Monday, September 1, 2008

GOP Insurance Commissioner Candidate Upsets NC Firefighters

Eighth Congressional District Democrats and other readers of the Wayne's World blog should find the following post of interest because it impacts the 2008 elections in a major way.



Last week in Winston-Salem the NC State Firemen’s Association held its 121st annual conference in tandem with the 76th annual meeting of the NC State Fire Chiefs Association.

As part of his actual job, Wayne Goodwin presented a Department of Insurance (Office of State Fire Marshal) update. Goodwin’s brief update was strictly to be about department legislation and official OSFM matters, and he was to be introduced only in his current role.

However, leaders of the NC State Firemen’s Association reported that immediately before the Winston-Salem program began they received an intense call from the campaign of John Odom, Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner. Odom demanded “equal time” as Goodwin. When told that the conference was non-political and that Goodwin was only there as part of his State job (as he had for years), Odom’s campaign refused to back down. The Association granted him a few minutes to speak to the joint conference as a result.

According to firefighters and fire chiefs in attendance, the Odom campaign’s rudeness and unacceptable politicizing of the conference are considered major errors on Odom’s part. From many reports Odom actually cost himself significant votes by forcing himself into the non-political meeting.

Consequently, Odom gave his opponent, Wayne Goodwin, an even bigger boost from firefighters statewide.

“I believe Republican John Odom owes the firefighters and fire chiefs of North Carolina a huge apology,” said Wayne Goodwin. “Our hometown heroes deserve respect, and the Odom campaign’s actions during this conference are unacceptable,” said Goodwin. Goodwin is the Democratic candidate for Insurance Commissioner and currently the Assistant Commissioner of Insurance and Assistant State Fire Marshal.

Goodwin has been individually endorsed for Insurance Commissioner by Paul Miller, Executive Director of the NC State Firemen’s Association; and many firefighters and fire chiefs across North Carolina.

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As folks used to say in Latin, res ipsa loquitur, which means the above "speaks for itself." Eighth Congressional District and all NC voters are encouraged to visit for more information about the Goodwin campaign for Insurance Commissioner.


Anonymous said...

Apparently, Republican John Odom has upset firefighters even worse, based upon the following ----

Goodwin Defends Firefighters from Opponent Odom's Idea That Cuts or Eliminates First Responder Grants: NC Insurance Commissioner Candidates Spar Over Grant Funds for Fire & Rescue Services

September 15, 2008

Last week the candidates for Insurance Commissioner of North Carolina again gathered for a candidates' forum with insurance professionals. This time, however, Republican candidate John Odom essentially called for reduction in the monies that provide the millions of dollars in grants to fire and rescue departments across North Carolina.

Sponsored by the Charlotte Chapter of the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina, the two candidates first delivered statements to approximately 150 attendees at the Myers Park luncheon forum about their qualifications for the office and their respective plans if elected Insurance Commissioner. Then they fielded questions from the audience.

One attendee asked the candidates whether they favored reducing or eliminating the State's gross premiums tax or not.

Republican candidate John Odom answered first. He said that as a good conservative he always favors reducing or eliminating taxes, including the gross premiums tax.

Odom's answer surprised Wayne Goodwin – currently the Assistant State Fire Marshal and Democratic Party candidate for Insurance Commissioner - because either (1) Odom himself did not know what he was talking about, (2) Odom misspoke, or (3) Odom truly has a serious disregard for the fire and rescue services in North Carolina.

"The gross premiums tax is what funds the Insurance Department's grant program for the purchase of equipment and supplies for most fire, rescue and EMS departments throughout North Carolina," said Goodwin. "It is reckless for Mr. Odom to say what he did because it would strip our first responders of millions of dollars used annually to buy necessary equipment and supplies, and then will require local governments to raise taxes in order to keep their fire and rescue departments equipped. One should be wary of 'unintended consequences' of tinkering with the gross premiums tax."

Goodwin later added, "In light of John Odom's recent disruption of the annual meeting of the NC State Firemen's Association and the NC State Fire Chiefs Association in Winston-Salem, I have no choice but to ask this simple question: What does John Odom have against North Carolina's fire and rescue services? His most recent comment jeopardizes the finances of these departments, but also would put the lives of first responders in danger by requiring them to use substandard or old emergency equipment."

Odom never publicly corrected himself after Wayne Goodwin reminded him that it is insurance companies that pay the gross premiums tax (not individuals or businesses) and that those monies are what have provided almost $80 million – closer to $160 million when the matching funds are counted – for equipment and supplies to our first responders since 1988.

Curiously, if Odom were Insurance Commissioner and he reduced or eliminated the gross premiums tax, he would effectively do two additional things: First, he would also remove the monies that pay for the operations of the entire NC Department of Insurance – leaving insurance companies free reign without regulatory officials to weigh in – and, second, he would cause homeowners' insurance rates for most citizens to rise. (When homeowners insurance rates are determined for a fire district, criteria include how well-equipped the closest fire department is.)

Odom has still yet to apologize to firefighters for his faux pas at the annual meeting of the firefighters and fire chiefs in Winston-Salem.

Wayne Goodwin – currently the Assistant Insurance Commissioner and the Assistant State Fire Marshal - has been individually endorsed for Insurance Commissioner by Paul Miller, Executive Director of the NC State Firemen's Association; Gordon Joyner, Executive Director of the NC Association of Rescue and EMS; and, individually by thousands of firefighters, fire chiefs, and other first responders across North Carolina.

"This most recent misstep by my opponent is another reason why North Carolina voters should choose very wisely and carefully when they cast their ballots this year for Insurance Commissioner," said Goodwin.

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