Local Politics

Congressmen: Stimulus package first priority

Posted January 1, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Elected officials rang in the new year Thursday by providing a free lunch to hundreds of Cumberland County residents.

The meal at the Crown Coliseum Exposition Center has become a Fayetteville tradition over the past 16 years. It includes barbecue, candied yams and two New Year's staples – collard greens and black-eyed peas.

Lawmakers: Infrastructure, alternative energy should get stimulus money Lawmakers: Infrastructure, alternative energy should get stimulus money

According to tradition, collards represent money, and people who eat plenty of collards on New Year's Day will have prosperity through the year.

More than 2,500 people attended the lunch to get their fill of collards and hope for better economic times in the coming months.

"Anything that's supposed to bring good luck, we're going to have it today in quantity," said incoming Eighth District Congressman Larry Kissell, who will be sworn into office next Tuesday. "I think the economy is front and center in everybody's mind."

Kissell, Second District Congressmen Bob Etheridge, state Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler and other elected officials attended the lunch.

"Congress will go to work (on Tuesday), and we're going to try to get a (stimulus) package on the president-elect's desk as soon as he's sworn in to put money into building roads, schools, water and sewer (lines), bridges – whatever it takes to put people to work," Etheridge said.

"I want to see our money, because it is our money – the taxpayer's money – spent on infrastructure so we have something to show," Kissell said.

Investing in the nation's infrastructure, both congressmen said, will feed the economy in the coming year.

"(Once we) get the private sector going, and then the public sector will hopefully pull back," Etheridge said.

Etheridge has been named to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which is charged with writing tax legislation. He said infrastructure won't be the government's only big investment.

"Investment in alternative fuels will be a big issue," he said. "It's going to be a growing part of our economy for years to come."

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  • veyor Jan 2, 2009

    This package will help just a few people, and it won't help them much, because they'll be the low bidders. Until credit is restored, this is going to go on and on. Since the banks now have bailout money, they don't need to lend. Not many of us can buy a car, and especially a house straight out. Unfortunately, it's us who have put these nuts (both parties) in office. The Bible says God sets up governments - I've about decided that ours is for punishment.

  • dont_preach Jan 2, 2009

    NO MORE BAILOUTS! NO MORE STIMULUS PACKAGES! NO MORE PORK! NO MORE SPENDING!

    WE CAN NOT AFFORD IT!!!!!

    but we can afford for our troops to be overseas for 8 years??

  • oldrebel Jan 1, 2009

    Hey...anybody that's serving a meal that consist's of barbecue, candied yams, collard greens and black-eyed peas can't be all bad.

  • Iseeu Jan 1, 2009

    If you give contracts to do this stuff to out of state companies who hire illegals to do the work, how does this help NC?

  • whatusay Jan 1, 2009

    Etheridge is part of the problem in this country. We can not borrow ourselves out of a recession. Giving more and more to people for nothing will only make matters worse and extend the length of hard times. FDR tried to do the same thing and it extended the depression by many years. Stop giving money to people who can not pay it back. Politicians are destroying this country with their "I want your vote" attitude and will do anything to get it. It has been proven time and time again stimulus give-aways do not work, never have and never will. Welfare is a prime example. Wake up American before it is too late, if not already.

  • affirmativediversity Jan 1, 2009

    I hope Ethridge and Kissell remember who they represent and who voted them into their offices.

    Here's a hint...NONE OF US LIVE IN CALIFORNIA, DELEWARE, MICHIGAN or ILLINOIS!!!

  • colliedave Jan 1, 2009

    Elected officials rang in the new year Thursday by providing a free lunch to hundreds of Cumberland County residents

    No such thing as a "free lunch"; WRAL do your investigative duty and report what organization paid for the meal!

  • exwife1956 Jan 1, 2009

    Hope they don't forget us poor folks, we don't need new roads and better schools, we need cash.

  • affirmativediversity Jan 1, 2009

    NO MORE BAILOUTS! NO MORE STIMULUS PACKAGES! NO MORE PORK! NO MORE SPENDING!

    WE CAN NOT AFFORD IT!!!!!

  • FromClayton Jan 1, 2009

    stop with the stimulus packages! It is not free money! Our grandchildren are going to have to pay it back 10 fold.