Earlier this week, we published a piece about how Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch was attempting to pass an agenda item during the Thursday evening board meeting to spend $40,000 of the county budget to install “In God We Trust” signs across 10 county buildings.

On Thursday evening, the motion failed on a 6-2 vote with Commissioner Upchurch and fellow Republican Commissioner Pat Tillman voting in favor.

Prior to the vote, Commissioner Upchurch amended his motion to state that he would personally donate $40,000 to have the motto installed rather than spending public tax dollars.

Afterwards, each of the commissioners made comments on whether they would vote against or in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Frankie Jones of District 7, a Democrat, stated that he wouldn’t vote in favor of the motion.

“I’m equally concerned about precedent and precedent of what it means that those potentially with money, not Commissioner Upchurch specifically…but I just don’t want people to perceive that they can brand buildings by putting private dollars there,” Jones said.

Board Chair Skip Alston, who voted against the measure, stated that he agreed with the motto but said he wasn’t sure what Commissioner Upchurch’s intentions were given that he told the Rhino Times that this was about the country returning to “traditional values.”

“When he used the words ‘traditional values’…then that got to be political,” Alston said. “…. I told him that I did not want to get caught up in right-wing ideology…. That bothered me. I don’t think that was being transparent as far as what his true intent was. I do think there was some hidden intent there.”

Commissioner Upchurch was originally voted into office in 2020 as a Democrat but switched parties just a year later. Now, after one term as a county commissioner, Upchurch is making his rounds on the GOP circuit in a bid for state auditor in next year’s elections.

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