‘CAL has never had a better friend in the State Legislature,’ says executive director
By L.A. Williams,
Correspondent Christian Action League
January 7, 2012
RALEIGH — A gain for the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources means a loss for the N.C. Legislature as Rep. Mitch Gillespie (R-McDowell) announced his resignation from the House effective Jan. 6 to become an assistant secretary of DENR.
“The Christian Action League has never had a better friend in the State Legislature than Rep. Gillespie,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, the league’s executive director. “Quite frankly, though we have never had any need to carefully monitor his votes, I think if we checked we would find that he was with us 99.9 percent of the time.”
Perhaps most known for his near decade-long push for the state to offer a Choose Life license plate, Gillespie strongly advocated for marriage and also supported the state’s ban on video sweepstakes. He consistently voted to keep alcohol under control and opposed the state’s bullying bill, a thinly veiled effort to get special protections based on sexual preferences written into North Carolina law. He also worked with the Christian Action League to help protect abstinence-based sex education. “Gillespie’s experience, his commitment to Christian values, and his friendship are going to be greatly missed,” Dr. Creech said.
A Marion businessman with a background in surveying, civil engineering and land development, Gillespie, 53, has served in the House since 1999. His district includes Avery, McDowell and Mitchell counties.
A top budget writer and a backer of “fracking” — hydraulic fracturing for natural gas — Gillespie has often criticized DENR for not being “business friendly” and said that the agency’s “over-reaching power and authority” needed to be reined in. Last year, as chairman of the Environmental Review Commission, he led a number of regulatory reforms.
According to media reports, he’ll be one of three assistant secretaries at the agency.
Meanwhile, Republican party officials in District 85 will choose a replacement for Gillespie in the House.
In other House news, Rep. Angela Bryant (D-Franklin) of Rocky Mount will leave the House for the N.C. Senate, having been named to replace the late Ed Jones, who died in December.