Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch is a Democrat, but – even though he’s a freshman on the board, Upchurch is already showing that he’s thinking for himself rather than toeing the Democratic party line.
When the Democrats won a 7 to 3 majority on the Board of Commissioners in the November 2020 election, a lot of people assumed that the new Democratic commissioners would follow in lockstep with Alston. However, in recent months, Upchurch has clearly shown that he’s willing to break from the pack.
When the new, Democratic-controlled board first took charge of the county late last year, the seven Democrats voted together nearly all the time.
On Thursday, Aug. 26, Upchurch broke with Alston and his fellow Democrats on the board when he was the only Democrat out of seven to vote against a mask mandate for county residents in indoor spaces.
Before Upchurch cast his no vote, he gave an impassioned speech and called out county health officials.
He asked staff the survival rate of children in the county since the start of the pandemic.
The response from staff? Roughly 23 percent of COVID-19 cases in Guilford County have been in those age 0 to 18, and, in that group, there had been no deaths.
Upchurch also asked staff, “Would you agree that the vaccine is currently available to everyone who wants a vaccine?”
Of course, it’s extremely easy to get vaccinated right now.
Upchurch said he found it “really surprising” that county staff was placing such a huge focus on masking while seemingly ignoring other less invasive strategies.
“We’re not talking about social distancing; we’re not talking about capacity limits; we’re not giving the public guidance on which mask to wear,” the Democratic commissioner said to the surprise of many on the Zoom call.
Upchurch’s no vote at the meeting came on the heels of another breakaway vote that found him voting with the two Republican commissioners on the board. Earlier this summer, the Board of Commissioners approved a costly – $2 million – very ill-defined and nebulas “call center” to take the calls of those who wanted COVID-19 vaccinations. It was a strange request because at that point practically no one was calling the county to arrange shots.
At the meeting in question, county staff turned on a dime and said that “call center” was a bad thing to call the program and said it was really much more of a community outreach program than a “call center.”
Six Democratic commissioners approved the “call center,” but Upchurch joined the two Republicans in his no vote for the project that, frankly, none of the commissioners understood well when they voted to approve it.
Alston said after the meeting that, while he obviously favored the mask mandate, he also thought it was a good thing for the Democrats – and the Republicans – on the board to think for themselves.
Rhino sees “no children died in Guilford” and sees it as an infallible truth. Instead of pointing to that as a reason to demand students be able to attend school massless, what are we actively doing to ensure no child EVER dies of Covid in Guilford? I assure you, if that’s the goal, we should be masking and preparing how to be effective remote teachers and learners, we should be requiring vaccines of every single person possible. It’s just a matter of time before the Rhino goes hush hush on this statistic like they have done with their silence about rising cases and hospitalizations. It’s just a matter of time and Roy, John, Scott, and Elaine won’t be able to state “0 under 18 have died”.
It’s a pandemic! People die. That’s the only guarantee in life. We shouldn’t be requiring anything. Mr. Matt Baker from Ocean Beach, CA said it best: https://youtu.be/Do03sya2v1g
Are you proposing a nudist colony for GSO?
“We shouldn’t be requiring anything”…
Like don’t require an ID to vote?
Don’t require children to attend school?
Don’t require trans people to have their genitals “checked” to fly somewhere?
Don’t require cars to have brakes and headlights?
Full of ideas, this one.
This country was founded on freedom of choice. Parents should be making decisions for their children, not county boards or teachers or school superintendents. There are other ways of protecting our children from Covid without submitting them to harmful vaccines that have some very serious consequences.
If this country had not lost it’s sense of good or evil, there would be no discussion on this needed!
Juan please go back south of the wall. Maybe you can meet kamela on the way I think you two deserve each other
No child EVER dies of Covid? You realize they are MORE likely to die of RSV or influenza right? Or in an auto accident. What are we doing about that? Grow up
Follow the science. Of the people under 20 years of age that have contracted Covid (any version ) 99.9973 percent have made a full recovery.
Quit trying to control our citizens.
Children in Guilford county will also die of drug overdoses, accidents, car crashes and other illnesses. To believe that mask mandates will prevent any child of ever dying of covid is ludicrous. And you should probably check data on mask efficacy in schools. They don’t work.
I will give Commissioner Upchurch credit. When I emailed ALL of the commissioners when they initiated this crazy mask mandate, HE was the only one to respond. Not even MY commissioner (Murphy) replied. And I wrote her twice. But she could not care less about her constituents and representing their interests.
Sure folks get sick from the Delta bug, but I’ve not heard of any deaths from it. Who the heck do you believe? Physicians differ on opinions, the CDC then comes out with a different tune and the feds yet another. The science seems clear that mask DO NOT work. So is everybody stupid or what? Remember Forest Gump’s mama said “stupid is as stupid does”. Even are hypocrite leaders, local, state and national are seen at crowded venues not wearing a mask. I for one, refuse to follow this nonsense mask mandate. So Guilford County … bring it on!
Delta variant is less deadly. A fact. No student to teacher transmissions. A fact. And how is this possible with so many children unvaccinated?