Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mary Donnan Leaps Into Labor Commissioner Race

A longtime Labor Department employee has leapt into the Labor Commissioner race.

Mary Fant Donnan, now employed with the highly-respected Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, filed her papers with the State Board of Elections this week. She serves as a program officer for that charitable foundation. During her time with the N.C. Department of Labor she worked during the administration of then-Labor Commissioner Harry Payne. Donnan and her family reside in Winston-Salem.

Wayne’s World will highlight more about Mary Donnan when her campaign provides further details. The same applies to information as it is supplied about other candidates seeking the 2008 Democratic nomination. Joining her thus far in the campaign to defeat Republican Cherie Berry – the self-entitled “Elevator Lady” – are Robin Anderson of Cary and Ty Richardson of Middlesex.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Here Comes the Judge! Judicial Candidates in District 20-A (Anson, Richmond, Stanly)

Here Comes the Judge!
Judicial Candidates in NC District 20-A (Anson, Richmond & Stanly Counties)
By Wayne Goodwin
26 February 2008

All too often our candidates for the judicial branch are not highlighted as much as they deserve.

That is a sad fact even though it is our judges who interpret our laws and help protect our constitutional and statutory rights. Election or selection of the appropriate persons for the bench determines the outcome of the ongoing battle to protect individual and collective life, liberty and property.

Though our Tar Heel judicial races are now non-partisan, Wayne’s World now takes this opportunity to shine the light on those brave, dedicated professionals who have put their names forward on the ballot this year in Judicial District 20-A.

In alphabetical order, the candidates so far are:


John Daniel

He is a long-time and well-respected attorney in private practice in Richmond and surrounding counties. A 1982 Campbell University School of Law alumnus, he has represented clients before the District and Superior Courts, the state Industrial Commission, and the Social Security Administration. His wife is the Assistant Clerk of Court in Richmond County and is highly-regarded on the gospel music circuit. They live in Rockingham, the seat of Richmond County. John “Johnny” Daniel is active in church and other ministries, and served in the U.S. Army, from which he received an honorable discharge. His law firm is located on U.S. 74 in Rockingham. Daniel is a member of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Tim Rodgers
Tim Rodgers currently serves as the hard-working Chief Assistant District Attorney in the overlaying prosecutorial district, reporting directly to District Attorney Michael Parker. Prior to his elevation to that post, he served seven years as an assistant district attorney. Rodgers earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 1998. Rodgers is an active speaker and teacher on matters regarding the courts. Those matters include domestic violence, criminal justice, and the courts process in general. Tim Rodgers, his wife, and family live in Albemarle, the county seat of Stanly County.

Amanda (Amy) Wilson
Amy Wilson is the daughter of Cathy Wilson, the former Clerk of Superior Court in Richmond County. Amy has represented clients for many years in both District Court and Superior Court, civil and criminal. She graduated from the NC Central University School of Law in 1999. Thereafter she clerked the summer for a judge (Honorable Jack Cozort) on the NC Court of Appeals, and has served as an attorney advocate – or guardian ad litem - for abused and neglected children.
Amanda (Amy) Wilson is the immediate past president of the Richmond County Democratic Women and past president of the Richmond County Jaycees. She, her husband, and child live in Rockingham. Before attending law school, Amy Wilson was a sixth grade teacher in the public schools.


Kevin Bridges

Judge Bridges is a Morehead Scholar and, on information and belief, is the first African-American to serve on the local district court bench here. He earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1990. His district court seat is not up for election at this time, so if he is not elevated to the Superior Court in this election then he will continue to serve on the District Court bench for all three counties. Active in the Eighth Congressional District Black Caucus and the NAACP, Judge Bridges is also a founding member of the Stanly County One-on-One Program for At-Risk Children. Governor Hunt appointed him to the bench in March 1997; he has been elected three times since. Judge Bridges, his wife, and his children live in Albemarle, the seat of Stanly County.

Charles Collini
Charles “Charlie” Collini is a long-time litigator and member of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been omnipresent in the local courts for many years. He earned his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1974 before serving as an assistant district attorney for six years. Moreover, he served as Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of the U.S. District Court here in North Carolina. Collini is the past president of the District Bar Association (1996-97, 2000-01) and is known for his humor, imitations, and his dedication to his alma mater. On the latter point, all four of his children are also Tar Heel alumni. Collini is the past president of the Union County Young Democrats. He maintains his law office in Wadesboro, the seat of Anson County.

Tanya Wallace
Judge Tanya Wallace is the Chief District Court Judge in 20-A. She was the first woman, on information and belief, to serve on the local district court bench. Judge Wallace is also only one of three female Chief District Court judges currently serving in North Carolina. A 1980 alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law, Tanya Wallace has served as judge continuously since her appointment in 1987 – that is, 21 years. Since then she has been elected five (5) times to the bench, giving her seniority in the region. Her family has been very active in Democratic Party politics and in community, civic, and church affairs. Judge Wallace is also a faithful Rotarian. She and her husband live in Rockingham. Judge Wallace’s daughter, Chevonne, is presently in her second year at Campbell University School of Law.(Photo: Judge Wallace and State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Luncheon in Richmond County in January 2008.)

* * * *

It is important to note two things.

First, all of the above candidates are registered Democrats.

Second, two of our Superior Court judges are retiring this year. They are current Resident Superior Court Judge Michael Beale and Judge Susan Taylor. Beale lives in Richmond County and Taylor resides in Stanly County. They both have been superb public servants, and are truly shining examples of what attorneys and judges should be: fair, competent, respected, dedicated, and hard-working. We here in Judicial District 20-A and at Wayne's World wish them both the very best in the years ahead, and extend a collective "thank you" for a job well-done.

* * * *

In closing, please remember our judges this year – regardless of trial level or appellate level – and note that voters must consider them separately from the partisan ballot. In other words, when you vote “straight ticket” you must still cast a separate vote for the judges.

Finally, “Wayne’s World” extends kudos to June Mabry, chairwoman of the Stanly County Democratic Party and First Vice Chair of the Eighth Congressional District Democratic Party, for reminding me and others about highlighting these races on my blog. Thank you as well to the candidates for making their resumes available for the public.

UNC-TV is a Tremendous State Resource: To Keep It We Must Support It

Last week and then again last night you may have been watching UNC-TV, public television in North Carolina, and were surprised to see yours truly (Wayne Goodwin) on camera!

For perhaps the eighth year out of the last ten years, I have volunteered my time for Festival. Festival is the annual fund drive held by North Carolina's public television station. Since 30% of its annual budget comes from individuals and no more than 50% comes from the State, the good folks at UNC-TV remind viewers and public TV members about the great deal they receive from its local programming, public affairs and news shows, children's broadcasts, and fascinating items that highlight the arts, sciences, and history. To keep that great deal from disappearing or its quality from diminishing, folks like me - the public TV staff courteously and gratuitously call us "talent" - volunteer to appear during breaks to make our case to the hundreds of thousands of viewers every night.

Though this blog mostly addresses matters of political interest, I share this with you because rural districts like North Carolina's 8th Congressional District benefit tremendously from public TV. Why? How? Well, just take a look at UNC-TV's mission:

"Television has the power to change lives. Public television has the responsibility to change lives for the better: A child far from urban resources is inspired to become a scientist ... a high school dropout earns a GED ... a homebound senior citizen remains connected to the world of arts and culture ... the family of an Alzheimer's patient finds strength and support.

UNC-TV's unique programs and services provide people of all ages with enriching, life-changing television."
I don't know about you, but that's a powerful message.

And like we "talent" often say on-camera, public TV is truly "learning for a life-time."

Other thing to make this relevant and personal: I grew up in a very rural community in the 8th Congressional District, living my first years in a mobile home on a farm outside of Hamlet. Back between 1967 and 1974, I only recall getting maybe 3 or 4 channels using the rabbit-ears antenna on our modest black-and-white TV. One of those channels was public TV. I remember watching Sesame Street, ZOOM!, The Electric Company, and the venerable Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. And I recall the other learning programs and musical concerts, too - all of which shaped my formative years and left me in awe of this wonderful, complicated yet fascinating big blue marble we call Earth.

Whether you had a similar experience or not, if you have benefited from public TV in North Carolina I encourage you to make the toll-free call to 1-800-984-9090 or go to and make a pledge today. Let's ensure that our children and grandchildren enjoy public TV as we have oh these many years.

UNC-TV is a tremendous State resource: To keep it, we must support it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Robin Anderson, Labor Commissioner Candidate, Weighs In On Cherie Berry

As long-time readers, Tar Heel partisans, and friends of mine know, I chose not to run for Labor Commissioner in 2008. (See my August 2007 posting for the detailed reasons here at Wayne's World,

Within weeks thereafter from that posting, a slow trickle of prospective Democratic candidates for the job began contacting me. Naturally, they sought counsel, advice, and an endorsement. Due to my position as Chairman of the Eighth Congressional District Democratic Executive Committee I am prohibited from making an endorsement in a contested primary race. So, all I could do was to share my best advice and counsel to those who contacted me. And that I did.

Until last week, though, none of the prospective candidates wanted to "go public." With filing having commenced it is now okay for me to relay information about the race - in my discretion - to inquiring readers and partisans such as yourself.

Out of no fewer than than the seven persons who expressed an interest to me in running, thus far only two candidates have filed for the 2008 Democratic nomination for Commissioner of Labor.

The first to file was Tyrone (Ty) Richardson of Middlesex, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the Institute of Political Leadership.

The second to file was Robin Anderson, a Wake County attorney who is chairman of the North Carolina Personnel Commission and an appointee of Governor Mike Easley.

There is at least one other potential candidate considering a bid for Labor Commissioner. If she decides to throw her hat into the ring, then I will provide a posting here at Wayne's World about her as well.

With all of the above particulars now being said, Wayne's World wanted to share with you a press release received last night from the Robin Anderson campaign. It is a product of the highly-enlightening, highly-disturbing recent investigative series published in the Charlotte Observer about poultry workers in North Carolina and how state and national OSHA officials have dropped the ball. (Entitled "The Cruelest Cuts", I have linked this blog post to the series, and strongly encourage you to read it when you get a chance.)

Now on to the first punch of the political boxing match, this one thrown by Robin Anderson:

Raleigh – Robin Anderson, a Democratic candidate for Commissioner of Labor, had strong words for incumbent Cherie Berry following newspaper reports surrounding conditions at House of Raeford plants throughout North and South Carolina.

The Commissioner of Labor has a moral and legal responsibility to protect the health and safety of workers, and to protect the interests of businesses that play by the rules. The newspaper investigation has brought national attention to North Carolina for conditions that are tragic and deplorable,” Anderson said. “It shouldn’t take an investigation by the media or Congress for the Commissioner of Labor to do her job.”

The investigation by the Charlotte Observer revealed that Commissioner Berry has hamstrung her Department, keeping it from fulfilling its duty to protect the health and safety of the workers of North Carolina through the use of inspections and fines.

The response of Commissioner Berry to the investigation was that her department should work with the Hispanic Community to make sure they are reporting violations.

Anderson countered that enforcement is a critical tool, both as a deterrent to violators and as a means of ensuring that businesses and workers alike understand that violations will not be tolerated.

“It is the Commissioner’s legal obligation to inspect these facilities and prosecute violations. It is obvious that Berry hasn’t done the job. It is time we replace her with someone who will.

“You can't inspect a factory from inside an elevator.”

Anderson, currently the first female Chair of the State Personnel Commission, has practiced labor and employment law on behalf of individuals and businesses for 18 years. Prior to entering the private practice of law, Anderson served as a law clerk for Senior Justice Louis B. Meyer of the North Carolina Supreme Court. She earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her B.A. cum laude in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
For further info contact:

William Cubbison
P.O. Box 17389
Raleigh, NC 27619
(919) 961-6011
If this press release is any indication, it is that Robin Anderson is going to run an aggressive campaign for Labor Commissioner. Voters, no doubt, will learn in an aggressive campaign how important the position is and perhaps come to realize that the news media sadly chose not to investigate the above (and related) issues about OSHA failings four years ago when the Wayne Goodwin campaign made a valiant effort to unseat the incumbent.

Wayne's World will publish information about other Democratic candidates for Labor Commissioner as it is received.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Eighth Congressional District Dems Schedule Business Meeting

Representatives from 10 Counties of North Carolina's Eighth Congressional District to Meet, Eat, Plan

Note the following text of an email and letter sent out earlier this week from the Chairman of the 8th District:

Next Saturday, 23 February 2008, [members of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Executive Committee] are invited – encouraged! – to attend. We will meet in a specially-designated room in the restaurant at the historic Ellerbe Springs Inn & Restaurant, located on 2537 U.S. 220 Hwy north of Ellerbe in Richmond County. ... This location is centrally-located in the district. Over the past year we have traveled to Anson, Montgomery, Stanly, Richmond, and Cumberland for district matters, and in May 2008 we will have our district convention in Cabarrus County.

Please arrive no later than 11 a.m. We will convene promptly at that time and proceed with our official business before taking a lunch recess at 12 noon. During lunch, after folks return to their seats with a meal, we will resume our business and strategy meeting. It is my plan to adjourn no later than 1:30 p.m., with a valiant attempt to adjourn earlier if possible. Everyone is responsible for his or her lunch ticket.

During the meeting we will receive reports from each District officer, County party, and the district’s auxiliary groups; review our plans from the Stanly County meeting last Summer; resolve an administrative/financial matter; review the delegate selection process; and, help Cabarrus organize and prepare for its hosting of the District Convention on May 17.

If you have any questions or wish to propose an additional item of business, then please call me or email me at the numbers to the left of this text.

If you are unable to attend, then please send a proxy. We urge every one of the 10 counties in the 8th District to send at least one representative to this meeting. If possible, though not a requirement, RSVP to me so the restaurant will have enough seats prepared for us. We are presently estimating 20 attendees total.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday --- 2008 appears every bit to be the Democratic year we expected!

If you live in the 8th Congressional District, then please encourage your members of the district-wide Executive Committee to attend. We need county chairs and first vice chairs, in particular, to join us.

Counties comprising the district include: Anson, Cabarrus, Cumberland, Hoke, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland, Stanly, and Union.

For more information, email me at ... Thank you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin Files for Re-election to N.C. General Assembly

February 11, 2008

State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin Seeking 3rd Term for Richmond, Montgomery Counties

(Rockingham) – State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin filed on opening day of the 2008 election season for re-election to the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Presently in her second term, Goodwin has been a rising star within the Democratic Party’s legislative majority.

In the North Carolina General Assembly she is chairwoman of the House Election Laws and Campaign Finance Reform Committee and vice-chair of the Judiciary I Committee. Both committees are known for their consideration and passage of substantive legislative proposals. The local lawmaker also serves on the following additional committees: Appropriations; Appropriations Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety; Education; Education Subcommittee on Community Colleges; and Juvenile Justice. Furthermore, House Speaker Joe Hackney has appointed her to several interim study committees. These duties require her to work part of every week in Raleigh, whether the legislature is in session or not.

“Our area of this State faces a number of significant challenges: jobs, schools, roads, water, sewer, access to affordable healthcare, and many others. I filed for re-election to a third term because this district deserves a State Representative committed to working full-time for its citizens to address these challenges. During my first two terms, this district has received significant appropriations, grants, and constituent services,” said Rep. Goodwin. “If re-elected, Richmond and Montgomery Counties will continue to benefit from my experience and legislative seniority.”
Speaker of the House Joe Hackney of Chatham County praised Rep. Goodwin’s decision to run for a third term.

“She is an excellent legislator, a legislator who brings remarkable experience to the General Assembly. Melanie is an attorney, mom, wife and career woman,” said Speaker Hackney. “We do not have a lot of youth in the legislature, but Rep. Goodwin has become a key spokesperson for young families and small businesspersons in rural North Carolina. … The House of Representatives needs members such as Goodwin who are younger and who know how to manage careers and family. ... She does it with style and gets her work done,” Hackney said.

Melanie Wade Goodwin earned her B.A. in English at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1992 and her Juris Doctor from Campbell University School of Law in 2000. She has been very active in the community as President of the Rockingham Junior Woman’s Club, a member of the Richmond County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, President of the Richmond County Democratic Women, and the Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines Council. Goodwin is also a business owner, mother, attorney, and active member of the First United Methodist Church in Rockingham.

Goodwin is married to Wayne Goodwin, her predecessor in the legislature and presently the Assistant Commissioner of Insurance for the State of North Carolina. He joined her at the Richmond County Board of Elections for Monday’s filing. They have a five-year-old daughter, Madison, and are expecting their second child in April. They live in Rockingham.

To learn more about her legislative service as it happens, Rep. Goodwin has created “Melanie’s District Diary” at District 66 includes Richmond and Montgomery Counties.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Eighth Congressional District Chairman Moderates Debate Among Lt. Governor Candidates

by Wayne Goodwin

I had the honor and privilege to serve as moderator for the recent debate in Fayetteville among the Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor.

Before sharing a few thoughts, it is imperative for me to say this:

North Carolina owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the young folks – the young leaders – comprising the N.C. Federation of College Democrats. They and they alone proposed, coordinated, and have successfully hosted these debates around the State.

Their leadership has done much to educate the electorate about the role of Lt. Governor and what the candidates plan to do if chosen to serve in the role of Chief Executive-in-Waiting. (Frankly, though the duties have been scaled back over the years, most especially when Republican Jim Gardner snagged the post in 1988, the office of Lt. Governor is – and should be – a tremendous bully pulpit. In addition to serving a constitutional role as perfunctory head of the State Senate and as the potential successor if the office of Governor is vacated, the Lt. Governor has the means, ability and – if the typical candidate is elected to the office – energy to make the position into whatever he or she deems is necessary. Perhaps we should discuss this more in a separate post.)

Fayetteville State University proved to be an apropos location for this particular debate.


Well, it is in the center of several issues central to the votes of folks in the Eighth Congressional District and the neighboring Seventh and Second Congressional Districts.

What are those Eighth District issues? In my opinion, they are:

* The impact of the military’s presence on the region’s economy

* How to transition more quickly and more efficiently those Eighth District communities devastated by the loss of manufacturing and textile jobs over the last 15-20 years

* How to provide focused economic development in counties with regularly-high unemployment stats, namely neighboring Scotland and Richmond Counties

* Whether these candidates favor keeping Insurance Commissioner Jim Long as the regulator of auto insurance rates

In addition to the above topics, we covered in detail approximately eight questions plus several from the audience.

And pursuant to the rules, the candidates were allowed rebuttal time as warranted.

Each candidate for Lt. Governor focused on his particular strengths.

Thankfully, there are additional debates remaining in the series so the public – or at least those paying attention this early - will have a “high-def” understanding of whom these candidates are and what their respective candidacies bring to the table.

I encourage visitors to Wayne’s World to check out my earlier posts from October-November 2007 here that provide a summary of what these four candidates are about, how to contact them, etc. On behalf of the Eighth District, these candidates have many thanks for making multiple visits to Richmond, Cumberland, and other counties in this district over the past year. In the last 24 years, it is irrefutable that this is the most attention paid to our area by an array of candidates for this important post. That says a great deal about these Democrats, the promise of the office, and the lasting legacy that Bev Perdue, Dennis Wicker and Jim Hunt have left from their service as Lt. Governor.

In closing, I encourage the four candidates – Dan Besse, Walter Dalton, Hampton Dellinger, and Pat Smathers - and their supporters to share additional thoughts here at Wayne’s World about the debate series and their campaigns so that the Eighth will hear from them once again. Through these continued contacts, voters will have no excuse for not knowing whom they should cast a ballot for in the May 2008 primary.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Eighth Congressional District Hosts College Dems Winter Reception: Former State Representative Honored

The North Carolina Federation of College Democrats proudly hosted its first ever Winter Reception in the Eighth Congressional District on Saturday, January 26, 2008 at the historic Hamlet Train Depot. It followed the N.C. Democratic Party’s State Executive Committee meeting in Hamlet, North Carolina. I (Wayne Goodwin) was humbled to be the honored by the organization.

This is the first fundraiser of its kind held by the Federation. The group asked for sponsorships beginning at the $100 dollar level. All proceeds benefited the Federation and its various projects throughout the state. The Federation chose the Eighth Congressional District because it is a district where are focusing heavily for the 2008 elections.

As the first-ever honoree of the reception, the very organized and outstanding group of College Democrats heralded my many years as a Democratic Party activist, former state legislator, and past State officer for both the College Democrats and Young Democrats.

During remarks at the depot, and after being humbled by unexpected comments from NCFDC officers and others, I told the crowd that this occasion should best be about the need for more young people in public service and how Hamlet holds a special place in my heart. “Just as this train depot stands at a crossroads, Hamlet and small towns like it across North Carolina are at a crossroads. Raleigh and Washington must focus more intently on the needs and the promise of small towns like ours … The future of America depends on the success of our small towns.”

Previously on the BlueNC blog, State Representative Tricia Ann Cotham of Mecklenburg County said, "Wayne Goodwin is most deserving! Kudos to NCFCD for honoring Wayne Goodwin. Wayne is one of the greatest Democrats I know. He is full of passion, determination, and is a true party faithful. Wayne is a great advocate of people and represents the Democratic Party well."

(Rep. Cotham, herself, is a role model for young leaders: She entered the legislature at age 28 and has been a prominent supporter of both Young Dems and College Dems.)

Local and state officials attending the event included Insurance Commissioner Jim Long; State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin; District Court Judge Scott Brewer; District Attorney Michael Parker; Svea Strong, chairwoman of the Richmond County Democratic Party; Jeff Joyner, past state Commander of the American Legion; Larry Kissell, 8th District Democratic candidate for Congress; Winston-Salem alderman Dan Besse, candidate for Lt. Governor; Canton Mayor Pat Smathers, candidate for Lt. Governor; multiple state Democratic officials; as well as local attorneys and political candidates from Richmond and surrounding counties. More than 100 celebrants joined in. Seaboard Station Restaurant of Hamlet catered the reception.

The Eighth District thanks the College Dems for holding its inaugural reception here.