RALEIGH — State Rep. Garland Pierce is honoring the lives of two former lawmakers who died this week.
Rep. Ralph Johnson, D-Greensboro, passed away Tuesday following a stroke. Earline Parmon, a congressional aide and former lawmaker who was elected Forsyth County’s first African-American state senator, died Tuesday at age 72.
She served as outreach director for U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, D-Greensboro, and resigned from the North Carolina Senate in early 2015.
Pierce, D-Scotland, released a Wednesday statement honoring Parmon in his role as chairman of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.
“She was a crusader for the people,” Pierce said. “She always fought for justice and the least among us. Former Sen. Earline Parmon was an advocate for education and young people. She wanted them to be successful and responsible citizens. Earline was well respected by caucus members and the community and she will be missed.”
Parmon was elected to represent N.C. Senate District 32 in 2012. She had previously served five terms representing District 72 in the N.C. House.
During her time in the General Assembly, Parmon championed a number of bills, including payments for victims of the state’s eugenics program and the Racial Justice Act, which allowed defendants on death row to challenge their sentences if they could prove that race was a significant factor in decisions to seek or impose the death penalty at the time of their trials.
In 2014, Johnson was appointed to serve out the remaining term of U.S. Rep. Alma Adams in the North Carolina House of Representatives. In 2015, he was elected to the seat.
“Representative Ralph Johnson arrived and hit the ground running,” Pierce said in a Thursday statement. “Thirty-two bills co-sponsored by him were signed into law. He was a good, hardworking man with a big heart. I speak for all the members of the Legislative Black Caucus, we will miss Ralph here at the General Assembly.”
The N.C. Legislative Black Caucus is an unincorporated association of senators and representatives of African-American and Native American heritage. Its primary purpose is to operate as a vehicle through which blacks and people of color in North Carolina can exercise their political power in a unified manner.