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Another term for Speaker Moore and corporate interests, with the help of two Democrats

Wednesday, at the opening of the 2019-20 session of the North Carolina House, there was a contested race for House Speaker. Democrat Rep. Robert Reives nominated fellow Democrat Rep. Darren Jackson against Republican Rep. Tim Moore, seeking another term as Speaker.

Moore succeeded, though, beating Jackson with 65 votes. Two of those 65, however, came from members of the Democratic delegation in a rare party-line break. You can listen to or view the roll-call vote starting at about 40 minutes into WRAL’s broadcast of the proceedings. 

Democratic Representatives Elmer Floyd and Billy Richardson chose to support another term for Moore and corporate special interests. Moore is also under investigation for using his elected office to benefit his personal businesses, further exemplifying his questionable priorities. 

Floyd, like Moore, is known to support corporations over constituents, especially when it comes to safeguarding their access to clean air and water. In 2014 he voted to shift the cost of cleaning up Duke Energy’s 39,000-ton coal ash spill to its customers. Floyd again sided with corporate lobbyists over people when he voted to allow waste management companies to spray garbage juice, known as leachate, into the air over people’s homes and businesses. The process used shoddy science as justification for a method that would save companies money but hurt North Carolinians.

In April of 2018 Richardson took $500 from Duke Energy’s corporate PAC. Richardson accepted campaign cash from Duke in a race where he seriously didn’t need the it (Richardson raised $178,301.81 to his opponent’s $64,531.54). This plus Richardson’s vote for a Speaker under active investigation for using his elected office to advance his personal business interests may signal a change in priorities for the veteran lawmaker.

Without a Republican supermajority, Democrats in the House have ample opportunity to stand against Moore’s wrong priorities, but they’ll need to stand together to do it. Democrats won on a platform that proudly declared their commitment to bettering the lives of all North Carolinians, not just the wealthy. Elected Democrats who cannot live out these values have no place in the General Assembly. We have and will continue to identify lawmakers who vote against the values of their constituents.