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RESOLUTION BY WINSTON-SALEM COUNCIL OPPOSES CITIZENS UNITED
Winston-Salem City Council voted 5-2 on Monday night to approve a resolution opposing the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision. A compromise between Councilman James Taylor Jr., the resolution’s sponsor, and Councilman Dan Besse, passed with little discussion following about three months of shuttling to and from committee and wrangling over language and intent. The changes were made to address reservations expressed by Besse and garner his vote for the majority.
“When you start to see federally, on the state level and even locally in other cities that money was being placed over the people, I think this resolution sent a clear signal to everyone in our city that we won’t put money over people, that people matter,” Taylor said. In addition to Taylor and Besse, the resolution garnered support from council members Vivian Burke, Denise D. Adams and Derwin Montgomery. Robert Clark and Wanda Merschel voted against the measure. Councilwoman Molly Leight, who had earlier expressed support for the resolution, was absent from the meeting.
With approval of the resolution, Winston- Salem joins Greensboro and other cities in opposing the controversial Supreme Court ruling, which allowed so-called “super PACs” to spend unlimited cash in media advertising buys to influence elections as long as the expenditures are not coordinated with any candidate.
To appease Besse the resolution also removed language stating, erroneously, that the Citizens United decision “declared corporations to be persons.”