Category: "Campaign Updates"

Jordan Ranked 33rd Most Effective in NC House; High Country State Representative Ranks Highly for Second Time in Nonpartisan Survey

N.C. House Representative Jonathan C. Jordan (R-93), representing Ashe and Watauga Counties in the High Country, was rated the 33rd most effective state representative in the 120-member N.C. House for 2013 by the nonpartisan N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. He was ranked 49th during his first term in office in 2011.

In addition, Jordan was ranked the 10th most effective House member of those currently serving their second term or less. He also achieved a 99.4% participation in roll call votes taken during the session.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be ranked so strongly in my effectiveness for the High Country by my peers and third-party observers of the political goldfish bowl in Raleigh,” Jordan stated. “I think the rating emphasizes that a legislator doesn’t have to be the one with the loudest voice or most media appearances to be an effective advocate for our constituents. That is a positive message for our citizens in this era of uncivil discourse that has taken over the public policy process.”

Center officials conducted the legislative effectiveness survey from October through December, 2013. The survey asked 50 state senators, 120 representatives, 438 registered lobbyists, and 36 state news correspondents to rate the effectiveness of each member of the General Assembly on a scale of one to 10.

The survey’s purpose was to identify the most effective legislators in the N.C. General Assembly. Center officials asked respondents to base their ratings on legislators’ participation in committee work, their skill at guiding bills through committee and floor debate, their general knowledge and expertise in special fields, the respect they command from peers, their ethics, the enthusiasm with which they execute various legislative responsibilities, the political power they hold (virtue of office, longevity, or personal skills), their ability to sway the opinions of fellow legislators, and their aptitude for the overall legislative process.

The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1977 by a diverse group of private citizens dedicated to the goals of a better informed public and a more effective, accountable, and responsive state government. In all its efforts, the Center values reliable and objective research as a basis for analyzing public policy, independence from partisan bias and political ideology, the richness of the state’s diverse population, and a belief in the importance of citizen involvement in public life.

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Truth About Education in North Carolina

Coming home from Raleigh after the legislature adjourned, I received many emails and phonecalls from members of our community, concerned about education in our great state.  I want to take this opportunity to lay out the facts about education funding in North Carolina, and dispel some of the inaccuracies spread by otherwise well-meaning citizens who want the best opportunities for our students, as do I.

FACT:  This budget spends more money on education than has EVER been spent on education in North Carolina ($11.5 billion out of a total $20.6 billion budget – more than half).  In addition, the NC legislature budgeted more than $18 million to invest in statewide school security and safety measures, including crisis planning, panic alarms, instant communication with police and other measures.  The budget agreement also increases K-12 education spending by 2.1% when compared to 2011-2013 actual spending ($15.29 billion in 2011-13 and $15.91 billion appropriated for 2013-2015).

At the college level, the budget allows increases in out-of-state tuition at public universities to keep tuition affordable for North Carolina families.  The budget does phase-out new pay supplements for teachers who earn a Masters’ degree, unless the advanced degree is required for their position.  If a teacher is already collecting supplemental pay, or their Masters degree will be completed by April 1, 2014, they will be grandfathered in and will still collect that supplement.

The plan also moves teachers to multi-year renewable contracts.  Their contract length will depend on experience and performance reviews. The plan is intended to reward high-performing teachers with longer contracts and give principals the flexibility they need.

This session, the legislature also made targeted investments to modernize North Carolina’s education system for the new economy.  For example, money was targeted for increasing digital textbooks and digital training for teachers and administrators as part of their licensure.  Another measure directs the State Board of Education to work with community colleges to create high school programs in engineering, technology and other high-employment fields.  The programs will prepare high school students for work, higher education or both.  The Back to Basics law passed this year provides a return to NC classrooms of proven curriculum, such as cursive writing and multiplication tables memorization, as well as at least one art class during middle school.

A pilot program called Opportunity Scholarships also passed this session.  The scholarships allow low-income students with disabilities to attend private school if their needs are not able to be met in traditional public schools.  This pilot program would allow low-income families to receive the same opportunity that wealthier families enjoy.  It is part of North Carolina’s ongoing effort to create new, innovative programs so that kids with high potential and low opportunities do not fall through the cracks.

In the Tax Reform plan signed into law by Governor McCrory, all North Carolina citizens, including teachers, pay less in taxes.  Standard deductions increased to $15,000 for taxpayers who are married filing jointly, $12,000 for heads of household and $7,500 for single filers.  The child credit also went from $100 to $125 per dependent for families making less than $40,000.  For the most vulnerable North Carolinians, the tax rate is still 0%.  When teachers, parents and all taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money, it is good for our state economy.  In fact, the tax reform plan moved North Carolina from 44th to the 17th most business-friendly state.  That ultimately means more jobs for North Carolinians, and more money for schools, roads, and all of our priorities.

Change is always unsettling, but as a state we must meet the challenges of a changing economy and provide our children the opportunities they need to lead this state into the future.  A results-driven plan with a focus on modern skills and a smooth transition to higher education will allow us to leave our students with a better North Carolina than we inherited.

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Jordan Reapplies for NC House District 93 – Ashe/Watauga Counties

JBest of Ashe TimesEFFERSON, NC: On Friday, February 21, Republican Jonathan C. Jordan will file his application for a third term as the NC House Representative for District 93, which includes all of Ashe and Watauga Counties. A local attorney, Jordan has been a strong advocate for the citizens of the district during his time in Raleigh. During this past session he served as Co-Chair of a Judiciary Committee.

“I am reapplying for the job based on my record, and I am pleased to compare my record to any challenger,” Jordan stated. “For example, I am proud that the legislature this session voted to appropriate more funds for education than has ever been done before in North Carolina. In fact, contrary to misleading information you may hear, North Carolina ranks 8th in the nation for state support for education. Our state funding stands at 58.2% of total education funding, with the national average being only 44.1%.”

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners estimates that if education were not supported so strongly at the state level, but dropped to the national average, citizens across the state would experience average property tax increases of 40%.

“I have fought to limit cuts to the small school funding program, which provides critical budget support to our stateʼs small school systems, including Ashe; to give our local school systems more flexibility with calendar start dates; and to retain the Teaching Fellows program and Masterʼs degree pay for teachers currently pursuing the credential,” Jordan stated. “Though we didnʼt prevail on every point, I will continue to use what I have learned in my time in Raleigh to advance our areaʼs unique needs and interests.”

During the past Long Session, seven bills on which Rep. Jordan was lead sponsor passed into law. These included the following:

• H269 to expand the program that provides educational scholarships to children with disabilities, allowing their families to meet those special needs;

H533, applicable to Ashe, Cumberland, and Wilkes Counties, allowing private police at hospitals to lawfully detain involuntary commitments transported by local law enforcement, thus freeing local law enforcement officers to patrol and protect the community; and

• H774 to exempt certain primitive camp facilities from unnecessary and burdensome building code regulations due to the unique educational functions they serve (for example, Turtle Island Preserve in Watauga County would qualify).

Along with Rep. Jeffrey Elmore of Wilkes County, Rep. Jordan also sponsored a House Resolution honoring local bluegrass legend Doc Watson, who passed away May 29, 2012.

“I have tried to focus on issues that were important to our local area as well as to the state as a whole, and to champion many whose voices arenʼt often heard: Children with disabilities, small businesses, agriculture, camps focusing on traditional methods of living, adoptees, crime victims, and abused and neglected children,” said Rep. Jordan.

maddlogohp2013Rep. Jordan was recognized as a “2013 Legislative Champion” by the anti-drunk driving group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). “While we cannot prevent every death and injury on our roads and highways, those caused by driving while impaired can be prevented. Our citizens can be safer. Requiring interlocks for all offenders will do something that our current efforts cannot – keep impaired drivers from operating vehicles,” said Rep. Jordan.

Rep. Jordan was also recognized, for the third year in a row, as a “Defender of Liberty” by the American Conservative Union (ACU) for his support of limited government, promoting prosperity and individual freedom, defending traditional values, and adherence to the Constitution. Rep. Jordan has maintained this conservative standing since the ACU first began rating state legislators in 2011.

Overall, 13 bills on which Rep. Jordan was a primary sponsor passed both chambers of the legislature and were signed into law by the Governor. There were many more he successfully supported as a co-sponsor. During the upcoming May Short Session in Raleigh, there are several bills Rep. Jordan championed as a primary sponsor that are eligible to be considered and could be passed into law.

Jordan practices law in the High Country with a primary focus on real estate, wills and trusts, traffic issues, and business law. He has also served as a Guardian ad Litem Attorney Advocate, representing abused and neglected children in county Department of Social Services cases. Jordan previously served on the board of the Ashe County Home Builders Association, the Ashe County Free Medical Clinic, and the Ashe County Pregnancy Care Center. He currently serves on the board of the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce. Jordan and his wife, Tracie McMillan Jordan, reside in Jefferson and have a young son and daughter in the Ashe County Public Schools.

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