North Carolinians Demand Accountability for Education, Democracy, Healthcare Policies at #UniteNC Town Halls
Hundreds Show Up For Next Three Stops in Common Cause NC’s Tour
HIGH POINT, N.C. (8/8/23) — Last Monday night, more than 120 High Point residents gathered at Turners Chapel AME Church to address their state lawmakers at a #UniteNC Town Hall, followed by 90-plus attendees Wednesday night in Fayetteville, and 65 more in rural Rockingham County.
Concerns over public school funding, gun safety, and reproductive healthcare, along with the ability to vote and have a genuine say in their democracy, dominated North Carolinians’ concerns. Rep. Cecil Brockman (HD-60) and Sen. Michael Garrett (SD-27) responded to the crowd in High Point, as did Rep. Charles Smith (HD-44), Rep. Frances Jackson (HD-45), and Sen. Val Applewhite (SD-19) in Fayetteville. Rep. Marvin Lucas (HD-42) and Rep. Amos Quick, III (HD-58) could not attend due to conflicts. Additional lawmakers from the Cumberland County and Rockingham County delegations did not respond to several invitations.
The High Point, Fayetteville, and Rockingham County #UniteNC Town Halls are among the 20-plus lawmaker accountability events being hosted this summer 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?”
To date, more than 500 North Carolinians have attended the first five town halls.
The #UniteNC Town Hall Tour continues tonight, August 8th, in Gibsonville at 6:30 p.m. Monday night’s planned town hall in Kannapolis has been rescheduled to Monday, September 18th due to severe weather.
Next week, town halls will take place in Wilmington and Salisbury. Additional stops were announced for Rocky Mount, Hendersonville, Greenville, Scotland Neck, Sylva, Hillsborough, and more. Members of the public and media can RSVP to a town hall in their area by visiting ccnc.me/UniteNC.
Below are quotes from event organizers and town hall attendees:
“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.”
High Point resident Mitzi Turner said: “It is time to get our hands dirty. Go see how our people living. Hold our representatives accountable for what they’re doing and not doing. Our power is at the polls. How our streets look is at the polls. Do you hear me?”
Fayetteville resident Krystal Maddox said: “If you’re going to force people to have children, take care of them. With bills like [SB49], we’ll be making this problem worse for our children.”
Reidsville resident Ann Brady commented: “In conclusion, the result of these vouchers [through HB823], coupled with the bleak outlook for public teacher salary increases in the budget results in legal and subsidized school segregation. Do we value public education as an institution that serves all children in our state, or do we further promote private options for a select few?”
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.