Sunday, October 1, 2023






By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Deborah Dicks Maxwell, the current president of the NAACP NC, and first woman ever to be elected, won re-election in a landslide victory Saturday during the state conference’s 76th annual convention in Wilmington.

Ms. Maxwell, who was first elected in 2021 when she defeated incumbent NC NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman amid controversy, defeated challenger Keith Rivers, president of the Pasquotank County Chapter of the NAACP, 73.53% (100 votes) to 26.47% (36 votes) on the last day of the three-day convention.

Rivers was seen as someone reportedly hostile to Maxwell’s leadership of the civil rights conference, as was Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chapter President Rev. Corine Mack, who was defeated by Courtney Patterson for conference first vice president, 34.81% (47 votes) to 65.19% (88 votes).

Maxwell and Patterson were elected to two-year terms via the controversial Election Buddy system employed at the convention to elect a new slate of state conference Executive Committee officers.

Ms. Maxwell had previously served as president of the New Hanover County NAACP, the host county of this year’s convention.

        She told The News and Observer of Raleigh that "...she won a second term despite the earlier rancor by focusing on what’s important — issues such as voting rights, health care and education."

         “Just working collaboratively with people,” she told The N&O. “The cause is the same regardless of who’s at the helm.”

     Even though Pres. Maxwell surrounded herself with an impressive display of political leadership during the convention, including such personages as Gov. Roy Cooper, former Senior Associate State Supreme Justice Mike Morgan, and State Atty. Gen. Josh Stein to name a few, her one-term tenure as NAACP NC president is considered by many observers to be unremarkable in terms of its political activism.

There has been no continuation of the Moral Monday or Historic Thousands on Jones Street coalition building major demonstrations that marked the previous leadership terms of NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber or Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. 

And Maxwell has said very little in opposition to the regressive policies of the Republican-led NC General Assembly.

Whether her quiet style of civil rights leadership in the face of mounting challenges like anti-critical race theory protests in the public schools or the legislature passing new laws to remove the governor’s election board appointment powers will stay intact, remains to be seen, but with the 2024 gubernatorial and presidential election campaign seasons now underway, what role the NAACP NC will play in protecting the right to vote  will be closely watched.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Let’s say you own a small private business, and one of your customers is the state of North Carolina. It’s not much, but it is a contract that can help your business grow.

Well be forewarned - as of this week, the state of North Carolina can come into your office, home, or wherever you keep your business records, and conduct an exhaustive  search for documents without a warrant or court permission.

All it takes is an anonymous tip from anyone alleging fraud, abuse or corruption, and no court of law is involved.

Don’t believe it? Then take the time to call the new Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations (JLCGO) - a new bipartisan investigative group of state lawmakers who will have the authority to probe allegations of fraud, mismanagement, or fiscal malfeasance in state or local government agencies, or even nongovernmental entities that receive state funding either directly or indirectly.

The JLCGO - which originally was just a study group -  was slipped into the new, recently passed $30 billion state budget, and almost immediately caught the attention of Democrats in the state House and Senate. 

Republican legislative leaders were quick to say the drastic change to JLCGO is needed because of the state’s poor response to hurricane emergencies. It is true that years after hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018, there are still North Carolinians who had their homes destroyed who are waiting for Gov. Cooper’s administration to either rebuild their properties, or help them in other meaningful ways.

Apparently hearings about the problems failed to uncover satisfactory answers from administration officials. Republicans say their questions were “stonewalled.”

“Why is it taking so long for these people to get back in their houses? What’s taking so long. So, when our Gov Ops committee went in and started asking these same questions, they were stonewalled as well,” said House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).

Questions were also asked about the use of federal funds that were dispersed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if much of the money earmarked to help the needy actually did.

“It’s not a partisan thing. It is something that is designed to assist the General Assembly and all members of the General Assembly in carrying out our constitutional obligations to oversee the money that’s being spent,” said Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger. “We think this is an appropriate step to take in order to carry out our constitutional obligations.” 

But instead of looking specifically into those instances of alleged mismanagement, the Republican-led General Assembly created the JLCGO with broad powers that Democrats feel may violate citizen rights and constitutional protections.

Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake) said the JLCGO is designed to become a “secret police” for the state, and could potentially be misused to carry out grudges against state or local agencies, or even nongovernmental entries like private businesses that do business with the state and receive state money.

She called it a “scary, scary step.”

Sen. Graig Meyer (D- Hillsborough) also warned during budget debate that the JLCGO, in addition to a new law that allows state lawmakers to ignore requirements of the state records law, will ultimately lead to a “dangerous level of intrusive and dark government.”

The JLCGO is currently comprised of 42 legislative members from both parties that is co-chaired by Senate Majority Leader Berger and House Speaker Moore, who recently announced that he will not be running for re-election in 2024.


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