N.C. lawmaker apologizes about public conflict with Speaker Tillis

jmorrill@charlotteobserver.comMay 23, 2013 

— Both Republican lawmakers named Brawley reacted Thursday to the public conflict one had Wednesday with the speaker of the House.

Rep. Robert Brawley of Mooresville, just north of Mecklenburg County, sent his House colleagues an email apologizing “for any discomfort caused” by his criticism of Speaker Thom Tillis, a Cornelius Republican.

On the House floor Wednesday, Brawley turned in his gavel as co-chairman of the Finance Committee and had the clerk read a letter he’d written to Tillis. In the letter, he cited a litany of concerns including what he described as the treatment of him and his legislation by Tillis and his staff.

“I’m sorry you and I got caught up in a fight,” he wrote.

In Thursday’s email, sent at 6:23 a.m., Brawley called the speaker “a gentleman and scholar.”

“I apologize for any discomfort caused any of you and would have preferred not to air our differences but was told to turn in my gavel and the letter during session … I expect to still be a representative … I look forward to working with you as a legislator on equal footing.… Have a great day.”

It may not be that easy.

One Republican lawmaker called Brawley “radioactive.” And Rep. Bill Brawley of Matthews, a co-chairman of the Transportation Committee, took pains to make clear that he isn’t Robert Brawley.

“Being the OTHER Brawley means I am still a Chairman and get along fine with Speaker Tillis. More work less drama,” he tweeted.

Bill Brawley also offered his opinion on how to keep them separate. “One has hair,” he said. “The other has brains.”

Robert Brawley, who left Raleigh Thursday morning, was unavailable for comment.

Tillis spokesman Jordan Shaw offered a further response to one of Robert Brawley’s public allegations. The charge involved his introduction of a bill that would expand the service areas of MI-Connection, a cable company that serves Mooresville, Davidson and Cornelius.

“You slamming my office door shut, standing in front of me and stating that you have a business relationship with Time Warner and wanting to know what the bill is about,” he wrote Tillis.

Tillis’ financial disclosure lists no connection to the company. Time Warner’s political action committee gave his campaign $4,000 last year, out of a total $1.7 million raised, according to reports filed with the state board of elections.

A regional Time Warner spokesman told The Associated Press that Tillis has no ties to the company.

“He does not have a business relationship with Time Warner,” Tillis spokesman Shaw said Thursday. “That statement is the result of a lawmaker who is frustrated that his ill-advised bills haven’t passed, like repealing the gift ban from lobbyists.

“Frankly it’s bunk.”

Morrill: 704-358-5059

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