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Election notebook — 3-27-24

First thoughts — Thank you Michael Wray for your service in the state House.

You became seasoned in the art of the negotiation, you gained seniority and the Roanoke Valley and Roanoke-Chowan areas reaped the benefits of your stature.

A note on the former Roanoke Rapids Theatre was paid off.

Local fire departments saw huge rewards.

Local municipalities saw critical infrastructure come their way — funds they might not have seen if you had just idly sat by.

Thank you.

It was said you could help out a constituent with one simple phone call and the problem was solved.

You helped ease the burden our healthcare systems felt by being a champion for Medicaid expansion.

As some of the hardline red-blooded GOP’ers have said on our own social media page and the dyed in the wool blue-blooded Democrats the same, it was to them easy money.

We’d beg to differ. 

It was money brought to this area from being able to gain the trust of your colleagues and reach across the table much to the chagrin of those suffering from the malady of straight party tunnel vision.

You took the right approach after losing a hard-fought contest by the slimmest of margins. Those complaining you should have let it go would have done the same. We would have done the same.

Don’t sulk as your term slowly comes to an end. 

Keep fighting for that legislation that could land a casino in the Carolina Crossroads Music and Entertainment District. Keep fighting for the betterment of our state, our Roanoke Valley and our neighbors in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Thank you.

Second thoughts — Congratulations Representative-elect Rodney Pierce.

Rodney is a friend. We met when we worked at the paper together.

He will tell you there was a group of us there who knew in the swamp of micromanagement the chances for advancement were slim and we encouraged him to complete his educational track.

It wasn’t as some person so snidely asked me in the hallway during a board of elections meeting if it was because we didn’t want him there — it was because we knew he had a brilliant mind.

He has shown us that throughout his teaching career, the awards he has won and some of the almost lost history he has helped us remember, especially the history of a landmark civil rights case that happened here — the Keys versus Carolina Coach Company argument.

Thank you.

We expect you to work for us in Raleigh. 

We know that first term won’t be easy and the only advice we could even think to offer you is not to develop that malady known as straight party tunnel vision.

We appreciate your idealism and don’t want you to compromise your values, but please remember, if it can help our area in the long run, be open, even if it means looking across the table.

Third thoughts — I am not a racist because I don’t support Mark Robinson for governor, something that was said to me by a person of my own race. 

My reply was I’m a pragmatist because I don’t support our Republican in Name Only lieutenant governor.

We won’t get into endorsements, but I suppose the above statement serves as one, so you know which oval my pen will darken in November.

We interviewed Josh Stein nearly seven years ago before he spoke at Halifax Community College’s commencement exercises.

It was at a time when a drug called fentanyl was just beginning to grip its Grim Reaper claws around our state. He answered our questions with candor, he answered our questions with knowledge and he answered them as a professional who works closely with those touched by this epidemic.

And well, we heard Robinson speak nearly four years ago and, well, if you wanted to hear someone talk about how they’re going to spread bullets in your behind as you run away — which is contrary to the principles of the castle doctrine — well, enough said there. We weren’t at a gun rally when we heard him speak. We were at a rally for reopening gyms in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fourth thoughts — Honestly, we would have liked to have seen the protests of the four candidates in Halifax County be approved so in a judicial setting the matter of premarked sample ballots could have been raised.

While the claim was made by the four candidates that a polling official was saying a blue ballot was illegal, it is our opinion that premarked sample ballots, be they white, green, purple or salmon, should be prevented from being hawked at polling places altogether.

We noticed at the Neighborhood Resource Center there were copies of the official ballots posted on the wall.

To our way of thinking, that should be enough, instead of premarked ones being forced upon voters as they tread the dangerous waters of one candidate or the other’s poll workers.

It’s insulting, it’s demeaning and in our estimation unethical.

We’ll save our opinion on candidate poll workers for another day. 

Just know at the Neighborhood Resource Center on Jackson Street you can park on the side of the street and go directly inside the polling place without encountering the bloodthirsty candidate poll workers who prowl the parking lot.

Final thoughts — By the November election I will have taken another trip around the sun and looking back at my previous trips around the sun, I’ve learned I don’t have much patience for politics and politicians any longer or even the choices waiting in the wings to become our future national leaders.

Perhaps that will change and get better or perhaps it will change and get worse. 

But I can only speak for myself that I will continue circling the little oval or as I’ve done in the past write in the name of the person I feel would be the best person for the job without the aid of a premarked sample ballot, listening to RINO rhetoric spewed at the wrong time and place or through the fever-pitched hallucinations caused by the malady of straight party tunnel vision — Lance Martin