What’s up with Cecil Brockman?

That’s the question a lot of voters have been asking lately. And I’m asking it now.

Brockman, a Democrat, has represented the 60th District in North Carolina, which covers part of Guilford County, including all of Jamestown and Pleasant Garden, since first being elected to the NC House back in 2014. He’s on the younger end of the spectrum at 38 years old, is Black and is openly bisexual. All of those things would make it seem like he’s down for the cause, you know?

But in recent weeks, Brockman has been making a concerning turn.

As has been widely reported on now, on March 29, Brockman was noticeably absent during a veto override vote for SB 41 or a bill, now law, titled “Guarantee 2nd Amendment Freedom and Protections.”

The bill has made headlines since Gov. Cooper’s veto of it was overridden due to its rolling back of gun control in the midst of an ever-increasing number of mass shootings. In addition to repealing pistol purchase permits, the bill also allows concealed carry on some school grounds outside of school operating hours. This is at a time when gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children in the United States, surpassing car accidents. 

At the time of the vote, Brockman and two other Democrats — Rep. Tricia Cotham of District 112 in Mecklenburg County and Rep. Michael Wray of District 27, covering Halifax, Northampton and Warren Counties — were all absent. Of course, a few days later, Cotham switched parties, giving Republicans a supermajority in both the House and the Senate, making it possible to override any future vetoes by the governor without having to negotiate with Democrats.

Rep. Tricia Cotham

In interviews, Brockman has said that he was at a medical clinic the morning of the veto and couldn’t make it to vote.

But Brockman’s sketchy antics don’t stop there. In fact, he’s been absent from more than one crucial vote these last few months.

On Feb. 22, weeks before the ratification of SB 41, Brockman was also absent from a vote on SB 40, “Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal.” Of course, with the passage of its sister bill, this one was left to die in committee. Was he at a medical clinic then too?

What about on March 30 when there was a vote for a bill to allow more nurses to work in public schools? Absent. Or later in the day on March 29 when there was a bill to reduce barriers to state employment to allow more people to get jobs by citing military experience or trade school education? Absent. Any guesses as to which other Democrats were also absent for those votes? That’s right, Cotham and Wray.

Oh but wait! There’s more!

On March 28, when all other Democrats voted against a bill that would require sheriffs to cooperate with ICE, meaning more of our immigrant friends and neighbors would be detained, guess who actually showed up to vote in favor of the bill?

Brockman, Cotham and Wray.

Explanations have been swirling political circles as to Brockman’s behavior of late. The representative himself has told the News & Observer that he doesn’t plan on switching parties like Cotham did. But Brockman was elected by voters, our community, to represent us. In 2022, he handily won reelection by more than 17 percentage points and had Democrats support him by larger margins in the elections prior.

But now, as more and more legislation is filed that directly attacks the most vulnerable among us, like HB 673 sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeff Zenger just yesterday that would criminalize drag shows in public spaces, it’s incumbent upon us to ask: What’s up with Cecil Brockman and is he representing us?

I think we know the answer.

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