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One News Now

New ABC Chairman Sworn-In, Creech Says He Doesn’t Agree with Negative Response to His Appointment

Zander Guy sworn-in as new ABC Chairman next to his wife Sabrina. Picture courtesy of WECT News 6

By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
March 9, 2017

RALEIGH – A.D. Zander Guy, Jr, who was appointed recently to serve as chairman of the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC) under Gov. Roy Cooper, was sworn into office on Wednesday.

Guy previously served on the ABC Commission from 2009 to 2013 and served as interim chairman from February 2012 to February 2013 under then-Governor Beverly Perdue. He replaces Gov. Pat McCrory’s pick for the job, former Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner.

The hearing room at the offices of the ABC Commission in Raleigh, where the swearing-in-ceremony took place, was overflowing with guests. Every seat was filled to capacity and more than a hundred people stood along the walls and outside the door.

North Carolina ABC Commission Administrator, Bob Hamilton, welcomed the crowd, acknowledging the presence of the Governor’s chief of staff, former state and congressional lawmakers, various branches of law enforcement, the mayor of Surf City and its town council members. Hamilton also acknowledged the presence of CAL executive director, Dr. Mark Creech.

Guy served as mayor of Surf City from 1999 until Friday morning of last week during a special meeting when he resigned to become the new ABC chair. Surf City is on the North Carolina coast at the heart of Topsail Island located in Pender County.

Guy also previously served on the N.C. Banking Commission under Governor’s Hunt, Martin, Easley, and Perdue. He is the past president of the Neuse River Council of Governments, past member of the Local Government Advocacy Council, and former Mayor and Councilman of the City of Jacksonville.

The Raleigh News and Observer announced Guy’s appointment with the headline, Gov. Cooper Picks Coastal Mayor, Once a Convicted Felon, to Lead ABC Commission. The N&O reported that Guy spent three months in prison in 1990 “for fraudulently billing clients of his insurance agency for nearly $16,000.” Former Republican Gov. Jim Martin commuted Guy’s sentence and later pardoned him.

The N&O story also noted a statement released by the N.C. Republican Party criticizing Cooper’s choice of Guy. The statement read, “Really? Gov. Roy Cooper is replacing the Honorable Lt. Gov. Jim Gardner with a convicted felon who will oversee staffers and a large state budget?”

Dr. Creech said he felt that kind of politics was misguided.  “I was saddened at the response to Guy’s appointment,” he said. “I’m a Republican. And I certainly agree that Jim Gardner, the former chairman, was stupendous – nobody better. I also have many disagreements with the Governor, and ethically question many of his actions. I further commend my fellow Republicans for their commitment to high standards.  What I don’t agree with, however, is the suggestion that if a man makes a grievous error in life, he shouldn’t ever serve in high office.”

Creech went on to add, “I strongly believe in redemption. People can change. They can learn from their failures. In fact, our failures can have a way of waking us up, getting us on the right track, and remaking us into better persons than we would have been if we had never failed. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think we ought to hand over the keys without a verification of change. Still, when a man has acknowledged with remorse his wrong as Guy has – having told the Raleigh N&O in 2009 when first appointed to the Commission he was “ashamed” of it. And then over a course of time, he proves himself, living an exemplary life; I believe it’s wrong for us to call unclean what God has called clean. Redemption is about God reclaiming life for service to Him and our fellowman. I believe this with all of my heart. I tell you, this is a large part of the hope of the Gospel message.”

After being sworn-in as chairman, Guy gave a short speech, which consisted mostly his expressions of appreciation for the opportunity given him to serve.

He said he was raised in a family where his parents had urged him to “give back to the community.” Guy’s father A.D. Guy was a former state senator.

Guy said he wished that his father, who was deceased, could have been present for the ceremony. But he hoped that he might have been watching from heaven.

Chairman Guy concluded his remarks with a poem titled The Human Touch. He said its words essentially encapsulated the kind of public service he wanted to render.

It’s the human touch in this world that counts,
a touch of your hand in mine.
It means more to a fainting heart,
than bread, shelter, and wine

For shelter is gone and the night is ore,
And bread lasts only a day.
But the touch of your hand and the
sound of your voice,
will live in my life always.

Guy shared in an interview with WWAY News some of his goals as ABC chair. “I want to be sure that, number one, I’m concerned about underage drinking,” he said. “I’m concerned that people drink responsibly. That they don’t drink and drive. And I think it’s all about education…we’ve got to continue to educate the folks.”

Dr. Creech urged Christian Action League supporters to pray for Guy and the other ABC Commissioners.

He added that he was also very concerned “there are forces in our state that want to undermine our state’s ABC system. But even though that system has some problems, its controls and regulations on alcohol marketing, the checks it provides on the alcohol industry, are essential to protecting the public’s health from the scourge of alcohol use and abuse.”