EDITORIAL: There are bright spots in dismal election

EDITORIAL: There are bright spots in dismal election
November 17
03:45 2016

Many African-Americans in Winston-Salem and across the nation, who mostly vote Democratic, are feeling angst after waking Nov. 9 to realize Donald Trump won the presidency.

Trump spewed all kinds of negative talk against minorities. It’s hard for many to think of him as lead-ing the greatest nation in the world.

But what has been lost in all the Trump news for North Carolina African-Americans is the fact that a black judge was voted on to the N.C. Supreme Court, replacing a judge who supported the largest voter suppression measure in N.C. history. A federal panel of judges just before the 2016 elections overturned most of the 2013 voting law.

African-American Judge Mike Morgan, a Wake Superior Court Democrat, beat out Associate Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds, a Republican, by about 10 points, according to preliminary figures. This means that the Supreme Court now has a Democratic majority and another African-American on the Court. Cheri L. Beasley is an African-American currently on the court.

Morgan won the statewide race decisively. The General Assembly had passed a law allowing retention elections for Supreme Court justices, when North Carolinians would vote whether to retain current justices or not. This was done in an effort to keep Edmunds in power.

The effort backfired when Sabra Faires, a Wake County attorney, sued and won her case against the retention election.

Faires ran for a seat on the court. She lost to Morgan and Edmunds in the primary for the non-partisan seat. The top two vote getters moved on to the General Election.

Now, Republicans in the General Assembly don’t want a Democratic majority on the court, so they are trying to concoct a scheme to add two more justices to the court to water down the Democratic majority, media reports say. Are we surprised? This is the Republican-majority General Assembly that passed the 2013 repressive voting law and the retention law. Let’s hope this doesn’t come to pass.

Another bright spot for African-Americans in Forsyth County is the victory of Lynne Johnson for register of deeds. This African-American woman, with 27 years experience working in the register of deeds office, showed what can happen when people consider experience over race. Johnson also won her Democratic primary and went on to defeat the Republican last week.

The Register of Deeds records, manages, and pre-serves public real property records, vital information on births, deaths and marriages, and military service records, while also administering the Notary Oath.

Other African-Americans ran for office, from statewide to Forsyth County offices, but lost.

We can only hope that those thinking of running for office will pick the brains of these two bright stars about how to win and will work to win offices when they become open.

Speaking of that, when Republican Mark Johnson leaves the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board to become North Carolina secretary of education, there will be a vacancy to fill. This would be a great opportunity for an African-American to work to fill the void.

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Donna Rogers

Donna Rogers

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