Alamance NAACP to Picket at the Burlington Maxway on Monday Dec. 16th

The Alamance NAACP is joining a statewide effort to bring attention to the business practices and the political priorities of our State Budget Director Art Pope. We will lead an informational picket at his company’s Maxway location at 508 N Church St, in Burlington on Monday December 16th, at 4:00 pm. Art Pope also owns the Roses at 2236 N. Church St.

We are leading this informational picket of Art Pope’s businesses to bring attention to the fact that he has used profits from his family’s business to become the overwhelming state leader in political spending and influence. As is often the case with those who use their money to buy influence over the political process, Art Pope would rather his customers not know the politicians and policies he supports with their money.

He would rather they not know he is using their money to help deny 8,000 people in Alamance County healthcare.  He would rather them not know he is using their money to help raise taxes on 70,800 working people in Alamance county, by $7.3 million, by ending the state Earned Income Tax Credit. He would rather them not know he is using their money to help deprive unemployment insurance to 2,600 more people in Alamance County by year’s end. He would rather them not know he is using their money to help cut millions of dollars in funding for education, environmental protection, mental health, voting access, and labor protections in Alamance County.

To obscure the money trail, he has created an elaborate network of institutions to funnel $3.5 million into NC state elections in 2010 and 2012. This is on top of $450,000 of family money given directly in that same period. To put those numbers in perspective, in the 2010 NC state election cycle, his organizations contributed three quarters of all outside spending, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in Alamance County.

His foundations also provide 85% of the funding for The John Locke Foundation (which contributes a regular column to the Times-News), The Civitas Institute, and the Pope Center For Higher Education. These organizations have been instrumental in promoting his political vision throughout the state through media, policy creation, and special interest political coordination that has resulted in the extreme gerrymandering of our legislative districts, the politicization our judicial system, and an increase in political spending limits and a decrease in spending transparency.  This is a vision that hurts the very people who support his business.

So in this season of compassion, the Alamance NAACP hopes that by informing Art Pope’s customers of the way their money is spent, we can have some influence as well. This is not a boycott. We understand the important role his stores play in their community. Rather we are hoping to encourage Art Pope’s sense of responsibility to the customers who have supported his business and the employees who have ensured his success. We hope he will use his company’s profits to enable his employees to support their families and not have to rely on public assistance to compensate for low wages and limited benefits. We hope he will use his positions of influence as the State Budget Director and one of our state’s most successful business people to support the future success of all North Carolinians.

Noah Read

Alamance NAACP Political Action Chair

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