By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
September 1, 2016
RALEIGH – Some membership and role changes have recently occurred in the North Carolina General Assembly.
With the exit of former House Majority Leader, Rep. Mike Hagar (R-Rutherfordton), House Republicans elected Rep. John Bell (Craven, Greene, Lenoir, Wayne) on Tuesday as the new House Majority Leader.
Bell has served two terms in the House. He is Chairman of the House Regulatory Reform Committee and the House Select Committee on Wildlife Resources.
Before being elected as Majority Leader, Bell served as the House Majority Whip. The word “Whip” is an old hunting expression derived from “whipping in” – something used to keep hounds from straying from the pack. As the “Whip” for the House majority, Bell’s job was to ensure discipline – to use inducements and even threats, if needed, to keep members of the majority in line with the party’s objectives.
Bell said, “While serving as Majority Whip, I was able to get to know each and every one of my colleagues in the House and learn the concerns and needs of their districts. I have listened to all factions within our Caucus and strived to ensure each member’s voice was heard throughout the legislative process.”
As the new House Majority Leader, Bell becomes the spokesperson for the majority party – the political party in control of the House Chamber.
Bell said as Majority Leader he hopes to promote effective communication and unity among his Republican colleagues.
“Let me be very clear, the Republican majority is not at stake” said Bell about the coming election. “We will out work our opposition. We have better candidates. We have a better message of economic growth, improved teacher salaries, and a more business-friendly regulatory landscape that will attract voters on Election Day.”
To replace Bell as the House Majority Whip, House Republicans elected Rep. Dean Arp (Union). Arp said in a Press release he was honored to serve in this new role. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to improve the lives of the people of North Carolina by focusing on jobs, the economy, and education,” he said.
On Tuesday, the General Assembly also received Governor McCrory’s official appointment of David Rogers, who will serve out the rest of Rep. Hagar’s term. McCrory also appointed Justin Moore who will finish the term of Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg), who resigned in July. Rogers and Moore’s terms will end in December.
In November, Rogers’ will face unaffiliated candidate, Ben Edwards, for the same seat to which he has now been appointed. Moore will finish Jeter’s term, but the Republican Party chose Danae Caulfield for the ballot on Election Day. Caulfield will face Democratic nominee Chaz Beasley.
In the North Carolina Senate, Chuck Edwards, has been appointed by Governor McCrory to finish the term of Senator Tom Apodaca (R-Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania), who resigned in July. Edwards is already running for the seat that formerly belonged to the powerful Senate Rules Chairman.
Back in July, Edwards told BludeRidgeNow.com, “I’m not a politician and I’ve never run for public office. I’m a businessman who has balanced budgets and signed paychecks. I’ve seen first-hand the challenges working families and job creators face every day, and I want to make sure the same opportunities that were available to me are available to anyone who works hard and puts in their time.
“I’ve always believed in public service and tried to find ways to make a difference for our region. I believe I can do that by representing Henderson, Buncombe and Transylvania counties in the state Senate.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said that he believes both Bell and Arp will do a stupendous job in their new roles. He also said he looks forward to getting to know the latest new members, if lawmakers should reconvene before the 2017-2018 Legislative Biennium.