WCQS has been speaking with area lawmakers over the past few weeks in an effort to bring you their views, in their words. You can find links to other conversations at the bottom of this article. Today we're focusing on Senator Ralph Hise, a Republican of Spruce Pine. Hise's district spans six counties in western North Carolina: Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, and Yancey. He took the time out of a busy schedule to speak with us. Due to that schedule, the conversation unfortunately had to be far shorter than our previous talks with lawmakers, and so this one is more narrowly focused. You can hear the full conversation above. Below are a couple of highlights.
Ralph Hise is probably most influential in the ongoing debate over Medicaid in North Carolina, as a chair of numerous health committees. He's opposed to expansion under the Affordable Care Act, favoring instead a more privatized approach that he explains in the segment below:
One issue that's gotten a lot of attention during this session is the divide in prosperity between rural and urban areas. With Republicans now in charge, the political clout in rural counties has grown. Attempts to address the divide came up recently when the Senate took up job incentives sought by Pat McCrory. They passed a measure granting far less in incentives money and limiting the amount of incentives that can go to Wake and Mecklenburg Counties, which have received a disproportionate amount of incentives given over the past few years (something supporters of the incentives program attribute simply to being the areas where employers want to locate). Hise talks about that in the segment below, and also talks about a proposal by Republican Senator Harry Brown of Jacksonville to change the way sales taxes are distributed in a way that benefits rural areas, but cuts into the amounts that would go to cities and more urban counties.
That conversation is one of a series of talks we've had, and continue to have with area lawmakers, in an effort to bring you their views, in their words. You can find links to our other conversations below.