Local Politics

Lawmaker to fight House investigation

Posted May 1, 2009 6:22 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2009 11:09 a.m. EDT

— A state lawmaker accused of inappropriate behavior said a House investigation of him is nothing more than a politically motivated "witch hunt."

House Speaker Joe Hackney asked the sergeant-at-arms Thursday to look into allegations that Allred, R-Alamance, was intoxicated Monday night and hugged a 17-year-old female page.

Allred acknowledged he was speeding Monday night on his way to Raleigh when he was stopped by a state Highway Patrol trooper. The trooper let him go with a warning, he said.

"He asked me why was I going so fast, and I said, 'Well, I'm trying to get to the legislature so I can vote,' and he asked for my identification and everything," he said. "Then he said, 'Please slow down.'"

The Highway Patrol on Friday charged Allred with driving 102 mph in a 65-mph zone in Orange County. Officials said they were investigating why the lawmaker wasn't ticketed Monday night.

Allred said he had a beer and tomato juice before leaving his Burlington home Monday night, but he insisted he wasn't drunk.

"I was not drinking and driving," he said.

He also challenged the allegation he acted inappropriately to the page, who he said is a neighbor of his.

"She's like my granddaughter. I've watched her grow up from practically a baby," he said. "I said, 'I'm proud of you. I'm glad you are here,' and I hugged her and kissed her on the cheek."

The girl's father told WRAL News that he doesn't think anything inappropriate happened.

Allred said he feels targeted by Hackney, noting he and the speaker haven't agreed on issues in the past.

"My feisty character invites rage in some other people," he said. "It's a character assassination. It's a witch hunt."

Hackney denied the investigation was politically motivated, saying he received numerous complaints about Allred's behavior. The House Republican leadership supported his request to look into the matter, he said.

Allred said he plans to fight to keep his House seat.

"I love serving the people. I love being in the position to call up a bureaucrat and get something done for my constituents. That's why I do it," he said.