More than 1,600 North Carolinians attend #UniteNC Town Halls
Two stops remain on Common Cause NC’s 25+ county tour
RALEIGH – Since July 20, more than 1,600 North Carolinians have attended 23 town halls addressing their state lawmakers on issues ranging from voting rights to public schools, most recently in Havelock, Boone, Asheville, Fairmont, Hillsborough and Manteo.
As the legislative session winds to a close, North Carolinians repeatedly voiced their concern that big decisions impacting their lives are being made without their input or review. Attendees condemned voting maps being drawn behind closed doors; the expansion of charter and private school vouchers; and a state budget voted on with only hours to read and analyze.
“Some state lawmakers are hell-bent on dismantling our democracy, rushing through new restrictions on popular voting options and manipulating their districts for partisan gain, among other problematic proposals,” said Gino Nuzzolillo, Campaigns Manager at Common Cause North Carolina. “Every issue before the legislature deserves robust public input, thoughtful debate and full transparency. Lawmakers are conducting ‘the People’s business’ in the People’s House. These #UniteNC Town Halls are meant to remind lawmakers who they work for – and remind the public that we’re putting people over politics ahead of the important elections to come.”
In Asheville, attendees listened to remarks from Sen. Julie Mayfield, Rep. Eric Ager and Rep. Lindsey Prather, while Boone participants held a dialogue with town council candidates absent a response from their county’s delegation in the NC General Assembly. Manteo residents demanded to know which lawmaker snuck a controversial new development provision impacting local affordable housing into the state budget.
The Asheville, Boone and Manteo #UniteNC Town Halls are among a total of 25 lawmaker accountability events hosted over the past four months in competitive voting districts by nonpartisan voting rights group Common Cause NC and the organization’s state and local partners. The centerpiece of each town hall gives residents a chance to ask questions of their elected representatives and respond to prompts such as “what do you want the future of North Carolina to look like?”
The #UniteNC Town Hall Tour makes two final stops Oct. 25 in Graham (Alamance County) and Oct. 26 in Winston-Salem (Forsyth County). Members of the public and media can RSVP to a town hall in their area by visiting ccnc.me/UniteNC.
Members of the media can also find links to video footage from each town hall at ccnc.me/UniteNC.
Below are quotes from town hall attendees:
Robeson County resident Shalonda Regan said: “Our kids have experienced two natural disasters in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. We need the extra resources here so we can all be on an even playing field, and that’s what the Leandro case is all about.”
Dare County resident Jason Borland said: “We need transparency, accountability and integrity about this budget provision affecting our community. I wish we had some of our state and county representatives here to listen tonight.”
Buncombe County resident Hope Sykes commented: “We need to fund schools – specifically special education, those who get left behind in this conversation. Without traditional public schools, my brother wouldn’t have gotten an education.”
Craven County resident Ruby M. commented: “My time is valuable. I came here to listen to my representatives, and some didn’t even bother to respond. Do they even know we’re here in Havelock?”
Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.