Site Meter Ogre's Politics & Views: NC 95th House District

I received a rather long comment on a post I had covering the "debate" between candidates for the 95th House district in North Carolina: Robert Brawley and Karen Ray. This comment is from a supporter of Mr. Brawley (obviously), and I reproduce it here for all to judge.

It's a bit long, so I placed it in the extended entry. If there's anyone reading who can question any of the assertions put forward here, or any supporters of Karen Ray who want to weigh in on the issue, I'd be glad to post your responses as well.

Next time someone starts making wild claims about Robert Brawley or Karen Ray. Ask them one question. Do you have evidence to support this claim? In this way, you can discover the truth for yourself and learn about the character of each candidate. Make an informed decision when you vote on May 2nd because the winner in the primary will be your representative and will have a large impact on the future of our community.

I have spent a great deal of time over the past several weeks speaking with Karen Ray supporters and with Robert Brawley supporters. I have realized that Karen Ray's biggest strength is misinformation. It is truly disturbing that her campaign relies so heavily on deceit and rumor. It is nothing that can be tied directly back to Ray, but it is the kind of lies that people love to repeat.

Claim #1: “Brawley served 18 years in the House and didn’t accomplish anything. Brawley doesn’t have a plan for the community.”

This claim is founded purely on ignorance of historical fact. Brawley was President of the National Republican Legislators Association and National Legislator of the Year in 1995. You don’t attain national recognitions like these for twiddling your thumbs. Brawley helped get Hwy 150 widened, he got the Mooresville and Statesville School systems working together, he acquire grants for water and sewer for exit 36 commercial and office development and the South Iredell Industrial Park, worked to pave numerous roads in Iredell County, and he worked to establish and pave much of the industrial park where many race teams are located.

When he left office, roads like Brawley School Rd and many others were scheduled for widening and paving. Since he left, many of these projects have died through negligence.

Robert Brawley’s plan is to get our infrastructure back on track so we can grow without extreme congestion and overcrowding. See for yourself at Robert Brawley helped lay the foundation for the economic prosperity we now have and he needs to go back to office to get our infrastructure and our community back on track.

Claim #2: “Brawley doesn’t respect women. He thinks they should be at home in the kitchen.”

This is a claim that Ray’s campaign promoted at the end of the 2002 race. A mailer was sent out just several days before election-day. One indication of the invalidity of this claim is the timing. If you don’t want to give your opponent the chance to respond then your claim is probably false. But, Karen Ray supporters continue to communicate this myth so I will bring some facts to the exchange.

Robert Brawley believes that each family should decide who goes to work and who stays home. Or if both parents need to work, that is up to them. Brawley has three daughters (Shelley, Sarah, and Susan), all of which he paid for their college education. Speak with them yourself and they will tell you that their father has always encouraged them to get an education and to pursue their dreams. Brawley also helped his wife start a business on Main St in Mooresville. Not the actions of a male chauvinist.

Perhaps Ray’s idea of equality would be for Brawley to lay down and let her win the election. I think it’s just a ploy, because she as a woman herself can attempt to capitalize on voter’s sentiments of chauvinism by characterizing Brawley as a sexist. Personally, I think that says something about her character.

Claim #3: Ray’s reckless letter to the Mooresville Tribune. I have reproduced Ray’s accusations followed by Brawley’s responses.

Ray’s Accusation 1. "Brawley voted to kill a bill that would require lobbyists to report their entertainment expenses for money spent on wining and dining members of the General Assembly. In voting against ethics reform legislation, Robert Brawley stated, 'We can make a statement to the people of North Carolina by saying we trust each other.' (May 9, 1991, Charlotte Observer). Brawley's statement clearly represents his close and personal relationship with lobbyists.")

Brawley’s Response- Ray received $72,000 from motorsports after supporting $5,000,000 for the racing hall of fame and has the audacity to question me on campaign finance ethics? This was a democrat’s bill (with a deceptive title) that promoted the democrat’s agenda.___

Ray’s Accusation 2. "...At a time when Republicans were trying to reform campaign finance laws, Brawley took it upon himself to write the Raleigh News & Observer to advance the idea that campaign finance reform was wrong for North Carolina. In his letter, he stated that, 'Reforming the current system of campaign financing would lead to socialism, conformity and communism.' (News & Observer Editorial, July 20, 1997) ... Brawley's attempts to block real reform have lead to the scandal surrounding Speaker Jim Black." )

Brawley’s Response - Ray’s haphazard accusation comes from a liberal editorial that says the typical Republican attitude toward campaign finance reform is founded in “farcical notions.” Both Ray and the liberal editorial have taken the quote out of context. I wrote this letter against the public financing of campaigns because I don’t want our tax dollars to be allocated to candidates which we do not support. ___

Ray’s Accusation 3. "...Just last year, (Brawley) announced his intentions of running for Insurance Commissioner in 2008. This announcement came as part of a fundraising scheme to hide the identity of donors to his 2008 campaign. It took a reporter to inform him in an interview that his scheme would not shield the identity of his donors (News & Observer, Feb. 3, 2005). "This article reveals two troubling facts about Robert Brawley. One, he was condoning the shielding of political donors from the public, a position consistent with his past record; and secondly, he demonstrated a clear lack of knowledge about our election laws." )

Brawley’s Response - ( quoted ""The $100 comes from so many people telling me they would like to contribute , but fear backlash from the current (Democratic*) commissioner if he finds out.") The newspaper knew about it, so obviously there was no behind the scenes scheme. My goal was to protect Republican supporters from a Democrat who forces dissenters into submission with realistic threats against their livelihood, a clear abuse of power. After conferring with the election board I realized this strategy was not feasible. It doesn’t surprise me that my opponent is attempting to distort my decent intentions; however there is no merit to her claim. We need to focus on solutions, not waste time on unfounded accusations. Do we want representation from someone who has worked more as a lobbyist for her industry than as a champion for our community?____
*Democratic added to original quote from article

I cannot reproduce the actual articles Ray refers to, but in the interest of refuting fiction with fact I will provide the following links where you can purchase the article from the paper. In these articles you can see that Ray has had to align herself with liberal viewpoints to find attacks against Brawley. If anything, these accusations prove that Brawley is a solid conservative.

News and Observer articles – search tip, search customized by date using Brawley as search term

Charlotte Observer article – search tip, search customized by date using Brawley as search term

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