It usually takes a fancy event or a funeral for all five of North Carolina’s living former governors to convene.
On Monday, they congregated at the old Capitol in downtown Raleigh to warn voters about a pair of proposed constitutional amendments that would weaken the governor’s office and shift power to the legislature. The proposals are two of six amendments scheduled for the ballot this fall.
One of them would limit the governor’s authority to fill judicial vacancies. The other would grant the legislature — not the governor — the ability to set up a new state elections board and make appointments to state boards and commissions that have historically been made by the governor.
Reporters from across the state huddled behind antique desks in the former House chambers as former governors Pat McCrory, Bev Perdue, Mike Easley, Jim Hunt and Jim Martin stood shoulder-to-shoulder behind a podium. Republicans Martin and McCrory offered some of the sharpest criticisms of the amendments’ Republican authors.
Martin called the gathering “unprecedented” and referred to the amendments as “a scheme” that threatens the balance of political power, adding “it’s embarrassing to me” that the GOP crafted them.
“It’s not about partisan politics, it’s about power politics,” Martin said. “And it must be stopped.”
Legislators who want the governor’s powers should have “the courage” to run for governor, McCrory said, adding: ”Earn it. Don’t hijack our constitution.”