State Rep. Garland Pierce has been elected to lead the Legislative Black Caucus in 2013.
Pierce ran unopposed for House District 48 in the last election. After redistricting, District 48 includes parts of the Richmond County areas of Marston, Hoffman, Ellerbe, Dobbins Heights and Hamlet.
The 32-member caucus selected the Scotland County Democrat during its biannual meeting last week. Pierce had most recently served as the group’s chaplain.
Also elected were Sen. Earline Parmon, 1st vice chairman; State Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, 2nd vice chairman; State Rep. Angela Bryant, secretary; State Rep. Annie Mobley, treasurer; State Rep. Kelly Alexander, parliamentarian; and Sen. Don Davis, chaplain.
“I am excited that my peers would give me the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” Pierce said. “I realize that all of them have the ability to be chairman and that is why this is such a honor and a privilege.”
Pierce said he will use his two-year term as chairman to support education and economic development.
“We want to keep a watch on how the state funds pre-K through 12 grades as well as our colleges and universities,” Pierce said. “We will be mindful that we have fully funded enrollment as well as funds for need-based tuition assistance and historically black colleges.”
Pierce said that he would also work to support minority initiatives such as the NC Institute of Minority Economic Development.
But the caucus, which is heavily Democratic, will face a Republican-controlled General Assembly and governor’s mansion.
“We find ourselves in a new political arena,” Pierce said. “We must be vigilant and vocal when necessary as we work for the good of our constituents and all of North Carolina.”
Pierce said caucus members met with Gov.-elect Pat McCrory shortly after the election of officers.
“Mr. McCrory said that he will have an open door policy with us,” Pierce said. “We are well aware that there will be things that we agree on as well as things that we will disagree, but we appreciate the willingness to talk about issues.”
Pierce is a Baptist minister who represents portions of Scotland, Hoke, Robeson and Richmond counties. He will begin his fifth term in January.
In the past, Pierce has served as a member of the Appropriations; Commerce and Job Development; Health and Human Services; Mental Health; Insurance; Public Utilities; and Redistricting committees.