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Sen.-elect Curtis prepares for General Assembly

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

Dr. David Curtis, elected to the N.C. Senate for District 44 in November, is preparing to enter his first term in the General Assembly later this month.
The Denver optometrist told the Times-News last week that he is looking forward to taking his seat. The opportunity, he said, will be both “interesting” and “challenging.”
While he admits he will be met with somewhat of a learning curve in Raleigh, he said there are plenty of resources at his and other members of the Legislature’s disposal. In addition to the two days of orientation he’s already attended, a research staff and a “bill-drafting department,” with lawyers on hand, are also available once the new session begins Jan. 30.
The big issues for Curtis — and he believes for his constituents, as well — will be the economy and education reform. He specifically stressed the need for revamping the tax code, of which he hopes to be a part.
His committee assignments, listed below, will offer him a chance to address these and other issues:

  • Finance – Curtis will serve as vice chairman. “Our out-of-date tax code is a big reason North Carolina had the slowest economic growth in the country in 2011,” he said. “I want to help create a consumption-based tax code that will spur economic growth and create jobs in North Carolina.”
  • Education/Higher Education and Education/Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee – “Our state has very large financial problems and limited resources to devote to education,” Curtis said. “We need to look at all the programs from pre-K to Ph.D. to make rational decisions on allocation of limited financial resources. We also need to shift power away from Raleigh to parents and local school boards.”
  • Commerce – “We need to make sure the commerce department is doing everything possible to make North Carolina a very business-friendly state,” he noted.
  • Health Care – “There is tremendous uncertainty in the health care and insurance area today,” Curtis said. “We need to make sure our citizens have access to health care without causing significant tax increases.”
  • Pensions & Retirement and Aging – “North Carolina has a multibillion-dollar shortfall in funding state employees’ health and retirement plans,” Curtis noted. “We must deal with the problem soon because the longer it is ignored, the worse the shortfall will be.”
  • As for his schedule, Curtis said he will work at Carolina Eye Care Monday mornings before heading to Raleigh around lunch to be there in time for when the Legislature convenes at 7 p.m. It then adjourns at noon on Thursdays, after which Curtis plans to return to Lincoln County for the weekend.

He will likely also work at the practice some Friday mornings, he said. He noted, however, that it’s impossible to have a “normal job” and be a member of the General Assembly.
Curtis is being sworn in locally at the Lincoln Cultural Center on East Main Street in Lincolnton today. He will then take the official oath of office Jan. 9 in Raleigh.

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