By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
January 12, 2015
Longtime friend of the Christian Action League, Republican member of the North Carolina House, representing the 87th District, Rep. Edgar Starnes has resigned.
Starnes has served ten terms (20 years) in the North Carolina General Assembly. He has served as Chairman of the Banking Committee and the Committee on Travel and Tourism. He has co-chaired a study commission on municipal annexation, as well as served on the Finance, Commerce, Election Laws, Agriculture and Alcohol Beverage Control committees. His highest post of service was House majority leader.
Starnes is leaving his post as a member of the N.C. House to accept the position as senior policy advisor and legislative liaison for the state’s Treasurer, Janet Cowell. He is succeeding fellow GOP ex-Rep. William McGee who retired last summer.
Starnes told the Raleigh News and Observer he thought the job provided a good and new opportunity. “I don’t know how much more there is that I’m going to be able to do in the General Assembly,” he told the N&O.
After Thom Tillis decided to run for the U.S. Senate, Starnes became a candidate for the House Speaker’s position. He later changed his mind and decided to stay on as House majority leader. He tells the Christian Action League that he withdrew his name for majority leader after he was confident he would be taking the post with the Treasurer’s office.
Janet Cowell, the state’s Treasurer is a Democrat. Cowell served two terms as a Raleigh City Council member, as well as two terms as a Democratic member of the North Carolina Senate, representing Wake County.
“I think it would make sense that the state Treasurer would have a Republican as her eyes and ears in a Republican General Assembly, Starnes also told the N&O. “The elected position is a partisan office, but managing the state pension funds and the state health plan is a nonpartisan endeavor.”
Being a lifetime resident of Caldwell County, it will be the responsibility of the Caldwell County Republican Party to name Starnes’ successor. There is no word yet on when they will meet to nominate their replacement.
“Rep. Edgar Starnes is the end of an era as I see it,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “After him, there are no more “drys” as they were once called – no more lawmakers that I know in either the House or the Senate who believe as strongly as Starnes did in restricting access to alcohol. Starnes is the caboose on that train, and with his exit the train just traveled into the sunset.”
“I sincerely believe the Christian Action League has never had a better friend or advocate for the Christian values we fight for every day. He’s been a stalwart. He’s a genuine brother in Christ. Whether it was marriage and the family, religious liberty, the cause for life, America’s Christian heritage, substance abuse, gambling, pornography or alcohol control, Rep. Edgar Starnes was always on the right side of an issue. Furthermore, few could articulate so eloquently or boldly right principles. His resignation is sad news for me – very sad. He is my friend and I fear every conservative evangelical in North Carolina is going to feel the vacuum his leaving creates. Nevertheless, I earnestly congratulate him on his new position. I am thankful for everything he did for our state and his commitment to a strong Christian worldview. May God’s richest of blessings be with him and his family,” said Dr. Creech.
Starnes’ resignation is effective at noon, Tuesday, January 13th.