RALEIGH — On Monday Republican state lawmakers issued statements making clear they think that one of Governor-elect Roy Cooper’s first picks for his administration is “concerning” and “degrading” toward military service members.
Ken Eudy, was named by Cooper as a senior adviser, sparking immediate criticism for controversial remarks Eudy made about not standing to honor the military at public events. Specifically, Eudy wrote a column for EducationNC two months ago in which he said he sits in protest when crowds cheer and stand to honor military service members.”I sit simply because I think it odd that, of all the categories of Americans that we honor, we honor warriors,” Eudy, who spent six years in the Army National Guard, wrote. “I’m resolved that I won’t stand until we also honor the profession that will determine whether the United States remains free – school teachers.”
The controversial statement, while aligning with Cooper’s campaign rhetoric calling for higher teacher pay and increased spending per pupil, has caused alarm in Republican ranks.
Rep. John Szoka (R- Cumberland) and Rep. Holly Grange (R- New Hanover), both graduates of West Point, issued statements Monday morning in response to Eudy’s appointment in light of his recent remarks.
“It is very concerning that Governor-elect Cooper’s pick for senior adviser, Ken Eudy has publicly expressed negative opinions and degrading comments toward our state’s military servicemen and women,” said Grange. “Our active-duty and retired military represent the best of the United States and have made countless sacrifices for the betterment of North Carolina.”
Szoka described his own concern with Eudy’s apparent sentiments.
“As a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army and elected official representing Fort Bragg, the most populous military base in the world, I am deeply offended and disheartened over Mr. Eudy’s comments toward our state’s bravest men and women,” stated Szoka. “It is an honor to represent our state’s most fearless individuals as well as their families and for Mr. Eudy to blatantly dismiss their service with statements such as the above is saddening to me.”
“It is gravely concerning that Eudy would use our state’s amazing teachers as a political prop to cover up his shameful comments toward our military,” added Szoka.
The statement was endorsed by 10 additional Republican members of the N.C. House of Representatives, including representatives Rep. Chris Whitmire, Rep. Mike Speciale, Rep. Roger West, Rep. George Cleveland, Rep. Paul Stam, Rep. Leo Daughtry, Rep. John Blust, Rep. John Faircloth, Rep. Kelly Hastings, and Rep. Bill Brawley.
The public condemnation comes just one day before the state legislature convenes for a special legislative session to tackle issues related to Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts.