At about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, the Raleigh News and Observer posted an announcement that strongman Majority Leader and NC Senator Tony Rand (D-Cumberland), was stepping down from the North Carolina General Assembly. With the Easley trials just behind us, is something about to come out about Tony Rand?
Rand, often known to rule with an iron fist, kept his fellow Democrats in lockstep. According to NC Senators who served with Rand, he ruled by keeping both Republicans and Democrats in fear of losing their seats.
NC Senators may have run on principles and ideals, but once elected, sources tell KCC, Rand and President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, let them know that they were to vote for them for Majority Leader and President Pro Tempore, respectively. In fact, the least powerful person in the State Senate was a freshman Democrat. The two also instructed them how to vote on nearly every key vote.
Rand was elected to the NC Senate in 1981 and later became the Senate Majority leader. Together, he and Basnight have run a Senate where even Republicans were afraid to vote against them for their positions, as they knew that they would be targeted for defeat in the following election. This has frustrated your blogger, as we'd rather see people stand up for what is right, than to sit by quietly just so they can hold onto their positions!
The fact that Senate Republicans never voted for a Republican for Senate Pro Tempore, even in the spirit of party unity, disgusts your blogger. Sure, they couldn't win, being in the minority, but KCC hated to see the men and women we worked so hard to elect, act like a bunch of spineless jellyfish.
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
— Dietrich Bonhoefferr
Two senators did vote against Marc Basnight for Speaker Pro Tempore and showed they were not afraid. Former Senators Fern Shubert (R-Union) and Hugh Webster (R-Cabarrus) refused to cave in to the pressures. Both were indeed defeated in the following election. The senators knew what they were facing, but dared to stand up!
Later, in 2007, former Senator Webster threw his hat in the ring for the 13th District Congressional race, running against liberal incumbant Brad Miller in the 2008 election cycle.
He told your blogger that deep down, he knew he couldn't win, but his job was to "draw fire" for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole. He wanted to force the Democrats to spend money defeating him, making it a little easier for Dole.
At the time, it seemed that Dole had a "walk in the park race" against a little known state senator. (Dole lost and the little known who became U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC).
Because he dared to run against Brad Miller, Webster believes that lead to the trumped up charges brought up against him by his aunt (along with Democrat help) regarding embezzlement. Webster refused to settle out-of-court, as that would force him to admit guilt. He knew he was not guilty.
The case finally went to trial this past summer. Webster was up on felony charges and was willing to serve prison time rather than admit guilt to a crime he did not commit.
In August, the Granville County court agreed with Hugh Webster, and he walked out a free man, acquitted. Afterwards, he told your blogger, "they had no case."
The case received very little attention from the major media. Why would it? Does anyone really want to know the truth about how corrupt their NC Legislature is? Do they want to know how things are really run?
According to news sources, Rand now will become chairman of the State Parole Board.
Frank Rouse, a long time player in North Carolina politics and a former North Carolina Republican Party chairman, told KCC Wednesday evening, that he felt that "something fishy must be up" for Rand to "accept a lower position" than the one he held in the State Senate. Your blogger completely agrees.
We shall see how it all plays out. Meanwhile, the Raleigh News and Observer quotes Rand as saying "There comes a time when it's time to go."
As to who will move into the Majority Leader's chair, the NC Senate Democrat caucus will have to work that out. Meanwhile, the Cumberland County Democrat Party will choose someone to fill Rand's unexpired term. That person would stand for election after the 2010 short session.
Your blogger will continue watching and reporting on this story. There is much more to come.
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