Rep. Graig Meyer from Orange County has over the past three years gained a tremendous amount of respect from me, not only as an educator, but as a voter.
I had the pleasure of meeting him one time at a press conference at NCAE headquarters. Rodney Ellis and Mark Jewell had organized a day of peaceful protest and speeches and Rep. Meyer and Rep. Larry Hall were the only two members of the General Assembly to accept their invitation to join us at that time. I met the Rev. William Barber that day as well.
Rep. Meyer was gracious, willing, attentive, and engaging. You could tell he had the “teacher gene” in him.
And what he did today on West Jones Street was what makes him a leader and true representative of North Carolinians.
Standing on a planter in the lobby amongst a crowd of protesters, Meyer gave a “pep talk” to those practicing their constitutional rights to gather and protest a special session that was not in the best interest of the state.
He literally was giving power back to the very people he represents directly in his district and works for in this state. He was doing the exact opposite of what other GOP NCGA members were doing in the chambers all day.
Rep. Meyer talked about engaging others in the community, organizing voter drives, making sure others understand that what was happening in the General Assembly does not have to be tolerated and should not be tolerated. And could be changed with time and effort.
He talked about tomorrows, not just today. And while he may have sounded like he conceded that the republicans may have “won” the day, he made sure to communicate that they will have to answer in both the court system and at the ballot box, ironically in 2017.
If you are looking for a bright spot today, there were many that I could see from my perch here in Winston-Salem.
- People showed up to protest.
- There was lots of press coverage – both locally and nationally.
- This battle is more than just about what happened today.
- People are galvanizing.
And we have representatives like Graig Meyer stepping up and helping lead.