Many of you know I was sworn in to office as NC Senator for District 25 ( Anson, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland and Stanly Counties) in my hometown of Rockingham on Friday, January 4, 2013. It has been a busy and productive first week. I attended the Hunt Institute Legislators’ Retreat in Pinehurst on Sunday and Monday. Former Governors Jim Hunt and Jim Holshouser Co-Chair this annual retreat which brings together leaders in public education from across the country. It gives legislators like myself the opportunity to engage in open and constructive dialogue about important education issues facing North Carolina.
On Wednesday, January 9, I joined my fellow NC Senate colleagues on the historic Senate Chamber floor in the Legislative Building in Raleigh for opening day ceremonies. The Senate unanimously reelected Senator Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore and approved rules as proposed by Senator Tom Apodaca, Senate Rules Chair.
One interesting new rule this year prevents lobbyists from being on the Senate floor for 15 minutes after each session.
There are 15 new senators, including myself, beginning their first term this year. I joined other Senate Democrats after our organizational session to meet with Governor Pat McCrory and his staff to discuss several pressing issues facing North Carolina state government. On a personal note, Governor McCrory and I had a few minutes to discuss transitioning from our roles as mayors to Governor and state senator. I also was pleased to meet briefly with former Representative Fred Steen of Rowan County who is now Legislative Liaison for the Governor.
After the organizational session, the Senate recessed until January 30 when we will return to Raleigh. President Pro Tempore Berger announced committee appointments. I was very pleased with the committees I have been appointed to which are as follows:
Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources (Policy Committee)
Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources
Pensions, Retirement and Aging
State and Local Government
As we prepare for the 2013 Legislative Session, I will remain focused on building relationships and working with others on a bi-partisan basis to formulate good public policy and a balanced budget that will put hard working NC citizens back to work, educate our children and prepare them for sustainable careers, and help existing small businesses to grow and expand.
Finally, I want to thank retiring Senator Bill Purcell for his dedicated service to the citizens of our district and state. Senator Purcell is so well respected and leaves big shoes to fill as I begin my duties as your state senator. He has been a tremendous help to me during the past few months as I have transitioned from being Mayor of Rockingham to NC Senator for the 25th District. I am excited about this opportunity to serve the citizens of Anson, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland, and Stanly Counties.
Please reach out to my office if we can assist you on state legislative matters. My Legislative Assistant, Katie Stanley will manage my office year-round and will serve as the first point of contact in Raleigh. She will be accepting Senate page applications on a first-come, first-serve basis if your 10th, 11th, or 12th grade student is interested in serving. We can be reached at 919-733-5953 or by email at Gene.McLaurin@ncleg.net and firstname.lastname@example.org (Katie Stanley).
I am truly honored to be serving the people of this district and look forward to working with you and hearing your ideas and suggestions on ways we can make North Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family.