Legislative Briefing

James Estes, David Young (EPIC), Luke Blanchat & Elizabeth Edwards

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ Staff Visits UNC Charlotte

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ staff visited UNC Charlotte on June 12 to meet with University leaders and faculty to learn about several programs of interest to Tillis and his committee assignments.

Luke Blanchat, director of economic development; James Estes, Charlotte regional representative; and Elizabeth Edwards, regional director of constituent advocacy; began their visit at UNC Charlotte’s Visualization Center. With the senator’s assignment on the Committee of Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, the group saw a demonstration focused on partnered research with Bank of America to identify anti-money laundering occurrences. A second presentation spotlighted phishing detection and provided insight on how students and faculty are working to recognize traits of phishing attacks and enterprising techniques in order to reduce attacks. 

The staff also saw the LYNX Blue Line Extension nearing completion then visited the Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC). At EPIC, the group learned how the University continues to spearhead efforts connecting the energy industry and serve as a key regional asset in developing talent through education. Touring the Duke Energy Smart Grid and High-Bay Structures laboratories, the group saw the unique opportunities students and faculty have to research, develop, test and analyze models and devices in real time and provide solutions to industry partners.

Concluding with a tour of PORTAL, the Partnership, Outreach and Research to Accelerate Learning facility, the staff learned about the specialized services and programs for startup businesses. Blanchat shared his thoughts on the importance of having these programs: “UNC Charlotte is uniquely positioned to partner with industry in the Charlotte region to provide applied research and development that will help promote innovation and spur economic growth. It is no wonder UNC Charlotte has experienced such rapid growth over the past decade.”


Charlotte Regional Public Policy Alliance

UNC Charlotte recently hosted the Charlotte Regional Public Policy Alliance. More than 30 chamber executives and leaders from across the region attended the meeting to help formulate the region’s public policy agenda. Chancellor Philip L. Dubois gave the keynote address detailing the value UNC Charlotte brings to the region, including a strong workforce, economic development, industry ties, growing research and educational partnerships. Stressing the importance of higher education to economic prosperity, Dubois cited research by the Milken Institute that demonstrates a 17.4 percent increase in a community’s GDP for every additional year of education attained.

Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Constituent Relations Betty Doster provided historical context to the power of a cohesive strategy, including legislative approval for doctoral programs in 1993 and helping pass the $3.1 billion bond campaign in 2000 as well as the Connect NC Bond in 2016. Doster noted that of the 441 members of the legislature, 26 percent are from the Charlotte region. Twenty-nine of those legislators hold leadership positions or chair committees.

Budget Update

The final state budget is expected to be completed within the next week. Check Inside UNC Charlotte for the latest updates.