Salisbury City Councilman Kenny Hardin on a Disrespectful Message Regarding a Meet and Greet Event for a City Council Candidate of Color

Posted on July 17, 2017

Kenny Hardin, Salisbury City Councilman and Candidate for Salisbury Mayor (Reprinted with Permission)

♦ I received this disrespectful message from an email invite sent out for an upcoming meet and greet event for another City Council candidate of color. The event is being sponsored by local businessman Carl Repsher, who served previously as the Plant Manager for the just recently announced closing DuraFiber Technologies on Hw 70. And another lost major business, GDX. He and his wife have invited about 30-40 of their friends to the Country Club, many of whom are in leadership positions in local business, RCCC, Catawba, Rowan Hospital, banking, prominent attorneys, real estate, and a few people of color.

I have no problem with this event or with the candidate he supports. What I take issue with is the statement he made at the end of the message that reads the importance of getting at least one Black on the Council. Only one is allowed Mr. Repsher? Sadly, he doesn’t recognize the disrespectful and demeaning comment he made, but will certainly take offense that I and others did. His attitude is indicative of why we fail to find common ground based on race in our City. It reminds me of a similar statement made during the last campaign by another prominent businessman whose name was on this invite list. He said, “If I had my way, I would make sure there are no Blacks on the Council.” I hear these type of comments frequently.

I guess what Mr. Repsher is looking for is someone who will cosign and support these type of ignorant and divisive comments and not Speak up. I demand the same level of respect and consideration he does and if that is too much for him to offer, then please vote for someone else. I’m happy he’s supporting someone else as I refuse to be manipulated that way.

And we wonder why our City remains so tense and racially divided.

The “Email Invitation” from Mr. Repsher:

“I would like you to join Mary and I at the Country Club of Salisbury for a meet and greet with Patricia Jones (PJ) Ricks who is running for City Council. Beer and wine will be served with light hors devours. Please reply to this email with your plans to attend or not. Thanks.

In the event that you are unable to make the Meet and Greet, I indulge you with the following information. I have known PJ for more than 6 years having served with her on the Salisbury Planning Board for that period where she was effective in asking probing questions and exhibiting a strategic mindset appropriate for the role. She grew up in Salisbury as the God daughter of Wiley Lash and graduated from Livingstone. She is a retired educator having taught in Florida, Connecticut and North Carolina where she was with the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System as a teacher and counselor. Following her retirement she returned to Salisbury where she manages several properties.

PJ has a personal and family history of calm, rational and measured discourse that works effectively with all parts of our community.

For our community to move effectively forward, we need to be sure there is at least one African American council member.

I will be financially supporting PJ and strongly urge you to do the same at any level.”

Kenneth L. Hardin, Candidate for Salisbury Mayor:

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