Local woman reflects on strange political moment in Raleigh

Jun. 19, 2013 @ 06:00 PM

Sherrie Cannoy of Archdale had a chance to witness one of the strangest dustups in recent state politics — it involved the governor, a baseball glove, a former congressman and children pulling little red wagons filled with petitions.

Cannoy, a former schoolteacher with two children in Randolph County Schools, attended a protest at the state capital June 10 that featured a presentation of petitions against the Republican state education budget. The demonstrators, organized by former Democratic congressman Bob Etheridge, included boys and girls ferrying stacks of petitions in children’s red wagons to the office of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
When the demonstrators arrived late in the afternoon of June 10, an aide to the governor said McCrory was in a meeting and couldn’t come out to speak. However, within minutes of that moment, activists passing on the back of the state Capitol building were taking photos of McCrory throwing a baseball while wearing a leather glove. McCrory’s press representative later said that the governor’s meeting ended early and he was enjoying some exercise.
Cannoy didn’t realize until the day after the protest that McCrory was playing catch with a baseball glove at nearly the same time that she was seeking an audience with him to express her concerns.
“When we were there and walked up to the door of the Capitol and the children were unloading the petitions, we were told by a staff member that the governor was in a meeting,” Cannoy said. “While it’s admirable for the governor to use his limited spare time to get some exercise, it is a little more than ironic he was doing so right after public schoolchildren and parents who were concerned about his policies were right at his front door. What would have been great is for him to come out and talk with us a little bit, then maybe play catch with some of the kids who were there.”
Cannoy, who most of her life has been a registered Republican voter supporting conservative candidates, said the handling of public education issues by Republican leaders in Raleigh has disillusioned her.
“I’ve historically been conservative and mainly voted Republican (in the past),” she said.
McCrory and Republican leaders of the N.C. General Assembly have vigorously defended the $20 billion proposed state budget, saying that it funds and expands basic, sound public education. Also, Republicans say they are trying to meet the state’s needs while cleaning up a fiscal mess left by decades of irresponsible decisions and actions when Democrats ran the General Assembly and controlled the governor’s office.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528