GREENSBORO — You’re tooling eastbound on Interstate 40 and then all of a sudden, there’s the smiling face of state Rep. Cecil Brockman staring back at you from a billboard.
No, the Democratic lawmaker from High Point is not asking for your vote via the gigantic, electronic message board near Gallimore Dairy Road, at least not now.
The message comes from statewide advocacy group Progress NC Action, which wants Brockman’s vote in the state House of Representatives to sustain Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto.
The left-leaning group has rented billboard space in or near the districts of Brockman and three other Democrats who have shown signs they could waver on Cooper’s recent veto of the Republican-led version of the 2020-21 budget.
“Stand with Gov. Cooper and sustain the budget veto!” the billboards assert.
Other potentially waffling Democratic legislators were targeted with the same billboard messages in Cumberland, Hoke and Pitt counties.
Brockman gave Progress NC Action cause for concern on June 26 when he voted in favor of the GOP-inspired conference report that Cooper and most other Democrats oppose, but which includes an abundance of spending on social, economic and cultural programs in Brockman’s district.
Brockman issued a news release after that vote saying he had to choose what was best for his district above party loyalties. The next day, he had an excused absence when the House rendered its final vote for the conference report.
Cooper ultimately vetoed that document, which he and most Democratic lawmakers consider a non-starter because it would cut corporate taxes while failing to expand Medicaid and provide what they believe is sufficient support for public schools.
“The GOP budget fails to address a single one of the demands of the 10,000 educators who marched in Raleigh on May 1,” Progress NC Action leader Gerrick Brenner said in a recent news release announcing the billboard campaign.
Republicans say their budget is a fiscally sound measure that both promotes growth in the private economy while ensuring teacher pay raises and providing ample support for other governmental initiatives.
But in the House, they need seven Democratic votes to make up the three-fifths majority required to override Cooper’s veto.
What does Brockman have to say about the billboard’s exhortations and whether he would support Cooper’s veto in a legislative showdown?
He asserts that as a lawmaker, “my job is to get the best deal for my constituents.”
“I plan to remain at the negotiating table during this budget process to make sure my district’s priorities are met,” Brockman said in a Tuesday email. “If a satisfactory offer is presented, then I will vote accordingly.”