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Don’t Believe Bill Brawley’s Bipartisan Claims

by Victoria Gordon

Despite considering himself “bipartisan,” former Rep. Bill Brawley is anything but. He has repeatedly backed bills that put politics over people as well as several bills that have just benefitted Brawley himself. Brawley claims he’s “bipartisan,” yet he was part of the leadership several national news outlets called extremely partisan. The Atlantic said “North Carolina Republicans have taken every opportunity they can to tinker with the state’s voting rules” and The New Yorker titled an article in 2016 “North Carolina’s Partisan Crisis.” It's disingenuous to call yourself a nonpartisan lawmaker after leading a legislature to such extreme partisanship it received national news.

Listed below are just a few ways Brawley has proved himself to be a partisan legislator. 

  1. The 2013 budget Brawley voted for included a Republican tax reform that required most North Carolinians to pay more in taxes on average. The tax reform eliminated several exemptions and deductions for working class North Carolinians while kept in place tax credits for yachts, country clubs, and private jets.
  1. In 2016 following the Dan River coal ash spill, Brawley voted for the “Duke Bailout Bill,” which bypassed the creation of an independent cleanup commission and established new rules on a timetable for cleanup while passing on costs to consumers. Brawley prioritized Duke and their campaign donations over the interests of North Carolinians, once again proving he will always side with Republicans and donors.
  1. Also, in 2016, Brawley voted in favor of HB2, which struck down Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance that protected the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Despite voting for the bill and living in Mecklenburg County, Brawley said the issue was not something he “wants to discuss in the media” signaling he was unwilling to explain his position to his constituents.
  1. Brawley voted for the 2016 and 2017 Republican budgets which prioritized tax corporate tax breaks and failed to meaningfully raise teacher pay respectively. Brawley has a record of voting to keep teacher pay nearly $10,000 below the national average, even though this should be a bipartisan issue.
  1. The 2018 Republican budget Brawley voted for did not include any funding to begin testing rape kits. Despite AG Josh Stein requesting funds to clear the rape kit backlog, Brawley followed his Republican colleagues lead and voted for the budget, therefore delaying justice for victims.
  1. Brawley’s failure to be bipartisan doesn’t stop there. Brawley also voted against expanding Medicaid to cover 500,000 low-income North Carolinians despite the program being fully funded by the federal government for three years and covering 90 percent of costs thereafter.

It’s clear during his time in the legislature, Brawley voted in line with his Republican colleagues each and every time he had the option to be bipartisan and benefit North Carolinians. Brawley failed his constitutents with his extreme partisanship, so they voted him out. Now he's trying to claim he's bipartisan but his actions say otherwise.