Toll opponents ‘effective’ during trek to Raleigh

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Oriental commissioner Larry Summers, center, and town resident Greg Piner present a petition to Bill Daughtridge, Senior Policy Advisor to House Speaker Thom Tillis.

Oriental commissioner Larry Summers, center, and town resident Greg Piner present a petition to Bill Daughtridge, Senior Policy Advisor to House Speaker Thom Tillis.

By Joe and Henri McClees | Special to the County Compass

Thank you to all ferry tax opponents who traveled to Raleigh to join the NO FERRY TAX lobbying effort at the Opening Day of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Wednesday, more than 50 ferry tax opponents from Beaufort, Hyde, and Pamlico Counties lobbied the legislature. We had County Commissioners and the County Manager from each county. Activists divided into groups to contact as many legislators as possible before the noon session.


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 Beaufort, Pamlico, and Hyde County representatives meet Wednesday with state Sen. Stan White, one legislator who has publicly stated his opposition to any new or increased ferry tolls.

Beaufort, Pamlico, and Hyde County representatives meet Wednesday with state Sen. Stan White, one legislator who has publicly stated his opposition to any new or increased ferry tolls.

We spoke directly with the 23 Senators and Representatives targeted as coastal legislators and members of key committees. For legislators who were in meetings, activists delivered individualized messages about the strong opposition to any ferry tax.

Beaufort County Commissioner Robert Cayton and Mrs. Cayton joined Beaufort County Manager Randell Woodruff and other Beaufort County citizens who arrived early and stayed late.

Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan was at the legislature on other business before he donned a NO FERRY TAX badge.

A variety of groups took advantage the General Assembly’s Opening Day to lobby state legislators.

A variety of groups took advantage the General Assembly’s Opening Day to lobby state legislators.

Hyde County Chairman of the County Commission, Sharon Spencer, led a delegation from Hyde County, including Mazie Smith, Hyde County Manager, and Megan Shaw, Public Information Officer.

Darlene Styron, Commissioner from Ocracoke, lobbied beside Connie Leinbach of the Island Freepress. Senator Stan White took time from his busy morning to don a NO FERRY TAX sticker and talk with “his home folks” about the need to block this tax.

Pamlico County Commissioners Christine Mele and Ann Holton joined County Manager Tim Buck and almost 40 Pamlico County citizens. The Oriental group was led by Larry Summers, Town Commissioner in Oriental, who wore his NO FERRY TAX tee shirt and led discussions with many legislators.

A variety of groups took advantage the General Assembly’s Opening Day to lobby state legislators.

A variety of groups took advantage the General Assembly’s Opening Day to lobby state legislators.

Also among the Oriental contingent were Greg Piner and his wife, Nancy, who followed up prior meetings with Representatives by attending the Joint Oversight Committee on Transportation, as well as visiting numerous legislators in their individual offices.

Josh Potter, Mayor of Minnesott Beach, and Mrs. Potter, as well as many other Pamlico County residents, delivered the message: NO FERRY TAX!

Representative Norman Sanderson complimented our activists as he stated, “You are making this system work for citizens.”

Sanderson thanked a delegation for coming to the legislature to make our opinions known and require the system to respond to coastal needs. When the Legislature convened, some activists sat in the Senate Gallery. The remainder of the activists sat in the House Gallery.

Each group was recognized by the presiding officer. Speaker Thom Tillis recognized the “NO FERRY TAX” opponents, which included citizens from Beaufort, Hyde, and Pamlico County.

In the Senate, Senators Stan White and Jean Preston provided reserved seats for us. The President of the Senate, Walter Dalton, specifically recognized the County Commissioners and County Managers from Beaufort, Hyde, and Pamlico Counties.

Our activists were effective and highly visible on the first day of the 2012 Legislative Session. It was widely known the NO FERRY TAX folks were present in force! We had a great day, thanks to the hard work of many coastal citizens.

Thank you, NO FERRY TAX OPPONENTS! This legislative session will progress quickly. As news breaks on the issue of the ferry tax, we will contact you immediately. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.

Editor’s note: As lobbyists for Pamlico, Beaufort, and Hyde Counties, Henri and Joe McClees coordinated Wednesday’s trip to the state legislature. Readers may reach them in Oriental at (252) 249-1097.