Politics & Government

Gov. Cooper rescinds Charlotte city councilwoman’s appointment after Senate GOP protest

Bowing to a request from Senate Republicans, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday rescinded the appointment of Charlotte City Council member LaWana Mayfield to a state commission.

“The important work of the North Carolina Human Relations Commission needs to continue without distraction from its mission,” William McKinney, the governor’s counsel, wrote Mayfield.

All 29 Senate Republicans Tuesday asked Cooper to withdraw the appointment of Mayfield, a Democrat who once compared police to “homegrown terrorists.”

Mayfield could not be reached Wednesday.

In their letter to Cooper, the GOP senators cited a tweet Mayfield wrote last year. “Being Black in America under #45 (Donald Trump) has created homegrown terrorist [sic] wearing blue uniforms,” she tweeted.

“Do you agree that this type of violent, hateful rhetoric has no place in our political discourse, and certainly not on a commission that is intended to promote equality and justice in governmental services?” the senators wrote. “. . . Your elevation of Council Member Mayfield to this commission raises questions about your administration’s stance toward law enforcement.”

In their letter, the senators cited a recent Charlotte Observer editorial that said Cooper should not “look the other way” on the matter.

“We’re glad the governor recognized the danger of those kinds of viewpoints. Police officers risk their lives to protect us; they’re not terrorists,” Bill D’Elia, a spokesman for GOP Senate Leader Phil Berger, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the LGBTQ Victory Institute, a Washington-based group that supports LGBTQ elected officials, released a statement Thursday morning criticizing Cooper.

“We are extremely disappointed Gov. Cooper took the important step of appointing a Black LGBTQ woman to the Human Relations Commission and then rescinded it due to pressure from the architects of HB2,” the group said. “Councilwoman Mayfield is a tireless fighter for the underserved communities the commission is meant to protect and her perspective and lived experience would be invaluable.”

Mayfield, who represents a west Charlotte district, has said she is running for an at-large seat this year.

Jim Morrill, who grew up near Chicago, covers state and local politics. He’s worked at the Observer since 1981 and taught courses on North Carolina politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College.