Butterfield Reintroduces Highway Bill for Eastern North Carolina with Support of NC Delegation Members


For Release:  Immediate

Date:  May 1, 2015

Contact: K. Kim Atterbury            

Office:    (202) 225.3101               

Butterfield Reintroduces Highway Bill for Eastern North Carolina with Support of NC Delegation Members

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) reintroduced a bipartisan bill to designate two highways as a “future interstate” that will originate in Raleigh, North Carolina, and travel through Rocky Mount, Williamston, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina to Norfolk, Virginia.  H.R. 2211, or the ROAD Act, is the second of Butterfield’s transportation improvement bills and is cosponsored by Representatives Walter Jones (NC-03), Mark Meadows (NC-11), George Holding (NC-13), David Price (NC-04), Dr. Alma Adams (NC-12), Renee Ellmers (NC-02), David Rouzer (NC-07), Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Mark Walker (NC-06), Robert Pittenger (NC-09), Scott Rigell (VA-02), Randy Forbes (VA-04), Bobby Scott (VA-03), and Robert Wittman (VA-01).

Specifically, H.R. 2211 guarantees that the corridor connecting Raleigh and Norfolk is built to interstate standards, that the route travels through eastern North Carolina, and that U.S. Highways 17 and 64 are prioritized when allocating funding for federal highways–saving taxpayers money by improving on existing infrastructure.  The entire length of the U.S. highway 64 freeway between Raleigh and Interstate 95 was designated as a future interstate (I-495) in 2013 and, according to the Regional Transportation Alliance (RTA), half of the entire future I-44 corridor is already built to freeway standards.

Butterfield said, “The ROAD Act will better connect eastern North Carolina to our state’s Capitol and to one of the country’s premier ports in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  This bill is a key part of my vision to significantly advance transportation in the region and will, among other things, reduce traffic congestion, improve access, and pave the way for job creation and further economic development in North Carolina and Virginia.  There is no question that this will boost the local and regional economies.  I thank my colleagues for their support.”

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that $1 billion in transportation funding can support approximately 30,000 jobs which would be critical to economic development in eastern North Carolina.  Passing legislation to designate the highways as a future interstate can lead to modernization and investment in the region’s highway infrastructure.  This important bill is a key step in Butterfield’s plan to build a strong transportation network, put North Carolinians to work, and accelerate the upgrade of U.S. highways 64 and 17.

H.R. 2211 is supported by Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Richard Burr, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne.  Many local governmental entities, chambers of commerce, and regional transportation associations in North Carolina and Virginia are also supportive of this designation.

“I look forward to introducing yet another bipartisan bill that focuses on improving our state’s infrastructure, reducing traffic congestion, and supporting the creation of good-paying North Carolina jobs,” said Senator Tillis.  “The ROAD Act will prove essential in enhancing interstate commerce between North Carolina and Virginia, and promoting economic development for local communities along the Raleigh-Norfolk corridor.” 

“We appreciate the continued collaboration and support of Congressman Butterfield, Senator Tillis and the NC congressional delegation to strengthen vital transportation corridors in our state,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “This important designation will help better connect many areas of eastern North Carolina to jobs and  other opportunities in the economic center of Hampton Roads and enhance freight movement as outlined in Governor McCrory’s 25 Year Vision.”

Earlier this month, Butterfield introduced H.R. 1844, the Military Corridor Transportation Improvement Act, which similarly seeks to designate U.S. Highways 70 and 117 as “high priority corridors” and “future interstates.”



Press Release from Rep. Shelly Willingham, NC House District 23: Some Nash County Commissioners’ Actions Will Re-Segregate Local Schools

For Immediate Release

April 27, 2015

Some Nash County Commissioners’ Actions Will Re-Segregate Local Schools

By Rep. Shelly Willingham, NC House District 23; Plaintiff in the lawsuit leading to the merger, member of the Rocky Mount City School Board during the merger and member of Merger Plan Task Force.

“Nash County Commissioners conveniently fail to mention that the merger of the Nash Rocky Mount Schools was a part of the settlement of a 1989 federal court school desegregation lawsuit”, emphasizes Rep. Shelly Willingham, one of the plaintiffs in The Rocky Mount City Board of Education, Shelly Willingham, Merland Wright (on behalf of their children), et. al. (class action- Citizens for Equality and Educational Justice) vs. the Nash County Board of Education and the Rocky Mount City Board of Education (89-336-CIV-5-F) in the US District Court for the Eastern District of NC- Raleigh Division in 1989. According to Rep. Willingham, the suit was filed because of the increasing segregation of the Rocky Mount City School System, the refusal by the Nash County School system after desegregation to release its White students to attend Rocky Mount City Schools, the longstanding controversy over school district and city boundaries since the 1970’s and Nash County decisions regarding capital expenditures and school locations designed to increase White flight from the Rocky Mount City Schools.

“The lawsuit included charges that Nash County never fully desegregated its schools in the 1970’s leaving historically Black schools with many empty seats while building new schools and adding new classrooms in predominantly White areas; as Rocky Mount desegregated its schools in the 1970’s, Nash county changed its previous policy of releasing city annexed areas into the Rocky Mount School system which effectively froze the City of Rocky School lines and supported the strategy of White flight of Rocky Mount citizens from the City of Rocky Mount Schools to the county schools while they still lived within the city limits causing increased segregation in the Rocky Mount Schools” , says Rep. Willingham.

Willingham who was on the Merger Task Force shares that the merger proposal that became the centerpiece of the settlement through SB612 (1992) was entitled “Together by Choice” – a commitment to quality education, qualify of life and economic development in Rocky Mount and both counties. Willingham emphasizes: “It is notable that the proponents of dismantling the Nash Rocky Mount School System have not mentioned the lawsuit and the merger as the settlement. Whether it’s their overt intention or not, they are using the justification of disparities in capital funding and county wealth as a basis to re-segregate the system and re-draw the lines to exclude the predominantly Black and lower wealth families of Edgecombe/Rocky Mount along the railroad boundary that they know brings a history of friction that signifies both racial and economic differences. In addition, they are attempting to de-legitimize the role of Rocky Mount citizens in funding education as if our city school system was not the major party in this merger. Rocky Mount citizens, Edgecombe and Nash, have always been in the education business — the leading advocates for and funders of quality education in this region for generations.”

According to Rep. Willingham, Nash County is again reneging on its settlement of this lawsuit and pushing actions to render Edgecombe County and Rocky Mount a racial and economic wasteland. He poses these critical questions: “What families will want to move to or remain in Edgecombe Rocky Mount when their children cannot go to high school in their own city or to the best school facilities and programs? How is it fair for Nash County to benefit from the generations of investment Edgecombe County/Rocky Mount citizens have made in the school facilities that they will retain and that have helped build up their wealth and the sales taxes and city tax benefits and amenities they enjoy from the City of Rocky Mount that Edgecombe County citizens equally contribute to? How is it just that they can just banish these Edgecombe families from their own public investments to the adjoining county system as if they were selling slaves on a plantation?”

“There is no discussion of the impact of this forced racial and geographical re-stigmatization on the quality of education and life in both counties – affecting every one of all races and locations. This re-packaging of “county-line merger” is the same old re-segregation and divisiveness dressed up in new clothes. They are not just splitting a school system but the entire City of Rocky Mount. As a responsible public official throughout my career, I am willing to work to address any legitimate public education issues that need to be resolved; however, I will fight this county-line merger/re-segregation proposal with all my might. It time for us to bring back the Citizens for Equality and Educational Justice and the “Together by Choice” Movement from 1990.” : says Willingham.






Fundraising website disallows contributions for officers in Freddie Gray case – The Baltimore Sun

A popular fundraising website has disallowed contributions for the Baltimore officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. The Baltimore police union on Friday opened an account with the California-based GoFundMe.com website to raise money for six officers charged in the case. But a company spokeswoman said the page has been removed.

“GoFundMe removed the fundraising campaign created for the Baltimore police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray,” spokeswoman Kelsea Little said. “GoFundMe cannot be used to benefit those who are charged with serious violations of the law. The campaign clearly stated that the money raised would be used to assist the officers with their legal fees, which is a direct violation of GoFundMe’s terms. Specifically, ‘campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts’ are not permitted on GoFundMe.” (Source: Read more)

Celebration honors minister’s long service – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator response: I have always liked Rev. Burston not only as a minister but also for his stance on issues in the community. He was always heavily involved in community events speaking out about injustices. My kind of preacher!

An upcoming event will celebrate the 54-year career of a recently retired Rocky Mount pastor.

The Rev. W.R. Burston, former pastor of First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, will be recognized at a retirement celebration from 3 to 6 p.m. May 16 at New Morning Star Church of Christ, a release says.

The celebration will include testimonials to Burston’s service and a catered dinner, said Mattie Watkins, church secretary for First Calvary. The Rev. E. Ray Bynum will be the master of ceremonies, and Rocky Mount City Councilman Andre Knight will be the guest speaker. (Source: Read more)

Tarboro NC – I Knew Todd Gurley Would Be In The Draft So I Was Waiting To See Who Was Going To Pick Up Takoby Colfield

Now I am happy because Takoby Cofield another Tarboro star plans to sign with the Washington Red Skins. He has tried so hard and been preparing himself for the draft. I hope goes to Washington and show up and show out.

Cofield goes undrafted, plans to sign with RedskinsThere were 256 names called during the three-day NFL draft process, and none of them were Takoby Cofield.

The Tarboro High grad and Duke left tackle went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft, opening the door for him to sign with any team in the league. After discussions Saturday with several teams following the end of the draft, Cofield said he will sign with the Washington Redskins.