Courage in Government?

Dear Joe Hackney,

You are the person who represents me in the NC House of Representatives, which means I pay special attention to what you do in Raleigh – and what you don’t do. And since I’ve voted for you every time you've run, I feel some responsibility for you being elected. Today I was reading your website and I found this listing of some of your recent accomplishments.

4.14.2006 - Awarded "Political Leader of the Year" by the Carolina Recycling Association, for NC and SC, for pushing through recycling legislation in the 2005 session

12.16.2005 - Joe Hackney to Lead Study Commissions. Several study commissions have been established to study issues between legislative sessions and make recommendations. Rep. Hackney will be Co-Chairing three of them:

1. Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change, co-chaired with John Garrou of Winston-Salem.
2. House Select Study on Capital Punishment, co-chaired with Rep. Beverly Earle of Mecklenburg.
3. House Select Committee on Ethics and Government Reform , co-chaired with Rep. Julia Howard of Davie.

11.12.2005 - The North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying Reform awards Rep. Joe Hackney and Sen. Tony Rand their Plott Hound Award for "Courage in Government".

Though this is only a sampling of your many successes, I would like to call your attention to the three items I’ve bold-faced. Political Leader of the Year. Courage in Government. The House Select Committee on Ethics and Government Reform. Three impressive honors by almost any standard. Which raises these questions:

Why have you remained publicly silent on the swirl of ethical problems involving Jim Black?

Why haven’t you stepped up as a leader, as a representative of your constituents in Orange, Moore and Chatham Counties and demanded a higher standard from your colleagues in the state legislature?

Why are you condoning business as usual – a pay-to-play culture in the NC House that is an affront to honesty, integrity, fairness and the common good?

Why are you just going along?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m missing all the strong positions you’re taking for We the People. Maybe you’re working behind the scenes to make a change that makes a difference. Maybe you have a master plan to stand for integrity and honor in our government. But it sure doesn’t look like it from out here.

You’re one of the few people with the stature and relationships to drive a dramatic shift in how our government does business. I can’t speak for Chatham and Moore Counties, but I can guaran-damn-tee you that Orange County is not very happy with the sad state of our state legislature. What’s more, we’re also worried that the wink-and-a-nod approach to Black’s ethical problems puts Democratic control of the state legislature at risk. Art Pope’s corporate money is funding campaigns to spread the word that North Carolina Democrats are just as bad as Washington Republicans, which is an insult that carries the ring of truth.

You’re in a position to say he’s wrong. You’re in a position to go public on the need for a new Speaker. You’re in a position to demonstrate that the Democrats aren’t just another corrupt bunch of power-hungry good old boys. You’re in a position to restore integrity to the Democratic party in North Carolina by forcing a clean sweep of our leadership.

Maybe I’m over-estimating your influence. But whether I am or not, I still expect you to try.


Rep. Hackney

I am also a resident of your district, and I concur that I expected more of you. You seem to be a man of good standing in the legislature and one would think your word would carry some weight. Given that, and a lack of public comments otherwise, one can only assume that you did not fight to remove Jim Black from his position as speaker.

That, in many ways, negates all other positives. It is how a person reacts when their position is right but unpopular with their friends that defines them. Which is a lesson I feel all of our country's Democrats could stand to learn.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.


Almost everytime you write something, I wish I had said the same thing. This cuts to the heart of integrity . . . doing the right thing even when it's unpopular with friends. Guess that's a lost quality in politics these days.


I sent this to Joe's NCLeg email using the handy-dandy "take action" button in the "quick links" at the left. Hope you'll do the same. I don't guess he comes around here all that much now that all the horse-trading and back-room politickin' has started up in Raliegh.

Have we given up on this?

I know it's easy to get resigned (though it's hard to get Blackk to resign) about all this crap. Am I beating a dead horse?