off of wild honey and locusts in the dessert. Samson ate honey out of a skull of a lion carcass. Jacob sent his sons with gifts of spice, balm, honey and myrrh with pistachio nuts, and almonds for the Pharoah of Egypt. The armies of Israel found honey but were instructed not to eat it by the order of King Saul, so they would not be distracted.

A very poignant reference is when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush with the promise to deliver his people to a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey. However, this could also be viewed as a figurative as well as literal description of the Promised Land.

Bees were thought to have special powers and were found on many emblems such as those of Pope Urban VIII, a sign of the King of Lower Egypt during the First Dynasty, Napoleons’ flag and robe, the symbol of the Greek goddess Artemis, and the emblem of Eros and Cupid.

There are about 320 varieties of honey that vary in color and taste, odor and flavor because of the plants the bees visit. Honey contains mostly sugar and a mix of amino acids, minerals, vitamins, zinc and antioxidants. It is also a natural sweetener, and anti-inflammatory agent. It is used to treat coughs, burns and wounds for healing. Local honey is beneficial for allergies.

There is a difference between raw and regular honey. Raw honey comes directly from the honeycomb but, today, honey purchased in grocery stores is processed thru pasteurization which involves heating. During pasteurization, additional sugar may be added.

Raw honey comes from the honeycomb. The beekeeper will filter the honey to remove debris of pollen and beeswax. Because it is not pasteurized it may appear cloudy or opaque, but it is still safe to eat.
Honey contains about 80% sugar and can be a good substitute for people with diabetes. Keep in mind that although healthy it contains 64 calories per tablespoon.

Live, love life and honey.

Can a 25-year-old woman be a great political party chair?

5 In February, the North Carolina Democratic Party’s state executive committee elected 25-year-old Anderson Clayton state party chair.

How and why this young woman beat the incumbent who had the support of Gov. Roy Cooper are important and interesting questions for another day.

But the more important question for today is: what does she do now?

What can she do to mobilize the state’s Democratic voters whose candidates’ poor performances in the recent gubernatorial and state legislative races were disheartening?

She might find a useful example in the actions of a Republican, Thom Tillis. Although Tillis is currently a U.S. Senator, in 2010 he was a recently elected member of the North Carolina House of Representatives. His only prior political experience was a term on the Cornelius town board.

Realizing that so long as his party was in the minority he would have little influence, he went to work, driving across the state to identify and recruit candidates to run as Republicans in the upcoming elections, raising money to support those candidates, inspiring and training them. His tireless work, helped by national trends that favored Republicans, brought about victories for enough Republicans to change control of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

In 2011, the House elected Tillis speaker.

What do Tillis’s experiences mean to Ms. Clayton?

She should consider taking a personal role, as Tillis did, in recruiting, training and finding financial support for candidates of her party, being careful not to let conflicts within the party diminish her efforts.

Several important state political figures have given and gained valuable experiences as state party chair.
In 1985, Raleigh attorney Wade Smith served as Democratic Party chair. On his travels throughout North Carolina, he used his well-tuned trial lawyer skills to recruit and mobilize. He told stories, sang songs, and used humor to bring the audiences together before making his “support the party” pitch.

At the end of his meetings, he always said something like “We don’t want to get rid of all Republicans. We want to preserve at least one to put in a museum for history’s sake.”

David Price retired in January as a member of Congress representing North Carolina’s Fourth District. Prior to his election to Congress in 1980 he had served as chair of the state Democratic Party. He learned how to deal with the state’s major political figures and how to show them his strengths. His state party leadership experience helped prepare him for his first congressional campaign.

Former Congressman Bill Cobey, who coincidently lost to Price in the 1986 congressional elections, served as state Republican Party chair between 1999 and 2003. He reminded me that a party chair cannot simply travel, raise money, and motivate voters. The party chair may have a fractious organization to bring together as well as fundraising responsibilities and various complicated projects to manage. For instance, under his leadership, the party purchased a new headquarters building.

Robin Hayes represented the Eighth congressional district between 1999 and 2009. From 2011 to 2013, and from 2016 to 2019, he was chair of the Republican Party. In 2019 he was accused in a bribery scheme and later convicted of lying to the FBI. President Donald Trump pardoned Hayes on January 20, 2020. The matter showed there can be a thin line in the work of public officials between properly serving public constituencies and bribery.

Chairs of both parties have brought a variety of strengths and weaknesses to the job. But the youth that the 25-year-old Clayton brings could make possible a fresh and positive approach that could change the party for the better. Or, her lack of experience-honed judgment could lead to detrimental decisions and actions that could plague the party for a long time.

For the sake of all North Carolinians, we should hope her tenure will inspire all citizens of our state to take a role in politics and participate in positive and constructive ways.

Editor’s note: D.G. Martin, a retired lawyer, served as UNC-System’s vice president for public affairs and hosted PBS-NC’s North Carolina Bookwatch.

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