Usually, the news stories in newspapers are more interesting than the ads, but for readers of the High Point Enterprise on Wednesday, May 1, nothing could be further from the truth.

A full-page ad written by District 60 State Rep. Cecil Brockman, a Democrat who’s up for reelection this year, responded with extremely strong words to those in his own party who’ve criticized him for voting too often with the Republicans and making deals with them.

In the piece paid for and written by Brockman, he also went into very personal details regarding a mental breakdown he had last year and he explained why he was now finally ready to share his mental health issues with the public.

 He also spoke of the racism he has seen as a state legislator, even from those in his own party.

The full-page ad, which was all text except for a headshot of Brockman, ran with the headline in bold: “Cecil Brockman: My Community needs good policy over partisan politics.”

“A lot has been said about me throughout the years,” it began. “In April of 2023, Triad City Beat published an article titled ‘What’s Up With Cecil Brockman?’ which criticized me for my willingness to work across the aisle generally and described my excused absences as sketchy.  My age, my Blackness, and my sexual identity were described as reasons why I should be ‘down for the cause’ before closing with the question in its title.”

Brockman has served in the North Carolina House for a decade.

He explained that, in that time, he’s been “gaveled down on the House floor” for saying he didn’t believe Confederate soldiers deserved the same amount of respect as American soldiers in other wars. He added that he had fought hard for LGBT rights, abortion rights, Medicaid expansion and countless other liberal causes.

But Brockman also voted at times with Republicans on issues where he thought it made sense or when he believed a deal would help out his community – and he came under attack from several Democratic factions who also noted that his absence on some key votes had helped Republicans pass some legislation.

Much of that criticism was from college Democrats and groups centered in other parts of the state.

“Dismissing the work of another is easy from ivory towers in distant communities which do not suffer as ours do,” he wrote. “Here, on the ground, I see my community changing and getting better.”

“I have fought the good fight and will continue to fight the good fight,” he stated, adding, “I am saddened by the tribalism of both sides.”

The fact that the Republicans have a supermajority in the legislature and get anything they want without even talking to Democrats, he wrote, means that compromise for Democrats is sometimes necessary. He also stated that he would rather compromise and get legislation that helps his community rather than just always hold the party line in order to get a “pat on the back” from other liberals.

He stated in the ad that progressive groups and other Democrats have “piled onto me and attacked my voting record for having voted with the majority” while white liberal politicians who did the same were given a pass.

“White liberals and progressives alike peddle a tired racist narrative that a Black man is not working hard enough, while giving away the credit he deserves to the nearest white man they can find,” he wrote.

He added that only white moderates and progressives are allowed to negotiate and make deals without getting attacked.

Brockman also stated that he had decided not to share his personal health information with the public since he’s a private person; however, now, he said, he felt compelled to do so.

He stated that, in 2023, he had a mental breakdown and struggled constantly with whether or not the toll on himself and his family was worth it. He said his psychiatrist told him he needed to take time for himself in order to preserve his health.

His psychiatrist, he wrote, said “I would never be able to fully recover from the breakdown without rest because my work was triggering my trauma.”

Brockman concluded by encouraging others with mental health struggles to seek professional help, adding that he has now learned how to better cope with and process his feelings.