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Letter from state PBA president on Summey endorsement

Here is a response on the PBA endorsement by North Carolina PBA president Randy Byrd.

We are writing in response to comments made about our association by Sheriff Charlie McDonald in the April 23, 2014, edition of the Hendersonville Lightning in which he referred to us as a "liberal group."

The sheriff's comment that PBA is "always attached to a lot of gun control issues" is false. As a division of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, Inc., (SSPBA) we have, in fact, been opposed to gun control as a viable means of reducing crime. As far as we know, the SSPBA is the only known regional or national police association that actually surveyed its members on this topic resulting in a published opinion that rank and file police officers were overwhelmingly opposed to gun control measures and that our members did not see gun control as a viable means of reducing crime. In fact, our SSPBA President, Chris Skinner, reiterated this position in a media release just this past year.

As to the sheriff's assertion of his personal knowledge that PBA has "endorsed some of our worst, most liberal presidents," this is also false.

As a regionally based law enforcement association complied of law enforcement members in the Southeastern United States, we have chosen to focus our political endorsement efforts on local and statewide races, believing it is those races where we can support the most effective elected officials who impact our ability to serve and protect our citizens. Our endorsement of former Representative David Guice is one example. This association has never endorsed a so-called "liberal president" and the last and only time we endorsed a presidential "candidate" was Senator Phil Gramm who, of course, was a Republican. Sheriff McDonald could have learned this if he had simply accepted our invitation to attend our screening.

What PBA has done for more than 25 years is endeavor to endorse candidates running for state and local political offices, including the office of sheriff, who are fair, truthful and honest.


Randy Byrd

North Carolina PBA president