Remember these words

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2018

It’s likely a rare thing that five past governors of any state, both Democrats and Republicans, would see eye to eye on an issue. Perhaps North Carolina voters should think a sign of the progressiveness of our state that that’s exactly what happened here.

Last week, Gov. Jim Hunt (D), Gov. Jim Martin (R), Gov. Mike Easley (D), Gov. Bev Perdue (D) and Gov. Pat McCrory (R) all agreed on two issues, then agreed to speak out against them in a united front. That’s 40-years’ worth of governing speaking and it’s every governor of the state of North Caroline since 1977, barring current Gov. Roy Cooper.

So, what are they so concerned about? It’s about the amendments that will be on the voters’ ballots in the fall. Some of these amendments center around hot-button issues, such as Voter ID; others, not so much, such as the amendment that offers a constitutional right to hunt and fish in the state. Neither of these are causing these past leaders of the state concern, nor is it that capping the income tax rate at 7-percent rather than 10-percent (which is probably not a good idea to write into the constitution). The other amendment gives more rights to victims of crime.

No, these governors — liberal and conservative, both — have joined together to let every voter know how bad an idea two of these amendments actually are. One is giving the General Assembly control of vacant judgeships. Judges are elected here, but if a judge retires or dies, the sitting governor replaces him or her for the remainder of unserved term, then the replacement judge can choose to run for office. Where the governor has been responsible for this, now the General Assembly wants that control.

The General Assembly also wants to be able to appoint people to the state elections board, another power held by the governor for a very long time.

The past governors have some strong words about what many are referring to as a “power grab.”

Gov. Jim Hunt (D): “This effort that we oppose on a strong bipartisan basis is against a few politicians in the legislature increasing their powers at the expense of the people of North Carolina.”

Gov. Jim Martin (R): “After a career devoted to building a more competitive two-party system in our state, it’s embarrassing to me that it’s a legislature controlled by my Republican party that has hatched this scheme and thought they could get away with it.”
Gov. Mike Easley (D): “As I read these amendments, I couldn’t find anything that did one thing to help the people of North Carolina.”
Gov. Bev Perdue (D): “My overriding concern in all of this is not about the governor, or the legislature, or the judiciary, or any other office holder. Our overriding concern is about the people of North Carolina.”
Gov. Pat McCrory (R): “My advice to the hardworking legislators… if any of you want to take on the responsibilities of governor then have the courage to run for governor. And win. Earn it.”

Perhaps it would be wise to remember these strong words come Election Day.