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Bring out your dead water table, the API boosts Rep. Jamie Boles, mortician-legislator.
By John Sanford Friedrich
As the price of gasoline sags to 2010 levels and the supply of natural gas is close to glutting the domestic market, one wonders why the American Petroleum Institute has funneled over $351,000 dollars into races across North Carolina. One wonders even further why some of this money went to Rep. Jamie Boles (R-52 Moore). He is running unopposed as he has in the last two cycles.
"I can tell you if you're going to go into battle, and we're in a battle now, this is a man you want by your side," Boles said by way of introducing Senate candidate Thom Tillis in the retirement and leisure oriented Southern Pines. Boles asked people to vote and to donate to Tillis' campaign. "You need to open your pocketbook," he said.
Many who grew up outside the rural South may not know the storied tradition of morticians. Each county traditionally has two morticians. Segregation made it uncouth for interracial preparations of dead bodies. Thus these two morticians and their respective political associations long served like the top tradesmen of Ancient Egypt, as the only middle-class voice in many a community, other than church pastors or the increasingly vestigial planter class.
H660 sought to dramatically change the legality of vehicular funeral processions. As long as the lead car in a funeral goes through a stoplight in legal time then the whole procession is allowed through regardless of the light changing. The processions would also have gained a general right-of-way against all conflicting traffic.
The last thing a bereaved family needs is to worry about traffic so H660 may have been reasonable enough. Yet streamlining the funerary process is a long cry from hydrofracking or offshore drilling, unless one is planning a remembrance service for potable water.
Just why the API targeted Boles is hard to determine. Senators Barefoot, Rabin and Meredith were also supported by the API and this makes automatic sense – they were the recipients of a co-ordinated ad blitz by environmental groups earlier this election cycles. Each of those senators is defending a district more competitive than Boles’. In 2008, his first election and his only contested election, he defeated Democratic candidate Betty Mangum by over 10,000 votes. 2008 was a good year for Democrats and pre-dates the Tea Party wave for conservative purity. His relative experience may have been why he was selected to key assignments.
He does sit on the Commerce and Job Development Committee as well as vice-chairing Appropriations. These positions explain why he’s racked up a hearty campaign chest of about 50,000 dollars per cycle despite his lack of need to campaign. His funding has been dispersed with himself being the largest single donor and predictable lobbies such as bailbondsmen and those in the real estate sector making more than token donations to keep the mortician in a positive frame of mind. He has not as yet significantly shared the excess of his riches with lesser candidates as is often the fashion in such cases. This suggests he is banking his donations in a view to higher office.
In one odd touch, Boles does appear as a primary sponsor of H844 which seeks to reclassify North Carolinians of the Lumbee, Sapony, Meherrin and other tribes as subjects to tribal administrative bodies with “substantial government duties…because of their status as Indians.” He has not been a major sponsor of fossil fuel bills, though perhaps his power lies more in Appropriations than the house floor.
Moore County is indeed oriented towards golf-loving retirees yet the principal town, Sanford, is attracting a wave of liberal new residents along the style of Pittsboro fifteen years ago. Keep an eye on the mortician Boles, he may well rise again to broader state interest.