By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
January 12, 2022
RALEIGH – Three legislators in the North Carolina House who are staunch advocates for Christian values and, therefore, good friends of the Christian Action League have said they will not be running for re-election in 2022. Those lawmakers are Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret), Rep. Allen McNeill (R-Randolph), and Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus).
Rep. McElraft made her announcement not to seek re-election, December 28th. McElraft has served eight consecutive terms in the House.
She told the Carteret County News-Times, “I think its time to let someone younger and with new ideas come in. I’ve done more than twenty years in public service and had a sales job for thirty years. I think it’s time to spend more time with my husband, children, and grandchildren.”
McElraft has been a pro-life champion in the General Assembly.
In addition to the various pro-life bills which McElraft advocated for in previous years, this year she was the primary sponsor of HB 453-Human Life Nondiscrimination Act/No Eugenics, which would have expanded the state’s ban on sex-selective abortions to include those performed because of the baby’s race or the presumption the child has Down Syndrome.
The legislation passed the General Assembly, but unfortunately, was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper.
At a “Stand for Life Rally” held in front of the Legislative Building in Raleigh two years ago, McElraft spoke and made her stand clear on the sanctity of human life. She said:
“For those who think that this gathering is only about politics, about political parties, about elections, then you do not understand the purpose of this gathering. This gathering is about the heart and the soul of our great state. It is about protecting the purest of us. And the purest of us are the unborn or the ‘just born’ – those who have been here a second or two, whether they were wanted, unwanted, these are North Carolinians. And we believe that these North Carolinians should be protected by law.”
McElraft has also been a strong supporter of the state’s ABC system. She helped lead a coalition group that included voices from the faith community, legislators, and health and safety experts (Healthy Communities NC- Safeguarding Against Alcohol Harms) who believe it’s critical to resist privatizing liquor sales in the Tar Heel state.
“Privatization would not result in any downsizing of state government,” McElraft said during a press conference on the issue in 2019. What it could do, she said, is bring liquor sales to about 9,000 current beer and wine off-premises outlets that can operate from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. “When we formulate alcohol policy, we need to be mindful both of the responsible alcohol consumer, but also of the problem drinker,” she added. She said the Department of Health and Human Services’ website shows alcohol abuse as the third leading preventable cause of death in North Carolina.
“Rep. McElraft is a gem,” said Rev. Mark Creech, the Christian Action League’s executive director. “How do you feel if you lose a gem? You’re losing a treasure. She’s one in a million, precious, and highly valued – something difficult and almost impossible to replace.”
After serving five terms in the North Carolina House, Rep. Allen McNeill announced his retirement the first week in December.
Before serving in the legislature, McNeill served in the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office for nearly thirty years. In a statement on his retirement from the legislature, McNeill said:
“It has been the privilege and honor of my life to have served the citizens of Randolph and Moore County these past nine-plus years…having helped hundreds of people through the years with a variety of different issues…I will miss the joy of helping people and passing legislation to make our lives better. With my time at the Sheriff’s Office and the legislature, I have been involved in public service for approximately forty-five years…I am sure that God has other important work for me, and I look forward to starting another phase of life after December 31. 2022.”
Rep. McNeill was the champion of HB 229 – Church Tax Exemption/Driving Privileges, which passed and was signed by then-Governor Pat McCrory.
A religious property tax exemption bill, the legislation closed loopholes in the tax laws allowing church property to be taxed when in construction and unoccupied. The measure specifically exempted church buildings under construction and the land on which they are being constructed from local property taxes, if the structure was intended to be wholly and exclusively used by its owner for religious purposes upon completion. The legislation also added a provision for a limited driving privilege authorizing a person with a revoked driver’s license to drive to church for worship services.
McNeill also championed two different bills, one in 2019 and another in 2021, addressing cockfighting in the state. Both bills passed the North Carolina House with strong support. However, they both stalled in the N.C. Senate Rules Committee and never moved forward.
“I always thought these cockfighting measures were of no small consequence. Cockfighting is a thriving underground, lawless business in this state, which is associated with drugs, gambling, and human trafficking. We have some laws against it, but what was proposed would update these laws – something badly needed. Even though such efforts were not successful, we are grateful for Rep. McNeill, with his law enforcement background, helping with this issue,” said Creech.
Rep. Larry Pittman stated his promise not to run again for re-election before the last election, saying it would be his last term of service. Pittman, re-elected in 2020, promised that he would only serve five terms.
Pittman is widely known for making controversial statements that sometimes make some of his own Republican colleagues distance themselves from him. However, Rev. Creech says the man has been solid on Christian values.
“Whether it’s a pro-life issue, religious liberty, traditional marriage, HB 2, gun rights, alcohol and gambling, whatever, we could always count on Rep. Pittman to be on the right side and to be unabashedly bold about it,” said Creech. “We appreciate this conservative Presbyterian minister for his strong, principled stand for his Savior and biblical values.”
Creech added he hopes Christians would work and pray to see that the persons who replace these retiring lawmakers are of good report and share the League’s Christian values.