Strategic Thinking Introduction
North Carolina is found in the South eastern part of the country. It has one hundred counties, and was formerly known as the Carolina during the time when the US was still a British colony. The state has been associated with a number of positive aspects in the past. For instance, the first human beings to fly- the Wright brothers hailed from this state. In modern times, the state North Carolina has contributed a lot to the overall success of the United States. As of 2007, North Carolina had a population of about nine million and sixty one hundred thousand. This state is also known for the high population of Americas Indians in the entire country. The essay shall examine the economic, political, educational and social issues facing this state currently. (Lefler, 2008)
North Carolina has always been associated with soft spoken or plain speaking politicians. The State’s citizens tend to avoid electing governors who seem to have too much air about them. They are a rather contradictory lot; the state has elected a very conservative Senator – Jesse Helms as their representatives five times yet at the same time elected a progressive candidate such as Jim Hunt as governor. In the past North Carolina was considered as a poor-person’s state. However, the state currently wants to and has improved this image. For instance, through their politicians and their own efforts, the residents of this state have established better roads for themselves. They have recently become a basketball hub and have built numerous skyscrapers for themselves. However, despite these common goals among members of the state, there are still some differences between citizens there. There is an inherent division between the two types of people in that area. (Kersey and Coble, 2008)
It is essential to understand the history behind the state to know why there are such differing elections in the area. In the mid twentieth century, most individuals within this state had adopted a business like approach to politics. They chose representatives that took up educational and economic interests of all persons in the state at heart. However, things changed in the year 1948. At that time, the politicians who stood for pro-activeness lost to more conservative individuals. This was the point at which the issue of race began dominating North Carolina’s politics. Some voters believed that their representatives should represent white domination alone. On the other hand, others believed in good governance for all people in the state. This is what brought about the division in opinion between the two groups.
However, currently, the election of a progressive individual such as Jim Hunt has only been possible because he represents the interests of both of these differing groups. He holds progressive ideas but covers them up with some conservative social values. This is the reason why he has managed to represent the State as a governor for four times. Those individuals who hold the latter view have chosen this conservative Senator. This explains why North Carolina’s political scene may seem complex. The differences witnessed today are only an indication of some differences that existed in the past. They have been brought forward through generations and have shaped the political landscape today. (Department of the Secretary of State, 2007)
It is also imperative to understand the racial composition of this area in order to understand why the state votes the way it does. In the year 2006, statistics indicated that minority groups made up the largest part of the population in over seventy six towns. Consequently, these groups may be responsible for electing progressive representatives as representatives. It was found that African Americans represent the largest ethnic group in seventy four towns. The next ethnic minority group are the American Indians. Additionally, North Carolina is now registering an increasing number of Hispanics.
This state is currently experiencing a boom of migrants. The reason far this is that other groups have been relocating from other states. In the year 2000, there were about one million migrants from other parts of the US who settled in North Carolina. It should be noted that most migrants normally settle in large towns; small towns seem not to receive these groups well.
The state of the economy in North Carolina is neither good or bad ion the state. As of early 2008 the state was ranked twenty fifth in the cost of living index. This means that taxes, utilities and housing cost there are average in comparison to other states in the US. Consequently, there is a need to make some changes in the governance systems in order to improve the state’s rankings.
However, when the economic performance of North Carolina is considered individually (without comparing it to other states in the country) it can be found that in the year 2008, the state’s economy has not been doing as well as it did in the previous two years i.e. there is an economic slow down in the state. (Fleer, 2008)
Experts and economists alike have been perplexed by this slowdown. Some of them assert that it could be due to the sectors under consideration. The automobile and housing sectors do not take precedence in these surveys. If this was the case, then the state would have performed relatively well over the past two years. The low dollar has caused a relative increase in the export sector thus affecting the automobile industry. Additionally, most companies have minimized their inventories in order to cushion themselves against the low dollar. Job loses are actually being experienced in these two sectors; housing and automobile. If these sectors were regulated, then the state would have maintained its good performance
The State of North Carolina is currently among the top forty percent of all other states in terms of economic growth. The issue of the economic perforce is quite important to the state because it affects budgetary allocations. This good performance is quite encouraging and may go a long way in ensuring that the state maintains that performance.
However, despite these positive reports, there are still a number of negative issues that North Carolina is facing. For instance it has been reported that some of the small towns in the state are having problems covering their own operations. For instance, they take up the largest amount of resources on issues such as
These small towns end up depending on grants or other types of intergovernmental transfers. The utility and property taxes in small town are not sufficient to cover some of their most pressing needs and this leaves a lot of room for discrepancies. (Jones, 2007)
Additionally, there are some issues with the way North Carolina runs its water and sewerage system. There are a number of towns that have registered leaks, infiltration and leaks in their piping systems. This could probably be because of the autonomy granted to towns to administer their own sewerage systems. Just twelve percent of the towns in North Carolina have state imposed systems. The rest have to struggle to meet their own needs.
Another interesting aspect about North Carolina in 2008 was the fact that the state has encompassed agribusiness. Farming is crucial part of the state’s economic activities. Consequently, the state has decided to streamline the chain between the framing process, the delivery system and the processing aspect too. This process of streamlining these processes is what is known as agribusiness. The issue of agribusiness could be part of the reason why the state’s economic situation has been placed as top forty percent.
North Carolina is slowly but surely becoming an educational hub in the US. The State boasts of a large number of colleges and universities. Most of them are currently recruiting candidates from different parts of the country and the world. These include North Carolina AT&T University, Duke University, Campbell University and Winston State University. These are just some of the fifty-eight universities in the regions. (Kersey and Coble, 2008)
However, parents in the state have been complaining about the rising cost of higher education as this is something that keeps rising annually. In response to this, some colleges have introduced their own personal initiatives to assist parents there. For instance, some universities have placed a cap on tuition costs for low income households or parents who earn less than thirty thousand dollars annually. The federal state has responded to these rising costs by introducing a grant system for automatic sponsorship. The latter applies to needy but smart students.
North Carolina is faring relatively well economically. However, its economic performance in 2008 has undergone recession over the past two years. The housing and automobile sector have been affected by low dollar performance. North Carolina’s political situation is a rather complex because their voting patterns are quite unpredictable. This is due to rising immigration and a history of business-based politics in the sixties. Lastly, the field of education has been plagued by rising costs. In response to this, the federal state brought in a sponsorship program.
Lefler, H. (2008): North Carolina History Told by Contemporaries; University of North Carolina Press
Jones, H. (2007): North Carolina Illustrated, 1524-2004, University of North Carolina Press
Department of the Secretary of State (2007): North Carolina Manual, New York Vintage Books
Fleer, J. (2008): North Carolina Government & Politics; University of Nebraska Press
Kersey, T. and Coble, R. (2008): North Carolina Focus: An Anthology on State Government, Politics, and Policy; North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research