Despite heat indices in the triple digits, two groups rallied on Jones St. at midday today in support of very different ends.
Behind the legislative building on Halifax Mall, the NC chapter of Americans for Prosperity drew a crowd of several dozen people at 11:15 to urge lawmakers to override Perdue's vetoes of bills from offshore drilling to Voter ID.
Gathered around an inflatable oil derrick in the blazing sun, the group listened to organizer Dallas Woodhouse talk about the importance of overturning Perdue's vetoes of regulatory reform and the Energy Jobs Act, which would take the first steps toward offshore drilling to tap suspected natural gas reserves along NC's coast.
"The sign says it all: More energy, more jobs," Woodhouse told the crowd, warning them that Virginia Democrats are seeking to "seize the natural gas that rightfully belongs to North Carolina!" The crowd booed. AFP veto override rally
"Why does Governor Perdue want to send jobs created from NC energy to Virginia?" Woodhouse asked.
"Obama!" one supporter shouted.
Watch the clip at right.
Out in front of the legislature, the Democracy NC rally had drawn a slightly bigger crowd, clustered tightly in the shade of the maple trees along Jones St. The group was bolstered by members of AARP, the League of Women Voters, Disability Rights NC, and the NAACP.
Democracy NC's Eastern NC organizer Shaunee Morgan talked about her "disappointment and disgust" at Republican measures to require photo ID for voters, shorten early voting, ban Sunday voting, and end non-partisan judicial elections and same-day registration at one-stop sites.
Morgan said the measures were intended to suppress voter turnout. "All of these bills taken together will reduce the impact people here in North Carolina can have on their political process, and that's not what a democracy is," Morgan said.
Morgan urged the crowd to voice their concerns to House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger. "Tell them to respect our vote and respect our democracy." Democracy NC voting rights rally
"Respect our vote, respect our democracy," the crowd repeated.
Just then, my microphone cut out. My apologies. You can watch the clip at right.
The Voter ID measure wasn't up for a veto override today. That's expected to happen the week of July 25th, starting in the House. Meantime, the Senate voted today to override Perdue's vetoes of Regulatory Reform and the Energy Jobs Act, along with four other bills. All of them now go to the House, which may also take up elections bills this special session.