Engaged in a tough re-election fight, North Carolina state Sen. Tamara Barringer on Tuesday became the first Republican lawmaker there to publicly call for the repeal of HB2, a controversial state law that prevents transgender people from using the public bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
“I did not realize the consequences of this bill, that it would have worldwide consequences, and they just keep piling up,” Barringer told Raleigh TV station WRAL. “So, at this point, I’m willing to stand up and say, ‘Let’s put the brakes on it. Let’s get together and find a common solution that we all can live with and move forward.'”
Barringer’s comments came after the NCAA announced it was pulling its championship games from North Carolina due to HB2. Barringer’s district was set to host two of those games, according to WRAL.
She told the news station that the NCAA announcement was not the only reason she came out against HB2, however.
“It was just one more of those unintended consequences,” she said. “Again, it’s reflecting wrong on the people of North Carolina. We are a people that have been together. We’re a people of innovation. We’re a people of inclusivity, not exclusivity. It’s giving the world, it’s giving the rest of the country, the wrong idea about North Carolina.”
Barringer is in a tight race against Democrat Susan Evans, a member of the Wake County school board. Barringer’s district encompasses the city of Cary and part of Wake County, outside of Raleigh.
Dustin Ingalls, Evans’ campaign manager, dismissed Barringer’s opposition to HB2 as a political play.
“A vote is a vote. When she voted for HB2 in March, Sen. Barringer knew what she was doing,” Ingalls told WRAL. “Only now that she’s in danger of losing her seat does she waffle. Her latest change of mind is certainly not a change of heart. It’s a purely political move designed to make voters forget that she is responsible for the loss of jobs and millions of dollars in economic investment in her district.”
Correction: The initial version of this post erroneously referred to the city of Cary as a county.