With Jim Black gone from the scene, a serious look at the reaction of Democratic Party officials across the state must be made. Throughout this scandal, Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek, Governor Mike Easley, Lt. Gov. Bev Purdue, and the rest of the Demcrats on the Council of State refused to ask Black to step aside. Often times, these individuals used a very short measuring stick when asked about Black's political troubles brushing them off by saying, "he has done nothing illegal."
As Democrats, I am proud of our party's tradition of standing up to public corruption by seeking to uphold the trust people have placed in their elected officials. Sadly, North Carolina Democrats and their elected leaders within the party and public realm failed to act during Black's troubles, tarnishing the image of "the party of reform."
Why was the party leadership so silent on Black? Maybe it is because this powerful Speaker of the House controlled the purse strings that funded many a campaign. If so, this further advances the calls for serious reform in legislative rules of the general assembly, public elections and lobbying in the state.
In the future, I ask that the Democratic Party take notice and rid themselves of individuals who can only polute the atmosphere of what our organization believes fundamental to the preservation of our republic.
I hope today's announcement and the eventual sentencing of Jim Black will put politicians on notice that when they betray the trust of the voters, they too will be punished.