The Heritage Foundation has released a case study of North Carolina’s trade policy, focusing on the state’s congressional delegation.

Someone we all know and love jumps out right from the start:

North Carolina has a long and honorable record of support for open markets, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of jobs for its citizens. But more recently, when it comes to significant trade policy, North Carolina’s congressional delegation seems to be rejecting that heritage. Last year, all but one member of the state’s congressional delegation voted against the U.S.–South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). In explaining his “no” vote, Representative Howard Coble (R) said the following:

When I was first elected, my bread-and-butter issues were tobacco, furniture and textiles. Well, all three are beleaguered now. I had to vote “no” because my textile folks were opposed to it. My mama was a textile worker. So when I talk about textile legislation, I’m thinking about my mama. And the textile people have been mighty good to me.[2]

All politics, it is often said, is local, so Coble’s decision may seem like the right one for one group of workers. Yet many more of his constituents will benefit from the increased opportunities that greater openness to trade and investment will create.

Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr split ’50/50′ on three recent trade agreements, with Burr casting the supporting votes.