ALBEMARLE — On Monday night, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution rebuking Gov. Roy Cooper for Charlotte’s loss of the Republican National Convention this August.
President Donald Trump announced on June 3 that this year’s convention will find a new city to call home — even after two years of preparation — because of Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions on the proposed event. While the governor has talked about negotiating a scaled-down event, the president and RNC have insisted that nothing less than a full convention is acceptable.
The board’s resolution says that “other states are using similar science and data metrics to make informed decisions regarding COVID-19, but these states have determined it is safe to host the RNC. Thus, it is apparent Gov. Cooper is making a political statement instead of an informed economic and business friendly decision.”
The Stanly County commissioners estimated that the loss of the RNC will take away at least $135,000 from the county’s economy: $85,000 from the Stanly County Airport and $50,000 from the Sheriff’s Department.
“In local government, this is our voice. We have no other way of showing our governor where we stand on this,” said Vice Chairman Ashley Morgan, who proposed the resolution to the board. “In my opinion, he’s shown a lack of leadership with COVID-19 and now losing the RNC. He’s a follower — he’s not a leader… here we are trying to come out of this pandemic, and we need all the hospitality and tourism we can. And he’s saying ‘no, we’re not open for business.’”
Chairman Matthew Swain confirmed that after talking with state officials, a sum of $50,000 that was slated to fund new bulletproof vests for county deputies is no longer on the table due to the state’s financial setbacks pertaining to the loss of the RNC.
“I do participate in partisan politics, but if we were getting ready to lose $135,000 — even if it was the DNC — we’d still pass a resolution to this governor,” Swain said.
Commissioner Zach Almond said that the entire state will suffer because of Cooper’s insistence on limiting the scope of the convention, which resulted in its removal altogether.
“Gov. Cooper continues to put political partisanship in front of hard-working North Carolinians, and we’re tired of it,” Almond said. “They booked 17,000 hotel rooms averaging $500-$700 a night, and that’s just what the RNC booked. I don’t think the citizens of Stanly County realize the gravity of what Gov. Cooper has done to our local economy, especially being in the Charlotte metro area. I agree with Commissioner Morgan’s resolution and I think it’s time we stand up to Gov. Cooper and tell him that it’s time to stop playing partisan games.”
Commissioner Tommy Jordan, while apprehensive of the board acting as a voice of any particular political party, said this current situation transcends political ideology simply due to the economic ramifications that will occur.
“We’re here to serve everyone, but I do think the governor’s actions harm everyone,” Jordan said. “The results from this decision are going to be financially bad for everyone.”