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On Sunday afternoon, Governor Roy Cooper visited Shiloh Baptist Church in Henderson and was officially welcomed by Mayor Eddie Ellington. Cooper was in town to support NC House 32 Representative Terry Garrison.
Ellington thanked Cooper for being a “friend” to the local area and praised Garrison’s support of the community. “Rep. Terry Garrison and I as well as the City Council, city manager and staff have always worked well alongside one another, when he was our county commissioner and now as our State House Representative,” said Ellington. “He has championed legislation that improves the lives of our citizens.”
Garrison, a local Democrat who represents areas in Vance, Granville and Warren County, has stood firm with the Democratic governor in not voting with Republicans to override the governor’s veto of the state budget.
Numerous carrots have been dangled in front of Garrison as incentives, including the much-ballyhooed Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) move.
In reference to recent discussions on possible jobs created by the potential DHHS move from Raleigh to Granville County, Ellington clarified, “People need to understand and get the facts. These ‘1800-2000′ jobs already exist. This is not for new jobs or positions. It’s basically moving the building. Of course, I realize some may not want to drive and may quit. But most are not, given these are state jobs with good benefits and it’s probably an easier drive to Creedmoor than downtown Raleigh.”
In recent interviews with Garrison on WIZS’ TownTalk, he said there was more at stake than just the DHHS. In fact, Medicaid expansion, which could affect approximately 19,000 people in Vance County alone, is at stake as a part of the state budget, as is additional money for education and teacher compensation.
“Representative Garrison and I have had long talks in regards to the need for Medicaid expansion and the effects that it would and can have on our community partners, Maria Parham Health and the jobs of the ones that continue to invest and work there, but also the needs and lives of our residents,” Ellington said.
“The studies have been done and accepting federal funds for Medicaid expansion would generate close to 175 jobs in Vance County, $79 million in Vance County business activity and $591 thousand in new Vance County revenue. Keep in mind these numbers are for Vance County and Henderson. Imagine what can be done for the entire state. Talk about an economic boost along with providing healthcare to those who so desperately need it.”
The reception was a timely and strong showing for Garrison. He has been under tremendous pressure, even to the point of health concerns, since this all began to unfold more than a month ago.
In the intense political arena of late, Henderson and Vance County have gotten a lot of attention, and while there has been disagreement from some locally as to Garrison not, in effect, voting against the governor, what has been firm is Garrison’s stance to continue to negotiate.
If there is any room in the final sentence or two of a news story, which has otherwise been fact, it’s this: Garrison, so far, has not been for sale. His bargaining appears to have been open and honest, and it’s very possible, despite the fact that Garrison could himself at some point benefit too, that his negotiations have already produced more tangible results than a boat full of political promises from elsewhere. Time will tell…