“Sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”: MLK III speaks out against Mark Robinson’s attacks on his father

attribution: AP

The eldest son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. used the occasion of Father’s Day to speak out against North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson’s years of attacks on his father and the larger civil rights movement:

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson has repeatedly mocked my father.  But it’s not the petty insults that bother me.  It’s his outright rejection of a civil rights movement my father and so many others lived and died for.  Robinson called the Greensboro lunch counter protests “a ridiculous premise” and said “so many freedoms were lost.”  As my father said, “Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

After serving one term as Lieutenant Governor, Republican Mark Robinson is vying to become the first Black governor of North Carolina. But his long history of attacks on civil rights leaders and the civil rights movement show Robinson’s true colors: the man Donald Trump recently called “Martin Luther King on steroids” is MAGA through and through.

Robinson has often used the occasion of MLK Day to criticize the civil rights icon, calling him an “ersatz pastor” and ridiculing people who celebrate his contributions:

Robinson has repeatedly referred to King as a communist and indicated he opposes MLK Day as a federal holiday, pointing to those who don’t go to work on this day as “leaches” [sic].

(As an aside, it’s ironic that Robinson refers to people taking a day to celebrate King’s legacy as “leaches,” given his habit of failing to pay his mandatory state and federal taxes.)

But it’s not Robinson’s silly insults that drove MLK III to come out swinging on Father’s Day. It’s his criticism of the larger civil rights movement that fundamentally changed life in the United States for African Americans.

Mark Robinson was born in Greensboro, NC, just eight years after the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins in that city helped spark widespread protests against racial segregation and, ultimately, led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited discrimination in public accommodations.

In a 2018 podcast interview, Robinson referred to the Woolworth’s sit-ins as “a ridiculous premise,” indicating the free market should have given Woolworth’s the freedom to deny access to African Americans and let the market decide.

In the same interview, Robinson went on to say that the civil rights movement resulted in so many freedoms being lost:

“So many things were lost during the Civil Rights Movement. So many freedoms were lost during the Civil Rights Movement. They shouldn’t have been lost.”

Mark Robinson has also attacked civil rights leader John Lewis, mocking the man who fought for African American voting rights for having his skull fractured by an Alabama state trooper during the Bloody Sunday Selma protest in 1965.

As we head toward a crucial election in November 2024, it’s important to keep the core values of Mark Robinson in this swing state front and center.

More than 20% of North Carolina’s residents are African American. They deserve to have leaders who are in tune with their needs. As Martin Luther King’s eldest son points out, Robinson’s values stand in “direct opposition” to those needs.

“Martin Luther King on steroids.” “Martin Luther King times two.” It’s an insult to my father’s and my family’s name. My father stood for peace, justice, and equity. The blatant bigotry that Robinson, Trump, and the far right have devoted themselves to promoting stands in direct opposition to what my father called “the beloved community,” a world built on peace and justice.

Let me be clear: My father would be gravely disappointed in Mark Robinson.

Disingenuous Republicans want to force overworked NC public school teachers to post all lesson plans online because indoctrination

*a shorter version of this article was first published by The Charlotte Observer*

The 2024 North Carolina General Assembly session has barely begun, and already Republican legislators whose favorite reelection campaign tactic is punching down on public schools are taking aim at our state’s long-suffering teachers.

Only weeks after the Department of Public Instruction released data showing North Carolina teachers are quitting in record numbers (1 in 9 resigned last school year), and just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week, four House members have filed a bill titled “Academic Transparency” which would force all teachers to post their lesson plans online with their names attached “no later than 10 days after the lesson was given.”


The bill’s primary sponsors are Jake Johnson of Polk County, Union County’s David Willis, Hugh Blackwell of Burke County and Allen Chesser from Nash County.

All four of these distinguished gentlemen have histories of fanning fake culture war flames and encouraging the public to distrust public schools because they believe it may help their chances at being reelected and holding on to power.

For example, here’s Representative Jake Johnson crowing about stamping out Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools (which actually took pretty minimal effort since it wasn’t really a thing):

Johnson neglected to tell voters that he made his campaign video flexing about this bill eight months after Governor Cooper vetoed it. Whoops!

In a statement about that veto, Cooper said “The legislature should be focused on supporting teachers, helping students recover lost learning, and investing in our public schools. Instead, this bill pushes calculated, conspiracy-laden politics into public education.”

David Willis of Union County was a founding member of Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson’s 2021 FACTS Task Force. FACTS was Robinson’s witch hunt to root out indoctrination in North Carolina’s schools by encouraging the public to file complaints about teachers online. Those complaints were then published with no substantiation or redaction.

(Side note: most of the submissions to the FACTS web portal were from people roasting Robinson over his obviously political stunt.)

When he’s not hunting witches, Willis is talking about how much he loves public school teachers, who he says “deserve our respect, our support, and need to be more highly valued.”

Know anyone who’s in a position to make that happen, Representative Willis?

Burke County Culture War Veteran Blackwell’s resume includes sponsoring a bill called “Equality in Education” last year which was crafted by ALEC and the Heritage Foundation.

House Bill 187 would restrict classroom discussions on race and sex–for example preventing any student from feeling discomfort or guilt about their race and specifically absolving them of responsibility for any actions carried out by their ancestors.

Representative Chesser’s campaign website celebrates the success of his efforts to ban indoctrination in North Carolina classrooms–which raises obvious questions about why he’s still fighting indoctrination in North Carolina classrooms (pssstt–It’s because there is no indoctrination in North Carolina classrooms, and this is simply a fake campaign issue to pitch to gullible voters).

North Carolina teachers are so used to serving as the punching bag for state Republicans like these four that this legislation doesn’t really qualify as front page news. But there are some real problems with the bill, apart from the fact that it’s driven by cynical politics rather than an actual need.

One is that it’s labor intensive. Teachers are currently so overworked due to having to cover for the extraordinary number of job vacancies (thanks, Republicans!) that this onerous requirement will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some. With record numbers of teachers leaving, we need our elected officials to focus on how to make the job more attractive rather than making it worse.

Secondly, many teachers spend hours developing their own supplementary materials due to the subpar curriculum they’re often saddled with. The materials they create are their intellectual property, and they deserve to have some control over who has access to it.

Another point to consider is that this burdensome requirement applies only to public schools but not to the private schools that Republicans are keen to pour billions of taxpayer voucher dollars into. Why should public schools be required to make their materials freely accessible to private schools that are already siphoning away our desperately-needed funding? Why not require private schools to do the same?

Finally, dropping a bill with “transparency” in the title at this moment is terrible timing–and I’m not talking about Teacher Appreciation Week.

Buried in last year’s budget bill was a provision that exempted state legislators from state public records law. The law gives legislators like the four who filed the Academic Transparency bill the power to determine if any documents produced while working on behalf of the people qualify as a public record and whether to retain or destroy it. This law shields them from having to post their “lesson plans” even after they’ve left office. So yeah, this bill stings a little more than the usual anti-public school legislation coming out of the North Carolina General Assembly because it’s just so damn hypocritical.

I’d bet my bottom dollar that the four House members who filed this bill don’t actually believe there is socialist indoctrination going on in North Carolina’s schools. This is nothing more than a lazy boogeyman campaign tactic by individuals who should be out there talking about the actual improvements they’re bringing to their districts in the way of things like more jobs, better health care, etc.

But for anyone who really DOES want to see what’s happening in North Carolina’s public schools, allow me to suggest that you come on down to one of them and offer to volunteer.

We could really use the help.

Republican running to lead NC’s diverse k-12 schools says “Islam is evil,” Muslims should be banned from elected office

The Republican nominee for North Carolina Superintendent for Public Instruction says “Islam is evil” and Muslims should be banned from holding elected office in the United States.

Michele Morrow pulled off a surprise upset in the March primary, defeating incumbent superintendent Catherine Truitt for the right to represent the Republican Party on November’s general election ballot. She’s a homeschool mother who calls public schools “socialism centers” and “indoctrination centers.” Her presence at the January 6 insurrection and calls for prominent Democrats to be executed have been well documented in the press.

Despite this appalling violent rhetoric and naked disdain for public schools, it’s Michele Morrow’s record on diversity that may be most disqualifying to her effort to lead all K-12 schools in an increasingly diverse state.

I’ve previously shared Morrow’s traumatic trip to Dollar Tree where she had a meltdown over hearing people speaking Spanish.

But Morrow’s intolerance for diversity extends to religious practices as well. She has stated publicly that Islam is evil and should be banned.

She has also called for Islam to be banned outright–not sure how that would work with the Constitution mandating “no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”–and she believes no Muslim should be permitted to run for public office.

Islam is practiced by nearly 2 billion people worldwide, and there are more than 130,000 Muslims in North Carolina alone. It’s safe to say the majority of those families send their children to our public schools.

The Superintendent of Public Instruction is responsible for leading and representing all of North Carolina’s students, not just the white Christian native speakers of English.

Imagine Superintendent Morrow visiting an elementary school and asking the students what they want to be when they grow up. She gets to a little girl wearing a hijab who answers “I’d like to be the first female president of the United States.” How would Morrow respond?

Which languages our students speak and what religions their families choose to practice are at the core of who they are as human beings. We need a superintendent who believes in our Constitution, who respects all of our students and will support them in following their dreams.

That’s not who Michele Morrow is.

On the other side of the ticket is Mo Green. Mr. Green has a long track record of support for education and has led in two of the three largest and most diverse school districts in North Carolina, as deputy superintendent, chief operating officer and general counsel in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and then as superintendent of Guilford County Schools.

You can find out about Green’s campaign here.

Extremist GOP candidate vying to lead NC’s diverse schools melts down over people speaking their native languages in public

If you haven’t yet gotten acquainted with North Carolina’s Republican candidate to lead all K-12 schools as our next superintendent, you are in for a rude awakening.

Michele Morrow pulled off the upset victory in this month’s Republican primary, defeating incumbent Catherine Truitt for the right to appear on November’s general election ballot. The unexpected news found a lot of people in North Carolina and across the nation scratching their heads and asking “Who is Michele Morrow?”

Morrow is a staunch critic of North Carolina’s public schools, which she calls “indoctrination centers,” and she homeschools her own children. She attended the Capitol insurrection on January 6, sharing video of herself at the event saying she was there at the request of Donald Trump “to take back America.”

Morrow regularly spouts QAnon conspiracy theories such as one that actor Jim Carrey drinks the blood of children. She calls Islam “evil” and says Muslims should be barred from holding elected office in the United States. She has publicly called for the executions of numerous Democrats including Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Ilhan Omar, Andrew Cuomo, Roy Cooper and Hilary Clinton. She suggested that Barack Obama be shot live on television as a money-making, pay-per-view event.

All of these positions are utterly indefensible, and it appears Morrow understands that’s the case as she recently deactivated the Twitter account she used to post her most violent and bizarre opinions.

But considering the position she is running for, it might be Morrow’s xenophobia that is the most disqualifying.

Morrow shared the video below in 2021 after a particularly traumatic visit to Dollar Tree. In the video she expresses her outrage after hearing four languages other than English while shopping at Dollar Tree, saying “I have never seen this many people that don’t speak English at one time in a Dollar Tree” and adding the unsubstantiated theory that they may have been “bused here from the border.” Morrow also throws in a little transphobia for good measure, saying there were men at the Dollar Tree who were “not dressed like men.”

She end-punctuates her rant with an oddly mismatched comment invoking “the hope of Jesus,” who I’m pretty sure didn’t speak English OR wear pants.

See for yourself:

Michele Morrow probably won’t be happy to hear this, but North Carolina’s public schools are quite diverse and becoming more so.

According to this year’s data, we have 162,778 English learners in our schools, representing an increase of 10% over last year. There are 389 languages spoken in homes across North Carolina, 267 just in Wake County where Morrow resides.

North Carolina ranks fifth in the nation for number of Dual Language Immersion programs. We also offer numerous full Language Immersion programs where children learn math, science and social studies all in another language, developing remarkable fluency in that language even before reaching middle school.

For example, students at Mecklenburg County’s K-8 South Academy of International Languages (SAIL) study French, Chinese, German or Japanese and have the option of adding Spanish in middle school. Many participate in school exchange programs with other countries where they are able to use the language skills they’ve acquired at SAIL, experience the richness of another culture, and build lifelong friendships with children on the other side of the world.

Like many North Carolinians, SAIL families recognize the ability to speak more than one language as a strength, not something to be feared or ridiculed. They embrace diversity as an opportunity to learn and better understand the perspectives of others. They understand that all of us are members of a global community.

The Department of Public Instruction, which Michele Morrow will lead if she wins the November election, currently shares that sentiment.

DPI’s official stance is that North Carolina’s language diversity “fosters mutual understanding” and provides a “rich multicultural tapestry within the state’s educational landscape.”

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Imagine how the Department of Public Instruction’s position could change with Morrow at the helm.

North Carolina’s public voucher dollars are funding Christian Nationalist indoctrination in schools

Shortly after he took over as North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor in 2021, current Republican candidate for governor Mark Robinson launched a task force to root out indoctrination in our public schools.

Robinson claimed indoctrination was a widespread problem and set up an online portal to solicit complaints about educators from the public.  The majority of the submissions Robinson received were from people who took issue with his politically-motivated witch hunt and saw an opportunity to roast him over it.

As for the actual complaints about educators, Robinson published those online without substantiating a single one and didn’t bother to redact names of educators or worksites.  Those complaints were dominated by white racial resentment (remember, this was at the height of the fake outrage over critical race theory) and included suggestions such as canceling Black History Month and not talking so much about slavery because it’s “getting old.”

In terms of actual indoctrination unearthed, Robinson’s witch hunt was a complete nothing burger.

Fast forward a couple of years to North Carolina’s Republican-controlled General Assembly flipping a legislator, stealing a supermajority, then tripling funding for school vouchers.

With billions of dollars now on tap for North Carolina’s private schools, and 88.2% of those dollars going to religious schools, scrutiny is rising over exactly what our taxes are supporting.

Private schools are legally able to discriminate against children, and many of North Carolina’s Christian schools deny admissions to students based on religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or learning disabilities.

For example, Fayetteville Christian School, which pocketed nearly $2 million in voucher dollars this school year, expressly bans students who practice specific religions like Islam and Buddhism, and they also bar LGBTQ+ students–whom they brand “perverted”–from attending.

North Raleigh Christian Academy won’t accept children with IQs below 90 and will not serve students who require IEPs (a document which outlines how a school will provide support to children with disabilities).

If this public funding of widespread discriminatory school practices rubs you the wrong way, I have bad news for you.

It gets worse.

That harmful indoctrination Mark Robinson was howling about a couple years ago in his disingenuous attempt to generate political momentum?  Turns out it’s real.  It just isn’t happening in the traditional public schools Robinson was targeting.

The Daniel Christian Academy is a private school in Concord, NC.  This school has received public dollars through school vouchers every year since Republicans launched the controversial Opportunity Scholarship voucher program in 2014-15 for a grand total of $585,776.

Daniel Academy’s mission is to “raise the next generation of leaders who will transform the heart of our nation” by equipping students “to enter the Seven Mountains of Influence.”

The Seven Mountains of Influence (also referred to as the Seven Mountains of Dominion or the Seven Mountains Mandate) refers to seven areas of society:  religion, family, education, government, media, arts & entertainment, and business.  Dominionists who follow this doctrine believe that they are mandated by God to control all seven of society’s “mountains,” and that doing so will trigger the end times.

The Seven Mountains philosophy has been around since the 70s, but it came to prominence about ten years ago with the publication of Lance Wallnau’s book Invading Babylon:  The Seven Mountains Mandate.  Wallnau touts himself as a consultant who “inspires visions of tomorrow with the clarity of today—connecting ideas to action,” and his book teaches that dominionists must “understand [their] role in society” and “release God’s will in [their] sphere of influence.”

Wallnau does caution his followers that messaging about taking control over all seven areas of society on behalf of God might freak out non dominionists, saying in 2011 that “If you’re talking to a secular audience, you don’t talk about having dominion over them. This … language of takeover, it doesn’t actually help.”

Daniel Academy doesn’t use that kind of inflammatory rhetoric about dominionism in public, although it’s clear the Seven Mountains are behind their stated goal of raising “the next generation of leaders who will transform the heart of our nation.”

Nicole Barnes, Daniel Academy’s Dean of Administration & Spiritual Development, confirmed by email that Wallnau’s doctrine is at the center of its approach to the Seven Mountains, telling me “As a school we have taken the 7 Mountains of Influence, teaching by Lance Wallnau, and have broken it down for the students to comprehend.”

So why should North Carolinians care that their tax dollars are subsidizing this sort of indoctrination of children through private school vouchers?

I posed that question to Frederick Clarkson, a research analyst who has studied the confluence of politics and religion for more than three decades and lately has been focusing on the violent underbelly of Christian nationalists who want to achieve Christian dominion of the United States at all costs.  Here’s what Clarkson said:

North Carolina taxpayers should be concerned that they are helping to underwrite an academy for training children to become  warriors against not only the rights of others, but against democracy and its institutions.  The idea of the Seven Mountain Mandate is for Christians of the right sort to take dominion — which is to say power and influence — over the most important sectors of society. It is theocratic in orientation and its vision is forever. 

This is not something that is about liberals and conservatives . Most Christians including most evangelicals, Catholics, and mainline Protestants are deemed not just insufficiently Christian, but may be viewed as infested with demons, and standing in the way of the advancement of the Kingdom of God on Earth. And they will need to be dealt with.

Back in 2021, when Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson released his nothing burger of a report on indoctrination in public schools, he said it was his “attempt to stop the abuse of the teaching profession by a few who are using that profession to put undue pressure on young minds,” adding that students don’t come to school to be indoctrinated and “this is about ending that.”

Robinson recently won his primary race for governor and stands a decent chance of taking over North Carolina’s office next year.  Since North Carolina voters deserve a clear understanding of what our candidates stand for, now would be a great time for Robinson to reiterate that he believes the use of public dollars to support indoctrination is wrong, and that if schools want to influence students to be warriors for God fighting to control every facet of society–possibly taking out some demon-infested folks along the way–they need to do so on their own dime.

We’re waiting, Lieutenant Governor Robinson.

Extremist Republican candidate for NC Superintendent went to Capitol on January 6 “to take back America”

If you hear her tell it, North Carolina’s extreme right wing Republican candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction didn’t really go to the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to participate in an insurrection. Rather, Morrow, who home schools her kids, said in a candidate forum during her 2022 failed run for Wake County school board that she wanted to teach her children “a lesson about citizens’ role in a democracy.”

You know, kind of like a homeschool field trip.

But the video Morrow shot that day paints a very different picture. In it, Morrow says she’s doing this “because our president asked us to come,” adding “We are here to take back America. We are here to stop the steal. We are here to ensure President Trump gets four more years.”

Take a look for yourself:

Morrow upset Republican incumbent Catherine Truitt in Tuesday’s primary. She will face Democrat Mo Green in November’s general election to determine who’s in charge of K-12 education in North Carolina.

NC Republican voter says a woman shouldn’t be president because “she got no balls to scratch”

A North Carolina Republican voter told NBC news today that a woman should not be president of the United States because “she got no balls to scratch.”

Interviewed in the Alamance County town of Graham, Trump primary voter Emmett Martin added “All women’s good for in my book is having babies and taking care of the house.”

It’s a measure of how low our public discourse has sunk when a guy like Emmett Martin has no qualms voicing his abhorrent sexist views on national television. And there are plenty of MAGA Republican voters in NC who would applaud him for it.

In the 2020 presidential election, serial misogynist and sex predator Donald Trump won North Carolina by a margin of 49.9% to 48.6%, fewer than 75k more than Joe Biden. This year his protege Mark Robinson, himself with a long history of demeaning women, is running for North Carolina governor.

It’s going to take a whole lot of motivated people working hard to defeat them. Martin’s reprehensible comments add fuel to the fire.

NC church whose pastor says women that wear shorts invite rape has received millions in public tax dollars for school vouchers

A Union County pastor is under fire for saying from the pulpit that he would not convict a rapist if his victim were wearing shorts. And if you’re a taxpayer in North Carolina, you are funding his organization.

Bobby Leonard started Bible Tabernacle Church in Monroe, NC in 1970. This week a clip of an August 2023 sermon by Leonard was shared on Twitter by @BadSermons:

“If you dress like that and you get raped, and I’m on the jury, he’s gonna go free…I can’t help if you don’t like it, I’m right. Cause, y’know, a man’s a man. A man’s a man.”

Under the leadership of Bobby Leonard, Bible Tabernacle Church opened a private school called Tabernacle Christian School in 1972. This school receives public tax dollars via the Opportunity Scholarship school voucher program which was created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2014.

Tabernacle Christian School has received voucher dollars every school year since 2014-15 for a grand total of $3,649,766 in public taxpayer funds (that data available here).

In the past two years alone, Bobby Leonard’s organization has received nearly $2,000,000 ($902,315 in 2023-24 and $923,328 in 2022-23).

In 2023 North Carolina’s state legislature achieved a veto-proof supermajority by flipping a legislator, then tripled funding for school vouchers, the vast majority of which to go private religious schools. By 2031 more than half a billion dollars a year in public funding will be going to these organizations.

I would venture to say that the vast majority of North Carolinians would prefer NOT to have their hard-earned tax dollars subsidizing institutions that espouse hateful and violent philosophies like Bobby Leonard’s.

Unfortunately, private schools are legally permitted to discriminate against students based on factors like religious beliefs and sexual orientation, even when they’re receiving public funding.

And discriminate they do.

This voucher-receiving school in Fayetteville, NC specifically bans “Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, non Messianic Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists” and refers to homosexuality as “deviate [sic] and perverted.”

Freedom Christian, also in Fayetteville, only takes students whose parents have a “vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ” and who demonstrate “a desire to learn.” It’s unclear whether Freedom Christian uses a rubric to objectively measure the vibrance of that relationship.

If the notion of your money ending up in the pockets of Bobby Leonard or any of these other institutions that discriminates against children makes your skin crawl, please be ready to channel that energy into electing pro-public education candidates in 2024.

That’s our only way out of this nightmare.

NC Superintendent Truitt once vowed to oppose voucher expansion, now publicly celebrates their tripling

This week was School Choice Week, a nationwide event dreamed up by a nonprofit whose stated mission is to “advance positive school choice messaging across the nation.”

Joining in North Carolina’s celebration was a jubilant Senator Phil Berger, still grinning about how his stolen supermajority this past session ensured Governor Cooper couldn’t veto terrible Republican policies. Another featured speaker at the event was State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt.

The party on Halifax Mall revolved around recent changes in school voucher law in North Carolina. Those changes include tripling existing funding of vouchers which primarily go to private religious schools as well as the elimination of eligibility requirements for voucher recipients.

Prior to the change in law, vouchers were only available for families who demonstrated financial need and whose children had attended public schools or were entering K, 1st or 2nd grade. The new law allows anyone to receive voucher money regardless of their family’s income and regardless of where they’ve gone to school.

That means taxpayers are now forced to subsidize private school tuition for North Carolina’s wealthiest families, even those who have never considered sending their children to traditional public schools and never would.

The private schools that NC taxpayers are supporting are legally able to discriminate against children. Many of them refuse admission to non-Christians or LGBTQ+ individuals.

A lot of the voucher-receiving schools also refuse to accept students with learning disabilities.

The massive increase in school voucher funding means that, by the year 2031, North Carolina will be diverting more than a half billion dollars a year to vouchers.

That’s funding our crumbling traditional public schools sorely need.

According to North Carolina’s Office for State Budget and Management, the changes in voucher law could drain 8% of public school funding if just half of the new vouchers go to students who currently attend public schools.

What kind of education leader would celebrate the schools that the vast majority of our students attend losing funding at a time when those schools are struggling mightly after a decade plus of Republican policies?

The answer to that question is State Superintendent Catherine Truitt.

But it didn’t used to be.

In 2020, when she was running against then-Representative Craig Horn in the primary for superintendent, Truitt promised that she would oppose any attempts by state legislators to expand funding of school vouchers.

Fast forward to the present.

Now Truitt is superintendent, running for reelection in a party whose bosses can decide whether they want to help fund her campaign.

Truitt did not utter a protest peep this summer when expansion of voucher funding was in draft form. And now she’s out there pounding metaphorical coffin nails into traditional public schools with Senator Phil Berger, the man who has ironclad control of the Republican machine in North Carolina.

North Carolina schools need a leader who will fight for our needs, not a flip flopper who cheers our demise. Not someone who celebrates discrimination against children or helps move our education system toward privatization of a human right.

In other words, in 2024 we need to elect a new State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Alleged campaign finance crimes haunt North Carolina’s Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Mark Robinson

North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson is no stranger to financial struggles.  

Since he was elected in 2020, news has emerged about Robinson being evicted for not paying rent (his elderly landlord decided against pursuing the case, partly because he was busy caring for his wife who was ill with cancer).  

We’ve also learned that Robinson stiffed Guilford County on vehicle taxes for multiple years, only making good after WRAL called him out on it in 2022.  (Robinson’s lame response was “I’m not very good at math,” as if complex calculations are required to know that the law requires North Carolina residents to pay taxes on an annual basis.)

Part of Robinson’s appeal to voters is his down-to-earth image, and I’m sure plenty of his supporters and detractors alike can relate to the problem of more month than money.

But how many of us can relate to criminal violations of campaign finance law?

This week those allegations surfaced in the form of an open letter to Mark Robinson by veteran political watchdog Bob Hall.

The story actually goes back to a complaint Hall filed with North Carolina’s State Board of Elections about a month after Robinson was inaugurated Lieutenant Governor in 2021. 

Hall had been tipped off by a News and Observer reporter and asked to look into some odd expenses that had been filed by Robinson’s campaign.  What Hall discovered amounted to more than a half million dollars of what he termed “criminal violations” of campaign finance law.

Here are some highlights:

Illegal cash withdrawals deposited to State Employees Credit Union where separate records show Robinson had a personal loan

$4500 to Robinson’s wife Yolanda Hill for “campaign apparel”

$2375 to Lake Gaston Outfitters for “campaign clothing and accessories.”  Lake Gaston Outfitters bills itself as offering “high quality paddle, hiking & cycling gear.”  

$12,000 in illegal contributions from out of state PACs and organizations not authorized to donate in North Carolina

Illegal donations over the campaign limit of $5400 from which the excess amounts were not refunded to donors as law required

Failure to properly identify 258 donors (totalling $360,000 in donations) 

There’s more.  A lot more.

After Hall’s complaint was filed, a Robinson campaign staffer said “We are transitioning to new staff, and our team is in the process of working with the NCSBE to fix any and all mistakes, and to amend our reports to be accurate and up to date.”

Hall’s open letter notes Robinson promised the “clerical errors” would be fixed “quick, fast and in a hurry.”  Now almost three years after he assumed office, exactly zero amended reports have been filed.  The State Board of Elections investigation is presumably still moving along at a glacial pace.

And Mark Robinson is in the middle of a campaign to assume the highest office in North Carolina, our next governor.

You can read Bob Hall’s complaint filed with the State Board of Elections below: