The magic of Ocracoke begins on the ferry ride. Photo: C. Leinbach
The magic of Ocracoke begins on the ferry ride. Photo: C. Leinbach

The following came in June 10 from Hyde County lobbyists Henri and Joe McClees:

The NC General Assembly is moving quickly toward resolve its 2016 budget. 

The House and Senate have each passed its own version of House Bill #1030 (the budget bill). The House version (version 3) helps coastal transportation issues tremendously, providing for a stable funding source for ferry vessel purchases and removing ferry tolling.  The Senate version (version #6) leaves ferry tolling in place and provides no effective funding for ferry vessel replacement.  This bill also reinstates the $150 priority pass fee that anyone could buy for any of the ferries.

Because the House & Senate did not agree, they each appointed “conferees” to work out their differences.  The HB#1030 Conference Committee (21 senators and 44 representatives) was finalized yesterday, and has already begun work.  One aspect of negotiations is to analyze the differences in spending in each major section of the Budget, including Education, Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Economic Resources, Justice and Public Safety, General Government, and Transportation. We need help in the Transportation Section of the Budget.

We are asking you to quickly contact the following Senators on the Conference Committee and politely ask them to protect coastal citizens and the coastal economy by providing for a stable funding source for ferry vessel replacements and by removing ferry tolling, specific including NO FERRY TAX for the Ocracoke Hatteras Ferry.  Coastal citizens need help in the Transportation Section of this Budget!

Here are the Senators and their emails and Raleigh office telephone numbers. If you can only have time to contact a few, start at the top of the list and begin with Chairman Sen. Harry Brown.

  1. Senator Harry Brown,; 919-715-3034
  2. Senator Brent Jackson,; 919-733-5705
  3. Senator Kathy Harrington,; 919-733-5734
  4. Senator Wesley Meredith,; 919-733-5776
  5. Senator Bill Rabon,; 919-733-5963
  6. Senator Jerry Tillman,; 919-733-5870
  7. Senator Norman W. Sanderson,; 919-733-5706
  8. Senator Bill Cook,; 919-715-8293
  9. Senator Tommy Tucker,; 919-733-7659
  10. Senator Jim Davis,; 919-733-8875
  11. Senator Louis Pate,; 919-733-5621
  12. Senator Ralph Hise,; 919-733-3460
  13. Senator Rick Gunn,; 919-301-1446
  14. Senator Tom Apodaca,; 919-733-5745
  15. Senator E.S. “Buck” Newton,; 919-715-3030
  16. Senator Shirley B. Randleman,; 919-733-5743
  17. Senator Andrew C. Brock,; 919-715-0690
  18. Senator Chad Barefoot,; 919-715-3036
  19. Senator Trudy Wade,; 919-733-5856
  20. Senator Bob Rucho;; 919-733-5655
  21. Senator Stan Bingham;; 919-733-5665

Be brief, direct, and polite.  Ask each Senator to provide (1) a stable funding source for ferry vessel replacement and (2) protect Ocracoke citizens from a ferry tax on the Ocracoke Hatteras ferry.

 Email or call the Raleigh office of each Senator.  If you cannot speak directly to the Senator, leave a polite voice message about the two (2) items in the above paragraph.  Thank the Senator for his or her service to the citizens of North Carolina.  Keep your message brief and focused.

Thank you for your help.  We have been told the Senators have NOT heard from Ocracoke citizens this year as they have in past years on the ferry tax issue!  They need to hear from you immediately.  If you have any questions about the ferry tax issue, please do not hesitate to contact Joe or Henri.  Call us on our mobiles phones.  Best regards, Joe & Henri McClees

Joe & Henri McClees, Lobbyists for Hyde County

McClees Consulting, Inc.

PO Box 430

Oriental, NC 28571-0430

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  1. This ongoing resistance has turned into a war of attrition- as reflected in the disappointment that Senators have not heard from citizens as in past years. Over and over again.
    Perhaps we are tired of singing the same song to no avail.

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