GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — NC Rep. Kandie Smith held a town hall at Pitt Community College on Tuesday.
It was a chance for Smith to keep the people of District 8 up-to-date on what she’s doing in Raleigh.
The state budget process is underway, and Smith just got her first copy of the budget Tuesday. She met with people in her district to discuss what’s currently in the budget and what needs to change.
“I know we’re in Raleigh, but I still represent this district,” said Smith. “I want to be accessible. This is your government. This is your budget. These are your funds. And so it is important to make sure that your voice is heard.”
The NC General Assembly has the job of allocating more than $24 billion. Smith wants to get public input on where that money should go.
“This is taxpayer money and I like to talk with them to see what their interests are, what their ideas are,” she said.
Smith said she’s just beginning to comb through the budget, but she already saw some issues with it.
“I personally think it does not do enough,” said Smith. “Medicaid expansion still needs to happen, especially during a pandemic. We’ve had COVID to hit and to just devastate so many homes. Why are we not taking care of people?”
Smith also has concerns about the current budget’s funding for teachers. The proposal suggests deeper tax cuts, instead of raises for educators.
“What’s suggested in this budget is like an insult,” she said. “We’ve got to continue to fight for our teachers. On one hand, we say we need them so much because our kids need this education, but then on the opposite hand, we turn around and do not want to reward them by giving them the raise that we should.”
One good thing this Smith sees in the budget is funding for the construction of a new ECU Brody School of Medicine.
“Brody is currently in the budget for $215 million, so we’re still praying for that,” she said. “It’s a constant moving document, and we might go in tomorrow and have another entire document sitting there with some changes.”
Smith said she will take the concerns she heard at the town hall and do her best to fight for them in Raleigh. She is encouraging anyone with suggestions to reach out to her office.