With contaminated drinking water and now the repeal of the plastic bag ban people in Eastern North Carolina are feeling like their voices aren’t being heard by legislators in Raleigh. After repeated public outcry, coastal residents are feeling ignored. It’s time that representatives actually start representing the interest of their constituents and put people before corporate profits.
Less than one week after the state legislature voted to repeal the Outer Banks’ plastic bag ban, a number of residents used the public comment period at the Sept. 5 Dare County Commissioners meeting to sharply criticize that action, arguing that their voices were ignored in Raleigh.
In response to a proposal from one of those speakers, Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard asked County Manager Bobby Outten to look into whether residents in the county’s unincorporated areas could vote in a referendum on the repeal issue.
Noting that she called State Representative Beverly Boswell’s office and was told the repeal measure was “stuck in the rules committee and therefore was dead,” Kill Devil Hills resident Patty Armistead stated that, “The total disregard for our community has enraged me.”
Citing findings of a U.C. Davis study detailing the “disastrous effects of plastic in the ocean” as it mimics the smell of algae, baits sea turtles, whales and fish and disrupts the marine eco-system,” Armistead implored the commissioners to do something to “undermine” the repeal.
Luke Mahler, a candidate for the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners, said he was “enraged” by the thought of distant legislators deciding to “sully our backyard in pursuit of a quick buck.”
Jack McCombs cited the wide-ranging support “by virtually every segment of the Outer Banks” for the bag ban, emphasizing surprise at what he sees as the district’s representatives’ disregard for their constituents’ views on the subject. “If Representative Boswell and Senator Cook don’t represent the citizens of Dare County, who do they represent?” he asked.