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One News Now

Senate Republicans Choose to Keep Berger as President Pro-Tempore

By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
December 12, 2014

Senate President Pro-Tempore, Phil Berger

Senate President Pro-Tempore, Phil Berger

RALEIGH – During the last week in November, the Christian Action League reported that House Republicans had selected Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) to serve as the next House Speaker. Thursday, North Carolina Senate Republicans selected Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) to continue as the Senate President Pro-Tempore during the next legislative biennium.

Because Republicans hold 34 of the State Senate’s 50 seats, the decision by Republicans is virtually guaranteed to give Berger the victory when the Legislature reconvenes on January 14th.

“We’re seeing the North Carolina General Assembly’s leadership taking shape now,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “The Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro-Tempore hold the power to direct the consideration of bills – what will be heard and when – whether it will be heard or not – and sometimes even whether a measure will receive sufficient or insufficient support if heard.”

Sen. Berger is the first Republican Senate leader in more than a century in North Carolina.

He represents the 26th District, including Guilford and Rockingham counties.

He was elected in 2000. He was elected by Republicans as Senate Minority Leader in 2004 and would rise to Senate President Pro-Tempore in 2011 – the first time Republicans took charge of the state’s legislature in 140 years.

Berger has a degree in sociology from Averett University and a law degree from Wake Forest University.

“Senator Berger is a Class A Act,” said Dr. Creech. “He is truly a statesman and a man of remarkable character. He is reasonable and balanced in his considerations. And he has never been dismissive of any matter that on behalf of the League’s concerns I brought to his attention. Every time I have ever spoken to him – every time – I always felt that I received a fair hearing on a matter. That speaks volumes about his leadership to me. I don’t expect agreement on each issue. I understand that dynamic of the legislative process. But don’t ignore me or the interests I represent. That’s an egregious public-policy sin in a representative republic, I think, for any leader. Berger is not that way.”

Republicans also selected Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) to continue as Senate Majority Leader. Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) was selected as Majority Whip. And Senator Louis Pate (R-Wayne) was nominated to remain as Deputy Pro-Tem.