State legislators headed back to Raleigh on Wednesday, January 24th for the start of the 2007 legislative session, which is expected to last until mid-summer.
I was one of 120 State Representatives and 50 State Senators from across North Carolina who was sworn into office at noon. I am honored by the trust and support of my constituents who once again have given me the opportunity to serve my district and our state in the General Assembly. Eastern North Carolina faces some significant challenges, and I will work hard each and every day to ensure that our children are educated, our families are healthy and safe, and our economic future is bright.
As our first order of business, House members elected Rep. Joe Hackney of Orange County as the new Speaker of the House. Hackney, who is beginning his 14th term in the House, replaces outgoing four-term Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg. He was elected speaker by a vote of 68 to 52, with all Republicans voting for Republican Minority Leader Skip Stam, R-Wake. Rep. William Wainwright, D-Craven, was elected Speaker Pro Tempore. Rep. Hugh Holliman, D-Davidson, who was previously selected by the House Democratic Caucus, will serve as House Majority Leader. Democrats now hold a 68-52 advantage over Republicans in the House, and a 31-19 advantage in the Senate.
My top priorities this year will continue to be improving our children’s education, making health care more affordable and accessible for all North Carolinians, strengthening our economy and creating good paying jobs, and reducing crime to make our neighborhoods safer. I will continue to work on creating jobs and economic development in Northampton, Vance and Warren Counties and funding for the Advanced Vehicle Research Center, Carolina Crossroads and other needed projects.
Legislators will soon begin work on writing the state’s two-year budget. In the coming weeks and months, my colleagues and I will examine the growing needs of our state, which is now the 10th largest in the nation. We will determine which programs must receive state funding and which can be eliminated or slimmed down and made more efficient in order to save taxpayer money.
Please remember that you can find additional information on the General Assembly, such as introduced bills and live audio from each day’s session, committee meetings or press conferences, at www.ncleg.net. As always, I hope you will continue to let me know how you feel about the issues that are being debated by legislators and the challenges you and your family are facing each day.
Please feel free to contact me in Raleigh at:
Phone: (919) 733-5662
Fax: (919) 754-3155
Mail: 533 Legislative Office Building, Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
By working together, we can make Northampton, Vance and Warren Counties and all regions of North Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks on top issues confronting lawmakers…
A few numbers to consider as the 2007 session begins:
* House Makeup: 68 Democrats, 52 Republicans (2005-06 session: 63 Democrats, 57 Republicans)
* Senate Makeup: 31 Democrats, 19 Republicans (2005-06 session: 29 Democrats, 21 Republicans)
* House Freshmen: 17 (8 Democrats, 9 Republicans)
* Senate Freshmen: 4 (3 Democrats, 1 Republican)
* Female Legislators in House: 36 (24 Democrats, 12 Republicans; +5 over the 2005-06 session)
* African American Legislators in House: 20
* Native American Legislators in House: 1 (Sutton)
* Hispanic Legislators in House: 1 (McComas)
* Number of Former House Speakers who will be members of the chamber: 3
* Number of Legislators in House with Military Experience: 35
For other interesting facts about legislators in the N.C. House, go to: this Web address.