PILOT LIGHT: House Elects Hackney Speaker
Lawmakers followed their script Wednesday and elected Rep. Joe Hackney speaker of the state House of Represent-atives.
A party-line vote, 68-52, elevated Hackney from House majority leader to speaker. A 14-term Democrat from Orange County, Hackney defeated Republican nominee Paul Stam of Wake County, the House minority leader.
Hackney represents District 54, which includes Cameron Precinct and part of Carthage Precinct in Moore County. Chatham County and part of Orange County make up the rest of the district.
"I do not come to this position as a neophyte," Hackney said in accepting the position. "I'm no flash in the pan. I am acutely aware that I will need the advice of all of you."
BOYLAN -- The opening session Wednesday marked more than one change in the state House.
Rep. Joe Boylan, the Pinehurst Republican who defeated former Co-Speaker Richard Morgan, was sworn into office for his first term. He represents District 52, which includes most of Moore County
Rep. Jim Black, the Mecklenburg County Democrat who preceded Hackney as speaker, remains in the legislature this session but relinquished his leadership role, an office he had held for four terms.
It was Hackney who spearheaded a movement to implement ethics rules designed to correct a number of issues shadowing Black's latest term in office. Under pressure from his own party, Black withdrew last year as a candidate for a fifth term as speaker.
Rep. Hugh Holliman of Davidson County is the new majority leader.
SENATE -- Over in the Senate, little news was made Wednesday.
The Senate re-elected Marc Basnight for an eighth term as president pro tem. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue is the presiding officer for that chamber.
Basnight, a Democrat from Dare County, defeated Republican minority leader Phil Berger of Rockingham County.
Pinehurst Republican Harris Blake represents Senate District 22, which encompasses Moore and Harnett counties.
SPIN -- Southern Pines will be highlighted on the statewide television program "NC SPIN" on Sunday, Jan. 28, in the Raleigh and Charlotte television markets.
The program will air statewide on other television channels. Consult www.ncspin.com for complete statewide listings.
NC SPIN is North Carolina's only independently produced statewide television talk show. It highlights current issues important to the state. Part of the program, a segment called "Carolina Communities," will feature the history and main attractions of Southern Pines.
NC SPIN first aired in September 1998 on station FOX 50 in Raleigh. Now in its eighth year of production, the show is aired 28 times each week on 16 television stations and cable systems all across North Carolina. Thirteen radio stations air a version of the show weekly, reaching a total estimated audience of 250,000.
The program's longevity is attributed to several unique elements, according to Executive Producer and Moderator, Tom Campbell.
"First, we are current. Topics are selected and even revised just before taping each week," Campbell said. "In addition, we present only issues about North Carolina, topics that often don't make the newspapers or television news."
Each week, the half-hour program features four hot-button issues relevant to North Carolina, discussed by four expert panelists. NC SPIN is recorded using a "live-on-tape" format, ensuring that the program is completely unrehearsed. Topics range from state and local government issues to education, transportation, health, and taxes.
MOORE DEMS -- Moore County Democrats will hold precinct meetings countywide on Tuesday, Feb. 20.
Democratic Party Chairman George H. Wilson Jr. said that annually Democrats hold their precinct meetings at their polling places or another public location within the precinct. This is the time when the precinct is organized for the next election season and officers are elected.
Wilson said that attending a precinct meeting is the first step toward becoming a delegate to the county convention, district and state conventions.
"Our commitment is building a stronger county party from the ground up," Wilson said. "We must have strong precinct leadership in order for that to happen. The key to getting any Democrats elected will be strong precincts. We're more determined than ever to make that happen in 2008."
For additional information about precinct meetings, interested Democrats can call Mike Cox, county vice-president, at 695-0542 or 947-1933.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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