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A message from MRW's President, 
Maureen Zumwalt
Maureen Krueger.jpg

March madness: 

When government grabs power


When I moved to North Carolina, I was advised that I needed to pick an ACC basketball team to follow and understand that March Madness was a month-long holiday. For decades, I associated March with college basketball, my precious daughter’s birthday and the long-awaited beginning of Spring. But 2020 changed the way I look at March. 

On March 10, 2020, Democrat Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 116, “Declaration of a State of Emergency To Coordinate Response and Protective Actions To Prevent the Spread of Covid-19.” 

This seemingly benign Executive Order announced the creation of a public health task force, addressed payments for medical testing, and waived many DOT requirements for the transportation of medical supplies. In fact, the bulk of Executive Order 116 relates to these DOT waivers. And, because we were all alarmed by the tremendous threat of COVID, we allowed this to happen without much pushback. 

However, by declaring a State of Emergency, Governor Cooper asserted almost complete control of North Carolina Government and the people therein. A violation of an Executive Order is a crime in North Carolina. Most North Carolinians are law abiding people who just want to be good neighbors. 


Who knew then that Cooper would go on to issue nearly 100 such Executive Orders and thereby retained “emergency” power over North Carolina for two years, 5 months and 6 days.  With each new order, North Carolinians lost more and more autonomy: stay at home orders, curfews, school closings, business closings, church closings, gatherings prohibited, and mask requirements. Churches had to sue to keep their doors open, while giant retailers like Wal Mart, Home Depot and Lowes remained open. Despite their successful lawsuits, many churches remained closed under the tremendous social pressure to “Stay Home, Save Lives.” We learned exactly who was an “essential worker” and who wasn’t. Health care workers and First Responders were rightfully lauded as heroes.  

Our system of “checks and balances” seemed to disappear under the weight of these Executive Orders. The North Carolina General Assembly was unable to modify the Emergency Powers law. Their attempts were vetoed by – guess who – Governor Cooper himself!  Courts are powerless to take action unless a lawsuit was filed. Only a handful of cases came before the courts, but with mixed results. Courts did declare that closing churches but allowing Wal Mart to stay open ran afoul of our constitutionally protected religious freedoms.  

Cooper’s power grab went virtually unchecked for 889 days. We should never forget that government can and will take power from the people if it can. That is the nature of the beast. Only good conservative policies and politicians can tame that beast.  


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