Tine’s disaffiliation, Feb. 3, 2015

Published 8:19 pm Monday, February 2, 2015

To the Editor:

Much of what follows has already been sent to Rep. Paul Tine in an open letter, and forwarded to a number of interested individuals as well. The opportunity to access the WDN’s editorial page for sharing these thoughts more widely is appreciated.

Mr. Tine’s recent decision to “disaffiliate” from the Democratic Party and to begin caucusing with the majority is a direct affront to his constituents. He campaigned as a member of the Democratic Party, sought our support and contributions as such, and was elected by the majority vote of our district to be a Democratic member of the Assembly. His change of registration at the “invitation” of the majority is nothing less than his substituting his own ambitions for the express will of those of us who elected him. He simply has no acceptable explanation or excuse for his decision. We who elected him have lost our Democratic Party voice in Raleigh, the voice he promised us to be. Those of us who gave him financial support deserve our money back in light of the false pretenses under which he accepted our contributions.

We were told there was no quid pro quo for Tine’s move. Then, within days, he was awarded a co-chairmanship of an important budget sub-committee, a position of power within the leadership of the majority. One may well ask what other promises were associated with this dubious “invitation?” Such “invitations” are never given without the expectation of return fealty to those who issue them. Tine continues to describe himself as a centrist, yet he has pledged to caucus with (read: vote with) the far right wing leadership of the majority party. He claims his decision will benefit his constituents in spite of our having elected him to stand up to the policies of the majority. How uninformed or benighted does he take us to be? He has made a bargain with those who, among other travesties, underfund public education, health care for the needy, and environmental protections for our beautiful, fragile rivers, sounds, and Outer Banks.

Mr. Tine owes us the obligation of resigning his seat and allowing the Democratic Party which elected him to choose another to hold the position. Duty, honor, ethics, and common decency require nothing less. If Mr. Tine believes his constituents actually want someone who will support the GOP agenda, let him run on that platform in 2016. Too bad that North Carolina law does not provide us the opportunity to conduct a recall election to address his shameful action.


Jeffrey Barker,