By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP – “Grand Ol’ Party) held its Convention at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort this past weekend. Hundreds of delegates filled the floor of the Event Center to cast their votes for various Republican candidates including Thom Tillis, NC Speaker of the House, who is challenging Sen. Kay Hagan for a Senate seat this fall.
Principal Chief Michell Hicks hosted a Welcome Reception on Friday, June 6 that featured a performance by the Warriors of Anikituwah, and he spoke on the Convention floor during a business meeting on Saturday, June 7.
“Thank you for being here in Cherokee, NC,” he said on Saturday. “One thing that we’re very proud of and have become very good at is our customer service.”
“Tourism has been a big part of who we are for many, many years. This facility has expanded on that.”
Chief Hicks said he is encouraged by the year ahead. “I am encouraged by the folks who are running for office…this is a year that we set a new foundation for ourselves.”
“As a sovereign nation, we have a responsibility to our people,” he related, “but, we feel that we also have a responsibility to the people of North Carolina and that truly we are the 101st county in North Carolina. But, we also have a responsibility to the region. We currently have 4,600 employees that we employ within our tribal structure…and we’re getting ready to add another 1,000 in the next 12 months.”
Chief Hicks also offered support for Tillis and thanked him for his support of the Tribe. “I think there is an opportunity here to get someone who, once in office, you get to see them again.”
“We need people to represent the entire state of North Carolina.”
Following Chief Hicks on Saturday was Gov. Pat McCrory who spoke about job creation, taxes, unemployment, teacher pay and other issues. “We’re going to fight for jobs. Every week we’re announcing new jobs for North Carolina.”
Gov. McCrory related that last year North Carolina was number five in unemployment. “Two weeks ago, we’re not even in the top 35! For the first time in eight years, North Carolina’s unemployment rate is below the national average.”
He said they are focusing on agricultural, industrial and manufacturing job creation. “This is what made out state great. This is what made our nation great. We’ve never given up on these industries.”
Gov. McCrory concluded by commenting, “We’re preparing this state for the next generation in a positive way. Carolina is moving.”
Later in the evening, Tillis accepted the Republican nomination for the Senate race. “We’re Tarheels. We stick in. We stick our ground. I have great optimism that if we win this election, we can begin to improve things immediately.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke at a special dinner on Saturday night. Both issued their support for Tillis in the fall.