I am Jane Smith, NC Senator for District 13, Robeson and Columbus counties. I have lived in southeastern North Carolina for 44 years and I love it here. It is home and a wonderful place to live and work.
It is an honor and privilege for me to serve you in the North Carolina Senate. My primary goal and focus is to help the citizens of Columbus and Robeson counties and I have been able to do that in my first term. I have passed legislation with bipartisan support that helps our District, and our office has helped individuals with problems with state government and other issues.
In our poor, rural areas, there are two things that can break the cycle of poverty – education and jobs.
I am still concerned about the cuts to our education system that have increased class size, eliminated many teacher aide positions, and hurt teachers by taking away the Master’s pay and not increasing pay for all teachers, including our important veteran teachers. I want to strengthen our education system from pre-K, K-12, community colleges, and our university system. We need a strong education system to help our children succeed. I will continue to work on restoring needed funding for education.
We also need to strengthen our economic development efforts. Education and economic development go hand in hand because companies want to know that they will have an educated, trained workforce. Having been a Board member for 20 years and chairing for 13 years the NCSE (North Carolina Southeast) regional economic development commission, I know and understand what it takes to bring good jobs to our region. The three rural commissions were eliminated by the legislature in the 2012-13 biennium and that has further hurt the rural areas. Fortunately the NCSE has been able to continue due to a private/public effort. We need to continue and increase our state incentives to attract good jobs to our district and state. I will continue to work on that effort in the Senate.
I am concerned about the widening gap between the rural and urban parts of our state. I worked on the sales tax redistribution effort in the last session. Although it did not pass, we did get a fund of $84.8 million from sales tax revenue to be divided among 79 counties with Robeson and Columbus each received approximately $2 million annually with the potential for that to increase. I will continue to work on ways the rural areas can be strengthened.
I have enjoyed representing District 13 in the NC Senate and ask for your support and vote for re-election in November. If I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.
My primary goal and focus is to help the citizens of Robeson and Columbus counties. I have been able to do that throughout the session by helping many constituents with issues with state government and other problems they have and through legislation that helps our district. I want to continue that focus in the next biennium.
There are other primary goals that I have focused on as well including:
- Strengthening our education system
- Focusing on job creation through strong economic development organizations
- Promoting and protecting business and agriculture
- Making sure the rural areas receive their fair share and do not fall further behind
I have experience in a number of areas that have helped me serve the people of Columbus and Robeson
Counties in the North Carolina Senate.
My first career was as a teacher. I taught in junior high, high school, junior college, and in the first year college program at Robeson Community College. I understand the importance of a strong education system and good teachers. I am concerned about what I consider a weakening of education in the past several years from action of the legislature in increasing class size, eliminating many teacher aide positions, not providing for teacher pay raises, and eliminating tenure. We need to strengthen education, not weaken it.
I owned and operated a business, Century 21 The Real Estate Center, for almost 30 years and understand the needs of business and have used my experience to promote and protect business and agriculture.
I also have a background in economic development and job creation. I served on the board of the NCSE (North Carolina’s Southeast) regional economic development commission for 20 years and was Chairman for 13 of those years. I have learned a great deal about economic development and what it takes to bring companies and jobs to our area through my work with NCSE. I have been recognized for my work in economic development, receiving the Economic Developer of the Year Award in 2006 from the North Carolina Economic Developer’s Association (NCEDA) and the Citizen Leadership Award in 2007 from the International Economic Development Council.
I have been concerned about the growing disparity between the rural and urban areas of the state. I feel that, although North Carolina is a great state, it can only remain so if all areas of the state are doing well. The rural areas, including of course Robeson and Columbus counties, need much and the State can provide more to help the rural areas. That is why I worked throughout the session to alleviate the disparity and was pleased that both counties will now get approximately $2 million annually from sales tax revenue.