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League Bulletin

December 6, 2019

WHAT HAPPENED: With the legislature out until Jan. 14, lawmakers and other statewide or area officials are immediately focused on re-election. Candidate filing for 2020 is now open.
WHAT IT MEANS: Any eligible person will have the opportunity to file to be a district attorney, or a judge, or to serve in state-level offices like the General Assembly and various Council of State seats, including governor. Lots of seats are available. “The State and County Boards of Elections look forward to working with candidates and voters as we prepare for the important 2020 elections,” said Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell in a news release.
ON TAP: In other news, North Carolina is marked for more hurricane recovery money. The governor's office announced​ this week that the federal government added $206 million in long-term recovery funds via the Community Development Block Grant for disasters. "North Carolina must wait for a Federal Register to begin the process of accessing the funds," the governor's office said, adding that the state still didn't have access to a separate $336.5 million in federal funds marked for the state in late 2018.
THE SKINNY: It seems like we always expect a holiday lull, but our beat always seems to make news. Read on for more as we count the days to the next legislative session (or the nearest holiday, whichever you prefer). 

The ​​2020 election season is official with this week's launch of the candidate filing period. It opened Monday and will run through noon on Dec. 20. Candidates for the General Assembly and local offices are filing with their county-level elections boards, while those filing for offices like U.S. Senate, governor or Council of State, judge seats and district attorney are turning in their paperwork and fees to the State Board of Elections in Raleigh, located in the Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St. “The State and County Boards of Elections look forward to working with candidates and voters as we prepare for the important 2020 elections,” said Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell in a news release with all the details. You can see who's filed for office during the filing period on the state board's website​. The 2020 primary election is set for March 3; the general election, Nov. 3.

The state has released its countywide economic tier designations for 2020, and seven counties are seeing change. The state by law labels each North Carolina county ​​with a tier level of 1, 2 or 3 as a mark of economic condition, 3 considered the healthiest, which can determine eligibility for certain assistance programs. The list is updated each year based on various calculations. "Counties moving to a less distressed tier ranking include Gates, Hoke, and Surry," a press release says. "Counties moving to a more distressed tier ranking include Caldwell, Onslow, Pitt, and Wilkes." Click here​ for the full list.

Seven Devils’ population, during peak season, swells about 800 percent—from 220 to 1,700. They are visitors and short-term residents, who come for the beautiful western North Carolina scenery and recreation, and for a short while, make their home in the High Country. “We’re very crowded in the summertime,” said Town Manager Debbie Powers. “It’s the place to be.” For the small town, this brief expansion requires an all-hands-on deck municipal approach. It’s one both the Town Council and local officials knew was necessary. And when looking at how to improve the resources available, they ultimately looked beneath their feet, at Town Hall itself. 

The rest of the story picks up at, the economic development storytelling initiative from the League in partnership with WRAL TechWire. Learn how Seven Devils officials have become a key resource for the community. That story and so many more are online right now at, which is a free tool for League members to share their own stories. Have an idea? Email League Communications Associate Jack Cassidy​.

​The state's commerce department has logged consecutive days of jobs announcements, with good news for Wilson, Greensboro and Yancey County. In Wilson, biopharmaceuticals manufacturer Merck announced another expansion with a $57 million investment and 55 jobs to move out the company's RotaTeq vaccine. “Merck is a valued employer in our region,” said Sen. Milton ‘Toby’ Fitch Jr. in the news release. “We welcome these additional jobs and the opportunities they will bring to our people.” In Greensboro​, Sunlight Batteries USA announced 46 new jobs with a $6.5 million investment for its first North American assembly and distribution facilities. "Our total investment of $6.5 million over the next three years is a starting point to support our organic growth but we are also evaluating other strategic investment opportunities," said company CEO Robby Bourlas. Up to 100 jobs​ are on deck for Yancey County with plans from Little Leaf Farms for a state-of-the-art greenhouse complex, an $86 million investment in Burnsville. Said Paul Sellew, CEO of Little Leaf Farms, “We are proud to be both leading the transformation of our food system to higher quality and locally grown products and contributing to the local economy.”