NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – A candidate running for NC Senate took aim at a local county commissioner in a recent debate hosted by WECT.
Deb Butler is running for the District 9 seat and recently spoke out about New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger.
Butler made the comments after she was asked whether or not she would sponsor legislation allowing local governments to recall an elected official.
Butler said, "We know very candidly and very first hand, right here in our own midst, what It means when somebody is completely incapable of serving their community. When they don't show up to meetings, when they appear to have arguably a mental challenge or disorder of some sort. Something that hampers their ability to serve. We see it here on our county commission and that body is hamstrung by an individual is apparently incapable."
Butler told WECT.com that she was referring to Berger. She said he has not been acting in the public's best interest during his time as commissioner.
Berger has been admonished by fellow county commissioners and county leaders for his tardiness, failure to pay off dues owed to the county and run-ins with the law.
Butler used the words "mentally-challenged" when referring to Berger's state of mind at the debate.
Butler said she did not have second thoughts about making the comments at the debate.
"I have been accused of being a straight shooter," said Butler. "I have empathy for Mr. Berger. I'm not a health care professional, but I have to say if you evaluate the facts and you're one that self injures and sends photographs of that clearly have stability issues."
In an interview, Berger fired back at Butler.
"If she wants to call me mentally ill, if she wants to make fun of mentally ill people, I can't support that," she said. "Trust me. I've seen therapists, every remark that I've gotten has been consistent. At the time, I was depressed."
He said she should focus on her race and the problems facing the state.
"This shows very poor judgment on her part, a very poor understanding of the role of the office she is running for and she should probably rethink her decision to run," Berger said.
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