Local women's advocacy group responds to PAC's social media attacks

Zach Vance • Apr 10, 2018 at 9:53 AM

Women Matter Northeast Tennessee issued a press release Monday condemning a political action committee’s attempts to criticize its Vice Chair Mickii Carter for inviting Washington County mayoral candidate Joe Grandy to a meet and greet event, which has since been canceled. 

Beginning April 3, the Facebook page Taxpayers Fighting Back in Washington County, which openly supports mayoral candidate Mark Ferguson, posted a screen shot of Carter’s Facebook page announcing the meet-and-greet event.

On Monday, Grandy said he was asked to attend the event, not by Carter, but by another community member, who was coordinating the event.  

The Taxpayers Fighting Back in Washington County post stated, “Friends, just last month former Johnson City Mayor Liberal Democrat Mickii Carter had a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, an organization that supports the sale of aborted baby body parts. Now, she is having a meet and greet in support of mayor candidate Joe Grandy. Washington County deserves better. We support a real conservative Republican Mark Ferguson for mayor.” 

The Facebook page then posted at least a dozen other screen shots from Carter’s personal Facebook page, attempting to correlate her views with Grandy. Some of Carter’s posts criticized state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, and her support for Planned Parenthood. 

“The officers of Women Matter Northeast Tennessee are both shocked and alarmed at recent and very public attacks involving our Vice-Chair and former Mayor of Johnson City, Mickii Carter, on behalf of those who are working to elect Mark Ferguson as Mayor of Washington County,” the Women Matter Northeast Tennessee press release stated. 

“As a private citizen who is not seeking election to public office we believe that these scurrilous attacks on Ms Carter are vile and lack the personal ethical code that should be expected from any citizen working on behalf of political candidate. It is our hope that Mr. Ferguson denounces both the tactics and continued public insults that are being propagated on his behalf.”

The press release also references another posting where the PAC allegedly used a photo from Carter’s page from a September 2017 art show Breaking the Silence: A Survivor’s Art Show, which is designed to educate, inform and train those dealing with sexual violence. 

The Johnson City Press could not find that image on the PAC’s social media page, but the press release stated, “We find the use of the photograph for political purposes to be misleading at best, and reprehensible at worst. A friend of Mr. Ferguson’s chose to display the image of victims/survivors mocking Mr. Ferguson’s rival for elected office.”

In response to the Women Matter press release, Taxpayers Fighting Back in Washington County wrote a message on Facebook stating, “No matter what we say, it will not be properly printed in the liberal Johnson City Press. Only if something offends a small liberal group will your paper cover the story. Mark Ferguson has absolutely nothing to do with our group. The issue we had with Mickii Carter has nothing to do with this group Women Matter. All women matter, as well as all people matter. The issue we have is that Mickii Carter who has posted very negative attacks on her public Facebook page.” 

The group also said it supports Biblical marriage, pro-life from conception to the end of life, low taxes and limited government. 

The person representing the PAC would not identify themselves, but the PAC’s treasurer and secretary is listed as Alpha Bridger, who attended Ferguson’s press conference last week. 

The Women Matter statement asks Ferguson use his public forum to speak out against the “reprehensible actions on his behalf and to express his support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.” 

“Should Mr. Ferguson neglect to stand with victims, the officers of Women Matter Northeast Tennessee invite the citizens of this region to remember this on election day. Our region should be represented by officials who prioritize “the least of these” in our communities,” the release stated. 

Ferguson did not respond to a Press inquiry seeking comment. 

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