Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Meet North Carolina's Thomas Jefferson



Remarks by NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin
at NC Center for Voter Education/Spectrum of Democracy Dinner:
Presentation of Robert Morgan Service Award to John L. Sanders
Raleigh, NC
21 February 2013



President John F. Kennedy once invited all of the Nobel Prize laureates to meet with him in Washington, DC. He most famously said to the assembly:

“I think that this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

By no means am I comparing any of us to Nobel prize winners this evening!

And this is not the White House, though we are not far from the Governor’s Mansion.

That anecdote is appropos tonight because, in my personal opinion, John Sanders is the closest we will get to Thomas Jefferson in our lifetimes. If you know him, then you know what I mean.

Like Jefferson, John Sanders has mastered and has a cultivated an interest in so many things – from architecture, art, books, and groundskeeping, to history, politics, and oratory, as well as music, historic preservation, writing, and the law. He has written extensively on the subject of North Carolina law and is known as a preeminent scholar of the Constitution, especially of North Carolina’s governing document, the 1971 version of which he crafted for ultimate approval by our legislators and voters.

John has walked with Presidents, Governors, legislators, Chancellors, and royalty, but has treated them in the same manner as he has treated over six decades of college students at the University of North Carolina: with respect, interest, and friendship, and with his hope that they will take every day to learn more about the human condition, how to make our corner of the world a better place, and never to forget the least among us or those that came before us.

John, like Jefferson, has promoted public education. As you will note from his biography, he has spent virtually all of his adult life with the our University system, serving in various administrative and other positions, roles where he helped integrate our campuses, and grow them in many respects for this new century that we’re in. At the Institute of Government, now known as the School of Government, he helped educate public officials as to their duties and answered questions from lawmakers and the public at large. With his correlation of the University’s mission and the duty of every able-bodied citizen to be civicly engaged, John Sanders lives by the tenet of Jefferson: A nation which seeks to be both uneducated and free, wants something that never was and never will be.

And like many folks gathered here, he is a strong proponent of keeping the cost of public education – especially at our state’s institutions of higher learning – at the lowest cost practicable. Why? Because keeping the cost of higher education low translates into more and better educated citizens, and ultimately more productive and more civic-minded citizens, and ensures all have a better opportunity of economic and personal success in life, whether one hails from rural Four Oaks or Hamlet or the urbane Charlotte and Winston-Salem.

John, again like Jefferson, is an ardent believer in public service. Besides his own tenure in the U.S. Navy Reserves and with the Institute of Government at Chapel Hill, every year he would encourage college students to consider how and why they might do their part for their generation. He asked them their opinions and their plans, prodded them to think about things differently, and to consider varying viewpoints, and to hone the best ways to articulate those philosophies.

The NC Association of Student Governments even created the JOHN L. SANDERS STUDENT ADVOCATE AWARD years ago. Also known simply as the Sanders Award, it was established in the 30th Session of the Association in honor of John Sanders, Director Emeritus of the UNC Institute of Government. That Award is to be bestowed annually on one or more public figures for service to the students of the University of North Carolina, to recognize those who advocate for the best interests of North Carolina’s students and thereby contribute to the quality of their lives. The Sanders Award shall be the highest honor bestowed by the Association upon a member of the University of North Carolina community.

Through his friendship and attention, John has fostered decades of North Carolinians to serve at every level of government, starting with student government.

A testament to his impact is found amidst the pages of a book that Patrick Wooten, Ted Teague and I coordinated and co-edited over 20 years ago. In that book, titled “North Carolina’s ‘Invisible Hand’, a phrase associated with 18th century economist Adam Smith, friends of John Sanders wrote about what he meant to them in their respective generations. I encourage you to check it out at the State Library, or over at UNC. (By the way, because it is a now considered a reference book, you can’t actually check it out of the library but you are encouraged to review it and learn even more about John.)

More present proof of his impact than that two decades-old book is found by looking at the gathering of students joining us tonight from the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies at UNC. At least ten current students and at least ten more alumni members of the University who interacted with John over the years are here tonight to show their respect, admiration and love for our friend.

For many of us, John is not just a friend but a surrogate father and mentor.

Personally I can never thank him enough for taking time to teach me more about North Carolina, the University and its traditions; helping me – inspiring me – to do what I believe to be right, and to know that there is always more to learn, more books to read, and more friends to make and more to do for our great State.

He has been there, like a father, when I graduated from college and law school; became engaged and married; bought my first house and began a family; started businesses and ran for public office; and even when my own grandfather and father passed away, he took the time to be with my family. In times of loss and love and learning, John has been there.

And he’s been there for many others. And he has always been there for North Carolina.

On par with his belief in public education and public service, John has been passionate about civic engagement and voter education, and promoting a stronger, more vibrant, more participatory democratic republic. (Note I didn’t say “democracy”. He would most certainly counsel me to say, “Wayne, we are a republic, not a direct democracy.”

Bill Friday, the late President Emeritus of the University of North Carolina, reflecting upon John’s many career milestones, said:

“Many North Carolinians serve the State with great devotion; none has served more effectively or with greater distinction than you. The General Assembly, the State Capitol, art and artifacts, the performing arts, the University, the history and records of the State, the Institute, public schools and at least seven Governors have all benefited from your wisdom.”

For these reasons and more, it is my honor to recognize this year’s recipient of the Robert Morgan Service Award: John Lassiter Sanders.

# # #

John Sanders coordinated a visit by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the UNC campus over 65 years ago. Here he is with Roosevelt. With him is his wife, Ann.

To view a special video honoring John Sanders, go to this link here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Goodwin Victorious After "Marathon" Campaign for Re-election as NC Insurance Commissioner

Last night, surrounded by family and friends, NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin won his race for re-election in a contest that was closer than expected. The closeness of the campaign was due almost solely to the Romney/McCrory successes above him on the ballot and the residual concerns by some in coastal North Carolina regarding a homeowners insurance increase that Goodwin's predecessor (and not Goodwin) approved four years earlier.
Goodwin said:
A win is a win is a win. In baseball, you only need one run to win the World Series. In the Super Bowl, you win the trophy if you're one inch over the goal line. In my re-election campaign, I wasn't looking for a great win but hoped that voters were looking for a "Good Win" in the Insurance Commissioner's race!

By last reports, the Hamlet native won by a margin of four points, 52% to 48%.

Goodwin spent all day Wednesday receiving and responding to messages from well-wishers.

On his Facebook account he posted:
I want thank everyone over the course of the last several years (not just months) who volunteered, contributed to, and supported my campaign for re-election as our state Insurance Commissioner. The race ending last night was truly a marathon, but together we made it across the finish line last night. Again, an endless supply of thanks, my friends!
Insurance Commissioner Goodwin, to make sure as many supporters as possible got the word, also sent out a wide-ranging email that read:
Dear Friend,

I cannot thank you enough for your support through this marathon of a campaign. I have crisscrossed the great state of North Carolina many times over the past several months, and nothing has been more rewarding than to meet all of you who have helped launch me into a second term as your Insurance Commissioner.

You may have heard me say that this is a serious job for a serious candidate. Thank you for taking my vision for the Department of Insurance seriously; I would not be here without you.

I am proud of all that we have accomplished so far, but I truly believe the best years are yet to come. I am fortunate to have a great team around me, and we all look forward to continuing to serve you.

Thank you,

Wayne Goodwin, Insurance Commissioner
And in a public message to his 415 or so employees at the NC Department of Insurance, Goodwin said:
Good morning!

You’ve probably heard the results of an event that concluded last night, an event that I rightly compared to a marathon.

Now that the marathon is over – and the race is won – I want to share with you what I’ve heard from Manteo to Murphy, from Eden to Ellerbe, particularly over the last year. That is, folks deeply appreciate the work of our Department of Insurance. Our team – yes, our team – helps so many people in so many ways that it’s not surprising that people automatically think of constituent service and consumer protection when they go to make a decision for state Insurance Commissioner. When the question comes up, “Who’s fighting for us?”, they know we at NCDOI are.

That doesn’t mean we’ve solved every problem. And, yes, we still face challenges – but so do every state agency and our leaders as a whole. We will meet them head on. And I believe we will tackle many of these challenges over the next four years.

All I know with absolute certainty, though, is that there are no better team mates – no one that I’d want to have in my corner more than each of you!

I am humbled to be given another four years to be the leader of this team, and I’m inspired by how collectively we have made such a positive impact on consumer protection, market issues, and public safety/fire safety as we have done.

Now let’s get back to work and keep doing what the people of North Carolina expect from us and get from us every day: Our best.

Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Wayne
2012 GOP challenger Mike Causey very graciously called Insurance Commissioner Goodwin at home today to extend his congratulations and appreciation for a well-fought, clean race. "I truly appreciate Mike's sincere comments about the race, and applaud his reaching out to me after the election. He is certainly a believer in public service, evidenced by his four runs for the post. I wish him well and thank him for the personal, ceremonial call," reported Goodwin. "Running for public office is not easy, and I commend folks who put themselves out there for the greater good and to give voters a choice."

Meanwhile, the extensiveness of Insurance Commissioner Goodwin's "ground game" and grassroots network is noteworthy, as is his prowess at fundraising. It is estimated that Goodwin raised more than twice the funds that his predecessor (the 24-year former incumbent Jim Long) raised and more than seven times the sum raised by his 2012 challenger.

After taking a few days of respite, the Tar Heel insurance regulator will be back in the saddle riding off to various places within North Carolina to meet with consumers and professionals, fighting for what's right and serving the great State to the best of ability.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Goodwin: We need consumer advocate, not career insurance man, as NC Insurance Commissioner

Late into the night a few hours before Election Day polls open, countless persons across North Carolina - and even out of state - received spam from Mike Causey, Republican candidate for state insurance commissioner.

In that unsolicited, massive spam Mike Causey - who worked 30 years as a paid insurance company executive! - professed that North Carolina needs a "career insurance man" such as he for state Insurance Commissioner.

Wrong.

North Carolina does not need someone regulating rates and licenses of the insurance industry who has a conflict of interest (and campaign finance scandals and federal tax lien/bankruptcy problems on top of that).

We need to elect an Insurance Commissioner who is not tied to anyone in the industry regulated by the Department of Insurance.

We need an Insurance Commissioner who is not going to tilt the delicate balance away from consumers - individuals, families and small businesses - and towards insurance companies.

In massive contrast to Mike Causey, incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has saved consumers over $1.4 Billion, assisted citizens all around the state with their insurance and other matters, fight insurance fraud with great success, and championed our state's firefighters. Goodwin has stood up to insurance companies and been an effective voice for all of us individual residents.

It is imperative that we vote to RE-ELECT Wayne Goodwin as our state Insurance Commissioner.

Republican, Democrat, and Unaffiliated voters agree: Keep Causey Out, Vote Goodwin Back In.


To do otherwise is scary for everyone's pocketbooks.

# # #

Friday, November 2, 2012

The "Mike Causey Lie Train" Has Left the Station ...

It was bound to happen. Especially with just a few days to go before Election Day.

You know, when perennial failed Insurance Commissioner candidate Mike Causey would start to fling anything and everything at NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin in their election contest.

Just yesterday you read about how Causey does not care about the facts and how he might as well be wearing a tinfoil hat.

Now the "darn the facts, let's just say it anyway" approach is guiding candidate Causey.

In fact, just a few hours ago he sent his blast email entitled "Down to the Wire" .... to his opponent and myriad other persons who would never in a million years vote for Mike Causey. (Mike has apparently bought, borrowed or obtained a list containing everyone's email address except perhaps George Lucas, and that's because Lucas doesn't need one - Lucas has The Force. But I digress.)

So, Causey decided that if others in his party could say certain things in legislative races then he could say them with impunity in his campaign for Insurance Commissioner. Wrong!

In fact, his behavior is so predictable that it's laughable:

He accuses Insurance Commissioner Goodwin of raising taxes. (Sorry, but state Insurance Commissioners do not raise taxes. How can an Insurance Commissioner raise anyone's taxes? Is Causey sharing campaign staff/managers with one or more legislative candidates - ah, yes, that explains it!)

He says that the Department of Insurance is bloated. (Apparently he doesn't know about multiple years of budget cuts or that many positions are paid for by non-State grants and for specific purposes.)

He accuses Goodwin of expanding the size of the Department of Insurance. (Actually, Goodwin has streamlined DOI, combined some divisions, and tightened the agency's belt with fewer dollars. Only the legislature can add positions, and Causey's party controls that process.)

He alleges that Goodwin has produced tons of rules and regulations. (In truth, Insurance Commissioner Goodwin repealed many rules and regs -- he froze rule-making, then repealed duplicative, unnecessary, and old rules and regs.)

He ominously states that state Insurance Commissioner Goodwin will implement Obamacare, as if the state insurance commissioner has a final say in it. (If he'd read several years of news clippings and countless posts, speeches, and interviews done by Commissioner Goodwin then he'd know that Insurance Commissioner Goodwin fought parts of Obamacare that violated State sovereignty, and continues to press for "state" regulation of insurance, not federal. Linking this with some prior statements he has made recently, Mike Causey apparently believes he can "nullify" a federal law as state Insurance Commissioner. Not possible. Andrew Jackson in 1832 and the Civil War in large part - if he studied American history and law - say his position is unlawful, maybe a bit eyebrow-raising. Perhaps Causey believes he is running for U.S. Supreme Court Justice or U.S. Congress?)

And, he says that the Department is costing taxpayers money. (Really? The Department of Insurance, which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars annually in receipts and functions on monies paid by insurance companies and not general fund dollars, costs taxpayers money? Doesn't Causey realize that it is the insurance industry that sought creation of the office of Insurance Commissioner and the Department of Insurance many years ago as a means of preventing bad actors, insolvent insurance companies, etc., from disrupting the marketplace and harming consumers? If anything, the Department of Insurance is "the goose that laid the golden egg" for the State because it generates tremendous income for the People of North Carolina but not from the people.)

In thinking about what prompts this post, one must remember that Mike Causey has run four times now for state Insurance Commissioner. The state's voters have REJECTED him previously each time and, with facts and not fiction, will do so again.

You'd think he know better than to send out a Hail Mary pass by email which is full of lies.

You'd at least think he'd know more about the office for which he is running.

Watch out, folks. The "Mike Causey Lying to Election Day Train Trip" has begun. Be careful and don't get run over. He sure doesn't care if simple things like facts and law get in his way, and assuredly doesn't care if people get misled in the process. His desperation is a dangerous thing.

Vote to re-elect Wayne Goodwin as NC Insurance Commissioner.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Eastern North Carolina Supporting Wayne Goodwin

With endorsements from newspapers in Elizabeth City, Greenville and Wilmington -- and with his not approving two insurance rates hikes that would have disproportionately affected the coast -- it would appear that Eastern North Carolina will lean toward re-electing Wayne Goodwin as the state's Insurance Commissioner.

The Facts Be Darned, Mike Causey Strangely Says Goodwin Hasn't Saved NC $1.4 Billion

It is certainly the silly season as Election Day 2012 draws near.

Here's the latest evidence: Mike Causey, the four-time challenger for the office of North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and a former paid lobbyist, has told news media that incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has saved Tar Heel residents no money during his term in office.

Causey said: "... there's no savings there."

Goodwin has actually ordered $1.4 Billion in refunds, rate cuts, and rebates. (Listen to the WUNC-Radio interview here at this link.)

Causey also said:
" ... insurance rates have been going up for too long, partly because Goodwin's policies have kept more private insurers from offering property policies in the state,..."
Apparently, the Republican candidate Causey doesn't know that a public information request will verify that forty-one (41) new property companies have begun writing in North Carolina just on Goodwin's watch. It's even been in newspapers.

Also, what "policies" and "private insurers" is Causey referring to? Only insurance companies that are insolvent or have major legal problems are prohibited from coming here. Is it that Causey wants North Carolina to open the door to insurance companies that have had their licenses revoked in other states, or is it he just wants to raise rates so more insurance companies come here?

Facts be darned, Causey does not realize that if Insurance Commissioner Goodwin had not taken action and ordered rate cuts, refunds and rebates then billions of dollars of additional insurance expenses would have been on the backs of individuals, families and small businesses.

And what about the actual checks that millions of citizens and policyholders have received as a result of orders by Insurance Commissioner Goodwin?

For example:

One million drivers received a total of $50 million in 2009-10.

Over 215,000 families received $156 million in health insurance rebates in 2010.

Hundreds of thousands more North Carolina residents and businesses received many millions of dollars in refunds (example here) as a result of Insurance Commissioner Goodwin.

Were those checks a figment of everyone's imagination, as Mike Causey would have people believe?

Republican Mike Causey, who wants to take North Carolina back to the 1830s, apparently believes so. What's next -- Mike Causey denying the world is round and denying that men landed on the moon? It's tinfoil hat time.

This state cannot afford to have potential leaders who will deny basic facts just to get elected, and adopt policies that will take us back to the Stone Age. There's just too much at stake.

North Carolina needs an Insurance Commissioner who fights for the people, has bipartisan support, has an actual proven record of savings, and knows both facts and law.

Let's pray that the voters know the true choice they have here.

Vote to re-elect Wayne Goodwin as North Carolina's Insurance Commissioner.

UPDATE, 2 Nov 2012: Read even more recent bouts with truthfulness by the Mike Causey campaign here at this link.

# # #

Raleigh, Greenville Newspapers Endorse Wayne Goodwin for Re-election as NC Insurance Commissioner!

In addition to the throng of newspaper editorial boards from the mountains to the sea that have already done so, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has today received the editorial board endorsements of both the Raleigh News & Observer and the The Daily Reflector of Greenville.

The Greenville newspaper had this to say specifically:
"Goodwin, 45, is the Democratic incumbent who was elected four years ago after serving eight years in the N.C. House. He has successfully sparred with insurance companies in an effort to keep rates low for the state’s motorists, though housing rates may increase along the coast due to legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Causey, 62, is the Republican challenger who worked as an insurance agent for 30 years. ...

... Goodwin has proven to be the type of dedicated, thoughtful public servant North Carolina should appreciate. Voters should lend him their support."
With major endorsements coming his way and statewide TV, radio and social media ads running constantly touting his proven record of fighting for the people, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has the momentum going his way for success on Tuesday night when the polls close and the ballots are counted.

Don't forget to vote early or on Election Day!