The NCAA’s decision to pull its 2016-17 events from our state is a big deal. It’s not just that the fans will not get to see their favorite local teams play close by. Sure that’s important, but I take losses like this more personally. For 36 years, my video company provided Media Services for pre and post game interviews we worked with all the major networks and provided services for the ACC, NCAA, NBA and other major sporting organizations.
Losing the opportunity to cover the NBA All-Star game and NCAA events within a few months would have hurt my business badly and the negative effects would have rippled.
I know for a fact, the ripple I described is happening in our state right now with companies like the one I used to run and other small businesses who rely on contracts from big time sporting events. The ripple means lost hotel nights and lost restaurant patronage from fans who will not be visiting the North Carolina host cities hurting owners in the hospitality sector along with their employees.
Non-profits that work concession booths at these sporting events are going to be hit by this ripple needlessly caused by HB2 and the subsequent refusal of legislators like Dan Bishop to do anything to significantly fix the mess they made.
How do the venues replace the revenue they lose? How do the smaller companies that provide other goods and services, such as those who would provide video services, make up for money they will now never see? They will not. And that is just wrong.
Astonishingly, as our state keeps losing businesses of the future, film projects, entertainment events, conferences, the NBA All-Star game, and now the NCAA’s tournament events, my opponent and HB2 author, NC Rep. Dan Bishop, is silently sitting on the bench.
This was not always the case. Just this past spring, Dan gladly went on WNCN’s Flashpoint, Meet the Press, CNN and even had a brief Twitter conversation with Montel Williams to proudly defend HB2, the now infamous discrimination bill he authored as a member of the N.C. House that’s so damaged our state’s prestige and economy. Moments after Sen. Buck Newton made his rousing “we must fight to keep our state straight” quip to a crowd of HB2 supporters, Dan Bishop clapped while seated on the front row of the podium, two seats to left of Newton’s lectern video.
But once the hits to North Carolina’s prestige and economy started piling on, Dan Bishop stopped clapping. He stopped talking too. Even when modifications to his baby, HB2, were being deliberated during the short legislative session this past summer, Bishop remained quiet. He also declined to participate in a series of joint campaign town halls with me.
How does Dan Bishop do it? As an N.C. representative, he literally wrote the discrimination bill that’s cost us the NBA All-Star game and the NCAA tournament events. Yet now, as he’s running for a state senate seat, he’s doing so silently.
Did he mail an absurd, insulting fundraising letter to his campaign district saying he’s being attacked by outsiders? Sure. But is that being accountable to the public? I don’t think so. I call that campaigning.
Furthermore, if he thinks outsiders are his problem, he must not be talking to the voters who live in the very senate district he is running to serve. I’ve met with several Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated votes who are offended and embarrassed by HB2. Many are just as concerned about negative economic ripples as me.
It’s time for Dan Bishop to go public again. Voters across the state, and especially the voters he hopes to represent, deserve for him to look them in the eye and explain why all these negative HB2 consequences rippling into our community from Raleigh and outside the state are still worth it.
As someone who takes discrimination and it’s rippling negative impact in my community so personally, I doubt Dan Bishop is able to give a satisfactory answer. That must be why he hasn’t publicly talked (or clapped) in quite some time. But while Dan continues to choose campaign calculations over leading, our great state’s hard-earned reputation continues to be harmed.
By removing 7 championships from North Carolina, the NCAA joined the growing chorus against HB2 – with possibly more to follow in a few days when ACC presidents meet to discuss issues including the ACC Football Championship held here in Charlotte. Could the NCAA decertify the Belk Bowl? If so, what effect might that have on the game being played in Charlotte? The stakes are still high. It can and will get worse until Dan’s bill is repealed.
With so much still left to lose, we deserve better from my opponent and the voters in my district deserve better from their next state senator. If the voters of District 39 give me the privilege of serving them in Raleigh, I will do my best to give them what they deserve, a state senator who will make their interests my top priority.