At every Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting, anyone has three minutes of time to say whatever they want to the board, the audience in the room and to all those watching on television.
Usually, people use that time to speak about county business concerns they have or about needs the commissioners can address – for instance, they may seek more funding for the Guilford County Animal Shelter or an increase in mental health services. However, on Thursday, Feb. 6, a 2020 political candidate got some whimsical looks from the commissioners and from those in the audience when he used the time to deliver his campaign speech and give out his contact information.
There’s nothing in the rules against doing that, it’s just that it never happens. Several years ago, one area business owner did come and speak only to get his business three minutes of free television advertising, but that, too, almost never happens.
However, at the Feb. 6 meeting, Lee Haywood, a candidate running in the North Carolina 6th District Republican primary, was the first speaker from the floor and he used that time to give an election stump speech.
Some county officials are hoping this won’t start a trend in this candidate-heavy election year.
Haywood obviously knows a good stump speech opportunity when he sees one. It costs nothing and each commissioners meeting is rebroadcast several times on cable and the video is posted on the county website.
“I’m in the race, I’m in it to win,” Haywood said.
“It leans a little Democratic now,” he said of the 6th District, “and I aim to still keep it in Republican hands. I don’t want to make it too partisan, but I do believe that the Republican Party is the one that will lift people out of poverty.”
He said other Republicans who’ve held the seat – such as Mark Walker and the late Howard Coble – were highly devoted to serving constituents and said he would do the same.
“When I am elected, I plan to carry on their legacy,” Haywood said.
He added that he would fight the $23 trillion national debt, protect gun rights and make immigration policy a priority – and he would help see that the border wall is finished. Haywood also said the federal government needs to hand over education back to the states.
“I passed out a few cards tonight. Please don’t hesitate to contact me,” he added. “My website is www.Leehaywood.net.”
Like a good politician, Haywood went well over the allotted three-minute time limit despite the best efforts of Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Philips.
“Thank you, Mr. Haywood,” Phillips finally interrupted before Haywood left the podium.