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Congressional Candidates Speak At Franklin Back The Blue Rally

Black Lives Matter protests across the nation have sparked rallies in support of law enforcement.


Hundreds turned out for the Back The Blue Rally hosted in part by Macon County Sheriff Robbie Holland. 


“We have people here from Jackson County, Macon County, Swain County, Clay County. We have people from all over who came out here to support us,” explains Holland.

 In the crowd you hear someone yell: “Andrews.”

“Yes, Andrews,” says Holland, referring to the Cherokee County town. 

Holland explained the event was scheduled in part because the department was not able to host their ceremony to honor fallen officers back in May. 


But some saw it as a counterprotest to Franklin’s recent Black Lives Matter rallies.

Near the beginning of the program, Holland read the names of all officers who were killed across North Carolina in the last year.. 


...“School Resources Officer Deputy Sypraseuth Phouangphrachanh, in Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina.14 years of service. Cause of death: COVID-19”...


Deputies from the Sheriff’s office sang, “Amazing Grace” and the National Anthem during the program. 

Holland addressed the crowd and asked that law enforcement not be lumped together with “bad apples.” 

“My badge is not tarnished, his badge is not tarnished, her badge is not tarnished. Don’t include us with those others,” says Holland, his wife, Marci, also spoke during the program. 

Community leaders and officials also spoke.

Michaela Blanton Lowe, whose husband,State Trooper David Shawn Blanton, was killed in the line of duty in 2008 explained what the family members of law enforcement also go through. 

The rally also drew the major party candidates for North Carolina's 11th congressional district.  Democrat Moe Davis spoke first about his years in the military: 

 “You’ve got my undying support for law enforcement in Western North Carolina,” says Davis. “When we did the Pledge of Allegiance earlier, the most important line to me is, 'one nation indivisible,’ because we are all in this together part of one community.”

Republican Madison Cawthorn followed by reading a letter from President Trump to Macon County in support of law enforcement:“These heroes are the thin blue line separating chaos and crime from justice and order...”


For his own speech, Cawthorn explained he was going to keep things peaceful but...


“That’s not really my style,” says Cawthron.


”Because right now the mob is pretty loud and they want to take our men and women in blue down and I say, 'no' to that!”

The 11th District seat is currently vacant following the resignation of Mark Meadows earlier this year to become President Trump’s chief of staff.


Lilly Knoepp is Senior Regional Reporter for Blue Ridge Public Radio. She has served as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina since 2018. She is from Franklin, NC. She returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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