08/31/05 — Special session, 2 absent senators and N.C. has a lottery

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Special session, 2 absent senators and N.C. has a lottery

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on August 31, 2005 1:50 PM

Sen. John Kerr (D-Wayne) voted in favor of the lottery.

"I think my constituents overwhelmingly supported the lottery, and I think I'm a representative even though I have personal concerns. I think it was time to get this behind us," Kerr said.

"We are now competing with states that have a lottery. It's time to put this behind us. It shouldn't be a partisan matter."

Kerr said his constituents changed his mind on the issue.

"Initially when I started in elective office, I was opposed to the lottery. I found out that my constituents wanted to have that choice."

Kerr said some lottery opponents felt like it would be a tax on the poor and the ignorant, and that certain people were not capable of handling their money. "That's kind of a paternal-type view. This is America," he said.

"I don't think that I should be judging the situation and saying that there are certain people that can't handle their money. It's their money, and they have the right to invest it, a right to put it in a sock, or do what they want to with it. They do not need government going into their lives and telling them what they can do and can't do."

Some of the motivation for the lottery, Kerr said, was keeping money in-state from residents going across borders to buy tickets.

"Certainly," he said. "We're losing $400 million plus a year that could go, will go now, into education."

"I think South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee are going to be very upset because this has been a boondoggle for them. They were taking their money from a group of people, North Carolinians, who they didn't have to give any service to," Kerr said. "We just can't let our universities and our schools just completely not keep up with the 21st century. The rank-and-file people want this, and I trust their judgment."