Andrew H. Poston/Photographs by Mike Caskey, Andrew H. Poston, and Roy Purvis
♦ In the first major showdown between the local Republican Party and local Democratic Party since election night, a capacity crowd gathered in the County Administration Building’s Cohen Room for a legislative town hall featuring three of Rowan County’s four legislators. Originally slated to be a town hall for Representative Harry Warren (R-77) and Senator Tom McInnis (R-25) to answer questions about legislative accomplishments in Raleigh, conservatives in the room were pleasantly surprised when Carl Ford (R-76) joined Warren and McInnis at the table.
Ford’s arrival was a bright spot ensuring that Southern Rowan County was well represented. This event drew so much attention that people began lining up at the door before County Administration Building’s doors opened. The room was close to evenly divided between the two parties, although the Democrats were more vociferous when it came to asking questions and reacting to them. To their credit, instead of disrupting the town hall event, they brought two-sided signs that read either agree or disagree, and would hold them up when they agreed with something they heard, or conversely would flip them and ensure the legislators knew their thoughts on the issue.
Anticipated to draw a large crowd, the meeting size did not disappoint. Both parties sent out correspondences to their members to rally their troops and get them out and it worked. Capacity for the Cohen room is 99 people according to the Fire Marshal’s sign in the room, and there were 99 people in the room plus a number more in the hall.
Various questions ranged from electric billboard ordinances to lengthy pontifications on how Raleigh’s Republicans were not good Christians although all three are known to be very devout Christians. The three legislators remained cool under fire, yet the tenor of most questions was polite. Most people at the gathering seemed to show an honest curiosity about the legislative proceedings in Raleigh. The legislators were not able to get to every question, but they did get most and answered them with poise and grace befitting any politician.
Our legislators are crucial members of the North Carolina General Assembly. The evening ended with vetted economic statistics showing North Carolina’s economy to be one of the fastest growing in the nation. It was presented by former District 76 Representative Fred Steen.
The group “Salisbury Indivisible” protested for an hour outside the building, holding up signs that mostly had to do with HB2. The protest was peaceful and most attendees showed respect to their counterparts and to the legislators. Citizens should be thankful they have legislators who will hold town hall meetings to keep citizens informed about what is current in the General Assembly.
A small gathering of “Salisbury Indivisible” gathered outside the County Administration Building:
Photos of Thursday Night’s Legislative Town Hall in Salisbury with Rep. Harry Warren and Sen. Tom McInnis with Guest Rep. Carl Ford:
Rep. Harry Warren:
Sen. Tom McInnis:
Andrew H. Poston: