State News

Four N.C. Governor's Candidates Answer NAACP Questions in Durham

Posted January 26, 2008
Updated January 28, 2008

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— Four candidates seeking a nomination to run for North Carolina governor tried to persuade black activists Saturday that they were committed to improving the well-being of all North Carolinians and had the best record on promoting racial equality.

"I think we all have to challenge ourselves to continue on with [Martin Luther King Jr.'s] fight for justice and equality for all," Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue said at the forum held at a Durham church and sponsored by the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Some of the candidates' answers during the forum ran counter to the goals of the NAACP and representatives of liberal-leaning groups that have laid out a 14-point agenda for the state.

None of the candidates endorsed abolishing the death penalty, although they all said they were committed to reducing racial biases within the criminal justice system.

"I do believe that there is biblical evil that lives among us, and for some crimes we give up the right to be here on the earth," State Treasurer Richard Moore said in the sanctuary at Union Baptist Church. "But that penalty must be fairly implemented, and no government and no governor should sit idle thinking that that is not being done."

Moore and Perdue, the leading Democratic candidates, sat on the stage with Republican Bob Orr, a former Supreme Court justice, and another Democrat, Dennis Nielsen of Nash County.

The stage also included three empty chairs, representing Republican hopefuls Bill Graham, Pat McCrory and Fred Smith, who declined to attend the forum. Their campaigns said they had other commitments.

The forum had less of the back-and-forth between candidates seen in previous televised debates. NAACP officials said they just wanted to hear where the candidates stood on the issues, but that didn't prevent some finger-pointing.

When Orr discussed a new education initiative to consolidate power over the public schools in the governor's office, he mentioned that "only two elected officials sit on the (state) Board of Education, one to my left and one to my right," a reference to Perdue and Moore.

"Both have been there for seven years," he added. "I'm willing to make the real changes that will make a real difference in our children's lives."

Nielsen, a retired Air Force colonel making his first major debate appearance with other candidates, alluded to Perdue and Moore when he talked about candidates who had been looking into their records to criticize the other.

"The public is tired of this constant bickering between candidates and parties," Nielsen told the crowd of several hundred. "So while all of these are going to be looking into each other's pasts, I am going to be looking at your future."

Only Nielsen directly answered a question as to whether public employees should have collective bargaining rights.

North Carolina is one of two states that expressly ban state and local governments from entering into collective bargaining deals with their employees. Nielsen said he supported collective bargaining but that government workers shouldn't be able to use it to raise their wages.


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  • beachboater Jan 28, 2008

    Well, Beverly Purdue stated in the debate that she is a lifetime member of the NAACP.

    If the NAACP is actually a white Jewish organization, why is the president The Reverend Doctor William Barber, II instead of a member of the Goldstein family?

    And I too would like to hear of something worthwhile the NAACP has done for anyone other than a black person.

    Teach me and I will learn. Lie to me and I will continue to complain about discrimination against me..........a white adult male.

  • doodad Jan 28, 2008

    "to work on behalf of the rights of African Americans"

    How does this translate into the rights of hispanics, whites, asians, etc.? It states the rights of African Americans.

  • onyourheels2 Jan 28, 2008

    why does the news media still cover the naacp?

  • 68_polara Jan 28, 2008

    These debates go nowhere. People who choose not to be honest with them selves are in no way going allow them selves to be influenced by anyone else either.

  • gandalf1 Jan 28, 2008

    Henry died 1936
    Walling died 1936
    Oswald died 1949
    Mary died 1951

    You are right on one point they were part of the original founders. Now if you are suggesting these people are still controlling the NAACP well then they founded more then the organization because when I just researched the current leadership, on each state level, regionally and nationally I did not find 1 German, Jewish, or Caucasian person who held a position of leadership. So if you are still insinuating the NAACP is being controlled by white Jewish interests then the 4 people mentioned above must have founded more then the organization, since they have the ability to reach beyond the grave too.

  • 68_polara Jan 28, 2008

    1909 was a long time ago. Their actions today obviously conflict with their original mission.

  • gopanthers Jan 28, 2008

    It also says the mission of the NAACP under
    http// that their mission is

    Our Mission
    Ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of ALL PERSONS and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

    And hatred and racial deiscrimination is a two way street.

  • iamforjustice Jan 28, 2008

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (usually abbreviated as NAACP) is one of the oldest and most influential civil rights organizations in the United States.[1] The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909 by a diverse group composed of W.E.B. Du Bois (African American), Ida Wells-Barnett (African American), Archibald Grimke (African American), Henry Moskowitz (Jewish), Mary White Ovington (White), Oswald Garrison Villard (German-born White), and William English Walling (White, and son of a former slave owning family)[2][3], to work on behalf of the rights of African Americans. Its name, retained in accord with tradition, is one of the last surviving uses of the term "colored people". The group is based in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • iamforjustice Jan 28, 2008

    This is a free country believe what you want. I know the truth. The NAACP was not founded by only Blacks. It was never an organization that turned anyone away that wanted to help. It accepts all races and defends all people. It is NOT a racist organization.

  • Go Georgia Tech Jan 28, 2008

    this is great news!!! now if the same candidates would set aside some time to meet with the whites, asians, hispanics, middle easterns, europeans.. and so on to answer our questions- that would be wonderful.. hold on- that will never happen- I forgot only black people get these rights for some reason. When do we stop letting factions like these create racism? When will the headlines read "4 candidates answer Americans questions?"