Commentary

State House member to constituents: Spare members from voting on controversial measures

Chuck McGrady

Rep. Chuck McGrady

You have to wonder what was going through Rep. Chuck McGrady’s head the other day when he was composing his latest newsletter for his constituents in House District 117.

McGrady, who has a reputation as a relative moderate in the House GOP caucus, devoted the newsletter to a survey of the conservative social agenda bills making their way through the General Assembly. (As an aside, it’s probably worth noting that, after trying to explain the competing views of each issue in rather sober terms, McGrady ends up noting how he supports the right-wing position on virtually every issue).

The most interesting passage in the newsletter, however, comes toward the very end when, in giving his take on a controversial immigration-related bill, the Henderson County lawmaker concludes this way:

“My guess is this bill has sufficient support to pass the House, but wouldn’t move until it is clear that the Senate will take it up. There is no reason to force Members to vote on a controversial matter if there is no chance that the other chamber will take up the bill.” (Emphasis supplied).

To which all most constituent would probably say in reply is: “Say what? Is this a constituent newsletter or a strategy document for other politicians?”

Why in the world would an elected official tell his constituents that he shouldn’t have to vote on a controversial matter because members of another house in the legislature may not follow suit? Sure, such a conclusion is common, inside-the-beltline, political consultant’s wisdom, but it seems an exceedingly odd public admission to make to those who one represents. After all, one would presume that most voters send their legislators to Raleigh precisely for the purpose of voting on controversial measures, not to look for reasons to avoid such votes — much less to cop excuses based on insider political advice in one’s weekly newsletter.

One Comment


  1. Rob Schofield

    June 9, 2015 at 11:04 am

    A friend suggests that at least McGrady is being refreshingly candid. Maybe. Will be interesting to see if anyone in his district is paying attention.

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