WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A battle for balance or a power grab. Five former north Carolina governors are calling out lawmakers over two constitutional amendments voters will see on the November ballot.
“Don’t hijack our Constitution,” Pat McCrory, a Republican who served from 2013 until 2017, said.
Three Democratic and two Republican governors joined together in a historic sign in opposition.
“Never have five of us gotten together and stuck it to you on the same issue and so you can believe we believe in what we are saying to you today,” Democrat Mike Easley (2001-2009) said.
Easley and fellow Democrats Jim Hunt (1977-1985, 1993-2001) and Bev Perdue (2009-2013) and Republicans McCrory and Jim Martin (1985-1993) join the current governor and Democratic caucus’ fight denouncing two constitutional amendments that will be on the November ballot.
“I don’t think we would have this on the ballot if we had a more balanced legislature,” Rep. Deb Butler (D-New Hanover) said.
Both amendments will take away the governor’s full power to appoint judges and members to Board of Ethics and Elections.
The amendments claim to take the process and turn it from partisan to bi-partisan — from politics based to merit based. Changes all Cape Fear Republican lawmakers voted in favor of.
“These boards are always slanted towards the Governor’s party and if that’s not political I’m not sure what is,” Rep. Frank Iler (R-Brunswick County).
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, both Republicans, reacted to the governors saying in a joint statement, “We are confident the people will support a more accountable approach to filling judicial vacancies and approve a bipartisan balance on critical boards.”
Gov. Martin united these five opposing the actions of his party for what he says is right.
“This is not about partisan politics, it’s about power politics and it must be stopped,” Martin said.
McCrory said the five will now work to launch a campaign asking voters to turn down the two constitutional amendments.
Gov. Roy Cooper has already filed a lawsuit to block the amendments.