LPNC Gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross attended a city council meeting in Fayetteville and wrote about his experience for the Tar Heel.
On Tuesday, April 11, I had the great privilege of standing with the passionate people of Fayetteville, NC, as they gathered together against the naked power grab the city council is attempting. When I reference the "uniparty," I mean that elected officials from both parties put their own interests ahead of their constituents', without fail, and Fayetteville's city council is proving no exception. As disheartening, if unsurprising, as it was to see politicians being politicians, the resolve of the Fayetteville citizens who turned up to make their voice heard was exponentially more encouraging.
The issue at hand is a proposal by the Fayetteville City Council to extend the councilmembers two-year terms to staggered four-year terms. The council has moved the proposal forward thus far notwithstanding the fact that a similar proposal was voted down by almost 65 percent of voters in 2018. They are proceeding despite the presence of four new councilmembers on the ten-person body, all of whom have far to go before proving their merits to the voters.
Maybe most concerning, the council has moved the discussion to this stage without a shred of self-awareness, as the same city council voted not to investigate themselves or Mayor Colvin, barely a year ago, in the face of serious allegations of unethical behavior. The accusations came from former Councilwoman Tisha Waddell, who alleged serious impropriety and corruption on the part of the mayor and some council members prior to tendering her resignation in protest.
Seeing elected officials declare to their constituents that they no longer feel that they should face scrutiny and be held accountable for their performance at the previously agreed upon schedule, I find myself asking why more than anything else. The political figures who come to mind in discussion of extended terms – Hitler, Mao, Xi, Putin – are not people with whom any decent person, and certainly not any elected official in the U.S., should seek association.
This is not to say that the Fayetteville council members are despotic tyrants on the same scale as some of the worst people in recent history, and I want to be clear I am not implying that at all. I am simply pointing out that there is no discernable, articulable, rational reason for the council to seek extended terms that isn't completely self-serving, and completely self-serving is a dangerous pathway for politicians to follow.
When we say that power corrupts, we mean it. It's not difficult to believe that the mayor was engaged in shady dealings because he is able do so with very little fear of repercussion. It's just human nature. The entire philisophical bedrock of governance on which our country is built relies on the idea that elected officials are accountable to their constituents. Extending their terms of office is an action diametrically opposed to the principles of a democratic society, and more in line with an entrenched corporate board at a failing company.
In the face of this stark reminder that government will ultimately fail you, every time, without exception, the feeling I left with was not despair, but hope. I saw engaged citizens from all parties – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and, of course, Libertarians – uniting against this power grab and demanding that their voices be heard.
Ending government overreach and making sure the public interest is the only special interest that North Carolina serves is the biggest reason I am running for Governor of this great state, and the people of Fayetteville left me encouraged that my vision of uniting regular people against our power-hungry rulers is not only possible, but that people are looking for change.
"To be, rather than to seem," our state motto is not just a catchy phrase - it's a call to action, to be true to ourselves, to be true to our values, and to be true to the principles of Liberty and freedom that unite us as Americans. And that means holding these politicians accountable and demanding that they do the same. Because at the end of the day, the real power doesn't come from the politicians. It comes from us, the people. All we have to do is decide we will no longer be ruled by the far-mongering and power hoarding from our political elites, and together we can #FireTheUniparty.
So to the Fayetteville City Council and all the other power-hungry politicians out there, I say this: we see you. We know what you're up to. And we're not going to let you get away with it. We'll be watching, we'll be organizing, and we'll be voting.
And to the people of Fayetteville, and of North Carolina, I promise you that, as Governor, I will never betray your trust. I will always put your interests first. Everything I do will be to restore your power, increase your Liberty, and improve your life. "To be, rather than to seem." It's not just a motto - it's a way of life. And if we stay true to that, there's no limit to what we can accomplish.