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Joint GOP meeting marks Christmas, defies Gov. Cooper
Friday, 01 January 2021 14:35

From Staff Reports

WAYNESVILLE — Christian conservatives from Haywood County and Swain County were invited to a “Can’t ‘Coop’-Up Christmas” celebration on Dec. 17 evening at the Smoky Mountain Event Center, which formerly served as the Haywood County Fairgrounds.

“The people of Western North Carolina have had enough of (Gov. Roy) Cooper’s mandatory lockdowns,” Kay Miller, chairwoman of the Haywood County Republican Party, stated in a press release.

“There is a line between protecting public health and tyranny, and that line has been crossed. People are being scared to death; they’re depressed and suicidal, and abuse numbers have really spiked. Jobs, businesses and livelihodds have been lost. We have have the freedom to celebrate Christmas as we choose, with whomever we choose. We can celebrate safely,” Miller said.

The Smoky Mountain News reported that “special guest speakers included local pastors, as well as elected representatives, including outgoing Sen. Jim Davis, incoming Rep. Mike Clampitt, Sen. Kevin Corbin and others. Also invited are Republican elected representatives of all levels of government, as well as judges and justices of the N.C. courts.”

The SMN added, “Since the event center is owned by the county and operated by a county-appointed board, there have been questions whether such an event would be in violation of the governor’s order. County Attorney Frank Queen said since the event center is run by an independent board, the county doesn’t have a supervisory role at the county-owned venue, and merely serves as a landlord to the board with little oversight as to the types of events that take place there.

“Further, per Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order 181, the event is clearly exempt from the provisions of the order. The exemptions to Cooper’s order listed in section 1.2 are: worship, religious and spiritual gatherings, funeral ceremonies, wedding ceremonies and other activities constituting the exercise of First Amendment rights,” the SMN noted. 

The event was co-sponsored by the Haywood County Republican Party and Smoky Mountain Republican Women.

Meanwhile, The (Waynesville) Mountaineer reported that “certain safety precautions were taken” at the event, with food servers wearing masks and gloves — and tables were distanced six feet apart. 

Otherwise, the Mountaineer reported, “while some wore masks the whole time and took recommended precautions, others had no interest in compliance. For them, it was a matter of liberty versus safety.”



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