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@NCCapitol

Pope responds to criticism from NAACP, other liberal groups

Posted December 9, 2013
Updated December 10, 2013

Rev. William Barber, left, state NAACP president, exchanges words with state budget director Art Pope on Dec. 2, 2013, over Pope's financial support of conservative causes.

— State Budget Director Art Pope responded Monday to critics picketing stores owned by his family's company, Variety Wholesalers, with a three-page letter.

The letter is addressed to Rev. William Barber, president of the state conference of the NAACP, who has organized the "Forward Together Moral Movement," a network of liberal groups that has consistently criticized the actions of the Republican-led General Assembly and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. 

Pope and Barber came face to face last week as the NAACP leader announced the picketing campaign, which Barber said will "shine a light on NC Budget Director Art Pope's support and influence on the extremist and regressive direction of North Carolina public policy."

Pope responded by saying that he was speaking on behalf of himself and his company, which runs discount stores such as Roses and Maxway. 

"I am shocked that you and your allies would demand any public official to support your political positions by threatening a business which is not part of state government," Pope wrote. "It would be wrong for me to respond to your demands as State Budget Director because you are carrying out your threats against my company and our employees." 

Barber has called for the General Assembly to hold a special session to reverse course on several key policy issues, including its refusal to expand Medicaid health insurance coverage for the poor and a sweeping elections reform bill, which includes a voter ID requirement starting in 2016. 

Pope also writes that he objects to accusations that he doesn't support voting rights, pointing to cases where he was a plaintiff suing against gerrymandering. He concluded his letter by saying he shares Barber's goal of alleviating poverty.

"Let us respectfully disagree while we debate the merits," Pope wrote. 

Pope's letter is unlikely to sway Barber, who announced a second week of pickets at Variety Wholesalers stores Monday. In an email, Barber said locations for events this week would be Durham, Charlotte, Fayetteville and Winston-Salem.

24 Comments

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  • oldaltar Dec 12, 12:13 p.m.

    Hatred is what motives Barber, not reconciliation which is the message of Christ. cbuckyoung

    Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom as His forerunner John the Baptise who was beheaded. The truth of that message sometimes brings division and persecution. Jesus said "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. The truth of the kingdom, the Sword, always brings division or cuts to the point that there were some in that day that said Jesus was demon possess because of His Words and action. No, Rev. Barber is not hateful but truthful. He Works for the Kingdom of God!

  • ChgoGrl Dec 11, 4:05 p.m.

    A wolf in sheep's clothing. The Dick Cheney of McCrory's administration, hence the real Governor.

  • cbuckyoung Dec 10, 4:07 p.m.

    Mr. Pope it is a waste of time to try and reason with the unreasonable.
    Barber only pulls these fraudulent stunts to cause hatred between groups of people. The goal is never to solve any real or perceived problems. This hatred is what keeps him in the public eye and "relevant."
    Hatred is what motives Barber, not reconciliation which is the message of Christ.

  • Vote for Pedro Dec 10, 1:37 p.m.

    Oh, I was wondering why Pope Francis would have to respond to criticism from the NAACP.

  • 42 Dec 10, 12:43 p.m.

    "I am shocked that you and your allies would demand any public official to support your political positions, by threatening a business which is not part of state government," Pope wrote.

    Quick someone call the Waaaaaaaaahmbulance.

  • polecat1 Dec 10, 11:00 a.m.

    ""I am shocked that you and your allies would demand any public official to support your political positions..."".
    Stunning irony. No doubt his instances of "suing against gerrymandering" took place during previous administrations.

  • Luv2Camp Dec 10, 10:12 a.m.

    Art Pope is 100% right. His company produces jobs. Barber and his crowd do nothing but complain.

  • wildpig777 Dec 10, 9:56 a.m.

    willie b makes his living off of playing the race card,, some people are doctors some are car salesman. some folks are electricans and some are sanitation engineers. wille b is a manipulator-- it's his bag....

  • wildpig777 Dec 10, 9:54 a.m.

    [abuse] Report abuse

    William Barber is the KKK of the black community. Full of hatred and racism. Why doesn't he pursue the real problems ailing the black community? Mandela was a true champion fighting for blacks rights but Barber is a joke and a disgrace to people of all backgrounds. How come you never him about him or his cronies supporting anyone other that black people? Does he or the NAACP think there is any injustices against any other person of color?

    4thepeople

    totally agree-- an hey i'm a minority.................. try that one on for size.

  • dahill001 Dec 10, 9:42 a.m.

    Poor Art Pope!

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