North Carolina

NC lawmaker shamed Republicans over surprise vote in video. Now some call her ‘hero’

Some people are hailing a North Carolina lawmaker as a “hero” after a video of her protesting a surprise vote in the House of Representatives garnered national attention.

The successful vote was to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the Republican-written budget and was called on Wednesday, when many Democrats were absent.

Rep. Deb Butler, a Democrat who represents New Hanover and Brunswick counties, stood up after the vote and began shouting at Republican House leader Tim Moore.

“How dare you do this Mr. Speaker,” she shouted. “I will not yield.”

The video has spread across social media, with some people calling Butler a “hero” and a “patriot” and tweeting “#IWillNotYield.”

The longtime Wilmington lawyer appeared on MSNBC on Wednesday, when she pushed back again against North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers.

“I am totally humiliated that North Carolina has sunk to this level,” she told the network.

Butler was appointed to her seat in early 2017 and easily won re-election in 2018. Her frustration with Republican legislators is nothing new.

During her first term in office, Butler emerged as a sometimes-fiery ally of Cooper’s administration, particularly on environmental issues.

Months after Butler’s initial appointment, the Wilmington StarNews reported Chemours was discharging industrial chemicals from its plant near Fayetteville that were making their way into Wilmington-area drinking water.

Butler, who has often likened events on Jones Street to political theater, argued Republican-led measures to address GenX and similar chemicals were insufficient and far short of what Cooper’s Department of Environmental Quality was requesting.

At one point, Butler was the only Wilmington-area representative not appointed to the General Assembly’s Environmental Review Commission and the House’s Select Committee on N.C. River Quality.

After Wednesday’s video spread online, some social media users said they want to see more politicians like her.

Meanwhile, Republicans deny giving any indication there wouldn’t be a vote Wednesday.

Moore said there was no notice sent out saying there wouldn’t be a vote and confirmed he wouldn’t be breaking any rules by calling it, The News & Observer reported.

Although some on social media suggest Democrats were absent attending 9/11 remembrance events, The News & Observer confirmed only two, including Cooper, were at such events.

Now that the vote has passed in the House, it will still need to pass in the Senate to override the veto.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.