Deborah Ross Starts Off The Week Defending Her ACLU Career

Deborah Ross Starts Off The Week Defending Her ACLU Career 

Raleigh, NC — For the second week in a row Deborah Ross’ opposition to the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry was the subject of a Sunday front page story in North Carolina. The Winston-Salem Journal dove into Ross’ critical comments about the registry during her time as the head of the ACLU and her fight against the bill that created the registry.

Bottom Line: Ross fought against a bill that simply established the sex offender registry so that members of the public are aware of the convicted offenders in their community. Ross didn’t “always” support a sex offender registry and her lobbying against the bill and subsequent critical comments make that clear. Any objection to the registry being available to public is an outright objection to the intended purpose of the registry. 

Winston-Salem Journal:

“As the director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, Deborah Ross used to summarize the organization’s lobbying efforts at the state General Assembly.

“Well, we emerged from this session of the General Assembly bruised but not beaten and with a few real victories to our credit,” Ross said in a memo, dated Aug. 5, 1995.

“Twenty-one years later, Ross, a Raleigh lawyer and former state legislator, is running as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Richard Burr of Winston-Salem, who is seeking a third term.

“And the 1995 memo has been dug up by Burr to brand Ross as a radical who cares more for the rights of criminals than the rights of victims. In particular, a three-sentence summary of the ACLU’s lobbying effort concerning the establishment of a sex-offender registry has been used as fodder for a barrage of TV attack ads launched last week by Burr as well as a counter-punch TV ad by Ross.

“The ads mark a turning point in a race that has been largely overshadowed by the presidential and gubernatorial races, according to political and public affairs experts.

“Burr, referencing the memo written by Ross, says that she opposed the registry.

‘I think her record doesn’t match the values of a majority of North Carolinians,’ Burr told the Winston-Salem Journal.

“‘I haven’t put words in her mouth. I haven’t used words that haven’t been printed, that are direct quotes of her or something that she wrote. I’m sorry for her that she said it. I disagree with it.

“‘But the fact is that she did it, and I think it gives an indication of exactly what she would do were she elected,’ Burr said. 

“Louden said that the latest duel between Burr and Ross could also be a defining moment.

“‘Most people don’t have much of a sense of who the candidates are. She doesn’t have much of an identity. In that sense, it could be very powerful. Also it’s taking place in a Trump world, in what I call a Nixon law-and-order world on steroids.

“‘In that context — law and order and rape and security — it seems that something that says, ‘You’re not protecting us,’ works,’ Louden said.

“‘The Burr ad is powerful,’ said Billy Warden, a co-founder of the marketing and public affairs company GBW Strategies, based in Raleigh. ‘It’s so powerful to see that soldier say she was raped. You pay attention to that.”