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Representative Kidwell Tells a Whopper
'Unanimous vote' shuts out School Board & parents
April 6, 2023

t the April 3rd Pamlico County Commissioner’s Meeting, more than 100 residents turned up to voice their complaints at a resolution passed by the Board in November.

Representative Keith Kidwell
Representative Keith Kidwell
The resolution was to request partisan elections for Pamlico County’s Board of Education (for decades they have been non-partisan). The vote passed 4-3, Commissioners Missy Baskervill, Kari Forrest, Candy Bohmert, and Doug Brinson voting in favor of it. Commissioners Edward Riggs Jr, Pat Prescott, and Carl Ollison voted against it.

Residents said they had not known of the measure until recently – after it had already passed through the House as bill HB 179, and was in the Senate awaiting further action.

During Monday night’s meeting, it was stated that Representative Keith Kidwell, the initial sponsor for the bill, misrepresented support for the bill during his testimony in Committee.

TownDock requested the audio of the House Committee Meeting from the North Carolina Legislative Library. In the audio, you’ll hear Kidwell announce that the bill had unanimous support from the Pamlico County Board, starkly different from reality.

The actual vote was 4-3. He further suggested that “all the people of Pamlico County seem to be happy with it” except for one – a description not plausibly accurate for any issue.

The text of the audio:
House Bill 179. Representative Kidwell, the gentleman is recognized to speak to House Bill 179.

Thank you Mr. Chairman. This is a, uh, very simple, straightforward Bill, uh, requested by the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners on a unanimous vote. Uh, I’ve only heard of absolutely one person who has opposed this, that called my office today.

Other than that, all the people of Pamlico County seem to be happy with it. I ask for your favorable vote and stand for questions.

Kidwell represents Pamlico County in the house. Representative Keith Kidwell’s office can be reached at 919-733-5881. His email is keith.kidwell@ncleg.gov.

The bill has moved into the senate, as bill SB 286, sponsored by Senator Norman Sanderson. Sanderson represents Pamlico County in the Senate. As of today, the bill has passed three readings in the NC Senate and has been referred back to the Rules, Calendar, and Operations Committee of the House.

Senator Sanderson’s office can be reached at 919-733-5706. His email is norman.sanderson@ncleg.gov.

Update April 10, 2023
To verify, TownDock made a request to the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners requesting “any documentation or correspondence you have relating to the resolution for partisan schools boards, particularly any direction sent from the Commissioners, as a Board or individual, to Representative Kidwell’s office.”

What we received back was a copy of the resolution itself, and a letter to Senator Sanderson – not Representative Kidwell – requesting a local bill supporting the partisan school board resolution. There was no mention of the vote count in the letter, or of a ‘unanimous’ decision.

The letter is in the links below.

We also contacted Representative Kidwell’s office and have not heard back.

As for Senate Bill 286 (formerly House Bill 179) it has been sent from the Senate, back to the House Committee, as of April 6, 2023. It is awaiting further action there.

Related Links
Letter to Senator Sanderson Requesting Partisan Bill
Final Resolution as Approved by Pamlico County Commissioners
Public Speaks Out Against Partisan School Board Elections
Letters: Partisan School Board Elections
House Bill 179 Introduced by Representative Keith Kidwell
Senate Bill 286 Introduced by Senator Norm Sanderson

Posted Thursday April 6, 2023 by Allison DeWeese

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