Loading...
I have been watching the commercials for the third district race and found it to be a down-to-the-wire-event. We have...

Accused lawmaker should resign

Rob Schofield

Rob Schofield

Loading…

Thursday, April 11, 2019

By many of the usual political metrics, State Rep. Cody Henson ought to be an up and comer.

Henson, a young Republican from western North Carolina is an ex-Marine with a winning smile. His biography on the website VoteSmart.org reports that he was an infantry machine gun team leader in the Marine Corps Reserve who then found work as a call center supervisor with a global marketing company.

He is described as a member of Midway Baptist Church whose favorite quote if from Ronald Reagan: "I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life."

Meanwhile, the list of contributors to his campaigns reads like a "who's who" of the modern North Carolina political establishment: House Speaker Tim Moore, $5,200; State Rep. Mitch Setzer, $5,000; State Rep. Julia Howard, $3,000; Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, $1,250; N.C Beer and Wine Wholesalers, $1,109.10; Duke Energy, N.C. Home Builders Association, N.C. Association of Realtors and N.C. Farm Bureau, $1,000 each.

Unfortunately, there is, by all appearances, a dark and troubled side to Rep. Henson. As multiple news outlets have reported in recent weeks, Henson is the subject of a domestic violence complaint by his estranged wife, Kelsey Henson.

In February, a judge issued a domestic violence protective order under the state's 50B statute in which he directed Henson to have no contact with his wife for one year.

Last week, Henson made his first appearance before a judge in response to being charged with criminal cyberstalking. At that hearing, a judge ordered Henson to turn over all of his firearms. According to a report by Carolina Public Press, the prosecutor in the case informed the judge that Henson — who has been accused of repeatedly sending his wife harassing texts after being asked to stop — "posted an image of firearms to social media the morning after a heated argument with his wife in early 2018, which she perceived as a threat of violence."

A trial date in the criminal cyberstalking case has been set for May 2. Not surprisingly for an elected official, Henson's troubles have already led to political ramifications. The lawmaker announced last week that he will not seek re-election in 2020 —though, as so often seems to be the case in situations like this, he made no mention of his legal troubles and talked only of a desire to spend time with his young children.

The hard and sad reality of the matter, however, is that a promise to leave office 21 months from now simply isn't good enough. Henson needs to resign now and if he won't, House Speaker Tim Moore needs to publicly demand it.

It's true, as some have argued, that Henson has not yet been convicted of a crime and that he is innocent until proven guilty. When it comes to the privilege of serving in public office, however, the bar needs to be significantly higher. Henson is an important public official who will, if he stays in office, be asked to vote on all manner of important proposed laws in the coming months — many of which are related to issues of violence, safety and firearm regulation.

(Last year, Henson actually sponsored legislation to further loosen state gun violence laws by making it easier for persons with "concealed carry" permits to bring their firearms on to the grounds of college campuses and places of religious worship.)

This year, Henson is a member of the House Select Committee on School Safety — a committee created in the aftermath of the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida. Meanwhile, he serves numerous constituents who will almost assuredly want to reach out and talk to him about proposals like House Bill 454 — a proposal introduced this past week to authorize the issuance of "extreme risk protection orders" that allow judges to temporarily restrict an individual's access to firearms when there is evidence presented that the person in question may pose a danger of physical harm to themselves or others.

How in the world will that work out? What is Henson going to do — recuse himself from taking a position on the legislation due to a potential conflict of interest? And how is a constituent — say, a woman who has been the victim of domestic violence — going to feel any degree of safety and peace of mind when she tries to speak to the lawmaker on such an issue?

And even if that weren't an issue, how can someone adequately represent his constituents when he's busy preparing to defend himself in a criminal trial?

The bottom line: Rep. Henson's situation is tragic for his wife and children, his constituents and him. One can only hope that he and his family get the help they need. But for the good of all involved — particularly the people of the 113th House District — Speaker Moore should demand his resignation.

Rob Schofield is director of NC Policy Watch.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

June 10, 2019

The New York Times 

“Because it’s there.” For those who grew up on George Mallory’s famous explanation for his yearning to scale Mount Everest, with all the romance, danger and spirit of exploration it implied, that viral photograph of an endless line of climbers in…

June 10, 2019

Although it may not appear so, the leaders of both major political parties in North Carolina favor lowering the tax burden of large businesses. Their real dispute is about the scope and magnitude of the tax relief.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has consistently opposed recent state budgets, crafted by…

john hood.jpg

June 10, 2019

We are just weeks away from the first of 20 Democratic debates scheduled this primary season. It gets underway over two nights in Miami on June 26 and 27, and never before has there been a debate this early in the election and potentially this important.

The reason there are so many candidates, 23…

eleanorclift.jpg.jpg

June 09, 2019

Gerrymandering has always been part of American politics. After all, the term was coined in 1812 after Massachusetts governor and Founding Father Elbridge Gerry endorsed a state senate district that resembled a salamander.

Until recently, federal courts have been highly reluctant to enter the…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

June 09, 2019

It is not unfair to point out that President Trump, on many important subjects, is just an ignoramus.

A vivid illustration of this unfortunate fact came this week in London, when it was revealed that Prince Charles, a knowledgeable environmentalist, had tried to educate the president on climate…

Eugene Robinson

June 09, 2019

"When you are told all your life you're dumb, unworthy, you start believing it. God changed that for me."

Jerry, from Youngstown, Tennessee, hesitated to be interviewed by Chris Arnade, because "I don't know my ABCs, so I can't really talk right." He told Arnade, the author of the new book…

kathrynlopez

June 09, 2019

Senate Republicans are pushing back on President Trump's plan to impose tariffs on Mexico. But if Mexican officials think these Republicans are going to save them from Trump's tariffs, it's time for them to think again.

So far, congressional Republicans have managed to remain bystanders in Trump's…

MarcThiessen

June 08, 2019

In 1940, some 3.6 million people lived in North Carolina, ranking the state 11th in the nation in population and first in the Southeast. Across the South as a whole, only Texas (6.4 million) was more populous.

If present trends continue, by 2040 North Carolina will have a population of about 12.7…

john hood.jpg

June 08, 2019

The Charlotte Observer

How much money is too much for a high school football coach? North Carolina’s second largest school district has provided something of an answer.

Last month, Vance High School coach Aaron Brand cashed in on a successful five-year run in Charlotte and accepted a coaching…

June 08, 2019

In 1788 the Hillsborough Convention convened to consider ratification of the U.S. Constitution and also to approve an “unalterable” seat of government. They did neither.

The Constitution, they determined, lacked assurances of personal rights the delegates deemed essential and, after…

Tom Campbell
231 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 24
        Next Page»   Last Page»