RALEIGH — The Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation is devoting much of the week of June 7 to activities in and about North Carolina’s largest urban region: the Charlotte area.
First, Locke Foundation President John Hood will speak Wednesday at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, 320 S. Tryon Street. His presentation is entitled “North Carolina’s Economic Climate: A Stormy Forecast” and is based in part on a statewide survey of business executives conducted by the Foundation in February and March. Results of questions about the state’s economic prospects and public-policy issues are broken down by region to compare the views of business leaders in metropolitan areas such as Charlotte and the Triangle to those of executives in smaller cities and towns across the state.
Hood, a Mecklenburg County native, has led the Locke Foundation since 1995 and helped found the organization in 1989. He publishes JLF‘s Carolina Journal newspaper, hosts the weekly “Carolina Journal Radio” program on 17 commercial radio stations across the state, serves as a weekly panelist on the statewide “N.C. Spin” television show, and writes a syndicated column on North Carolina politics and public policy for three dozen daily and community newspapers. The author of two books, Hood writes frequently for national publications such as National Review, Reason, The Weekly Standard, and The Wall Street Journal, and is a former reporter at The New Republic.
On Thursday, Weekly Standard editor and Fox News commentator Bill Kristol will visit Charlotte to speak to a private gathering of Locke Foundation supporters and make some local media appearances. Kristol, a former Harvard professor and top aide to Vice President Dan Quayle, has appeared frequently at Locke Foundation luncheons and receptions across the state.
On Friday, the Locke Foundation will debut a special Charlotte page on its main website. The locally oriented page will provide updated news headlines, original material from Locke Foundation writers and analysts on state and local issues within and affecting the Charlotte area, and links to a variety of research and information resources to help public officials, business executives, journalists, community leaders, and other interested citizens frame the debate over taxes, education, transportation, economic growth, air quality, and other issues of great importance in the region.
The Kristol event on Thursday is being organized by former Mecklenburg County Commissioner George Higgins, who joined the staff of the John Locke Foundation earlier this year as vice president for development. Higgins, a Charlotte native who served eight years on the commission, recently retired after nearly 30 years with New York Life. He is a graduate of Myers Park High School and the University of South Carolina.
In addition to Higgins, the Locke Foundation’s other Charlotte-based personnel include Dr. Lee Kindberg, a JLF board member who currently serves on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education; Lindalyn Kakadelis, a former teacher and school-board member who directs JLF’s education-reform project, the North Carolina Education Alliance; and Michael Lowrey, an economist and associate editor of Carolina Journal who has taught at several area colleges and universities and co-authored some of JLF’s major studies on such subjects as local taxes, business regulation, and transportation policy.
“We’ve written about and commented on issues facing Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the entire region since we opened our doors in 1990,” Hood said. “Now we are ready to take our presence in North Carolina’s largest city up to the next level by expanding our staff resources and our public-policy work in the region.”
In the Charlotte area, “Carolina Journal Radio” appears each week on WZRH-AM in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties (AM 960), WSPC-AM in Stanly and Cabarrus counties (AM 1010), and WSTP-AM in Rowan County (AM 1490). The television talk show “N.C. Spin” is broadcast on WJZY-TV (UPN 46) on Sunday mornings and WWWB-TV (WB 55) on Sunday evenings.
Later in June, the Locke Foundation will hold another event in Charlotte, a discussion of the region’s plans for a mass transit system that includes rail. Tom Rubin, a former official of the Southern California Rapid Transit District, and Reason Foundation fellow Ted Balaker will headline a meeting on Thursday, June 24 from 8:30 am to 11 am at the Hyatt Charlotte, 5501 Carnegie Blvd. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature the findings of a new study by Balaker of proposed transit systems in Charlotte, the Triangle, and the Triad.
For more information about John Hood’s Wednesday speech, which is open to the public, about the economic and policy issues facing Charlotte and the state, call the Charlotte Chamber’s Blair Stanford at 704-378-1314. For more information about the Locke Foundation’s new Charlotte web page, its expanded presence in the Queen City, and other organizational news, call the Locke Foundation‘s Kory Swanson at 919-828-3876 or email him at [email protected]