By Hunter Hines
Christian Action League
October 2, 2015
RALEIGH – Just before the North Carolina General Assembly adjourned for the year, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam dropped a bombshell, announcing he would not seek reelection in 2016. Stam said he still has “a big list to get done” and would finish out the legislative biennium when it returns in April of 2016.
Stam is currently serving his eighth term in the North Carolina House, representing the 37th district. He was first elected in 1989, serving a single term, and then again in 2003. He served as House Minority leader from 2007-2010, the House Majority Leader from 2011-2012, and the Speaker Pro Tem to the present.
As Speaker Pro-Tem, his position is very strategic. He ranks as the second most powerful lawmaker in the House, just under the Speaker.
Rep. Stam is a devout Christian and a member of Apex Baptist Church, where he has served as the church’s Chairman of Deacons, as well the chair for numerous other committees. He has served as a Trustee for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest (1988-1998) and the Chair of their Doctoral Studies Committee (1990-1997). He has served as a Trustee of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (2005-2009). His Christian service also included stints as the Chairman of the Constitution Committee of the Raleigh Baptist Association (1982-1984) and Parliamentarian for the North Carolina Baptist State Convention (1996-2007).
Stam said when he first arrived at the legislature he had a long action list he wanted to accomplish. “But the longer I stayed, the longer the list grew,” he said. He added he now sees that he’ll never get to the end of that list.
The Apex lawmaker is well-known as a stalwart for conservative Christian values. He has spearheaded legislation that has significantly limited so-called abortion rights in the state. He was in the vanguard of the passage of legislation and a ballot initiative to define marriage as one man and one woman in the state’s constitution – a measure the U.S. Supreme Court erroneously ruled as unconstitutional in June. He has also orchestrated the use of public funds for low income and disabled children to attend private schools.
As an attorney, Stam assisted the Christian Action League in three lawsuits knocking down unconstitutional alcohol laws that circumvent local option alcohol referenda: Reaves vs. North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, Frazier vs. North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, and Swain County vs. North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
Tami Fitzgerald, head of the North Carolina Values Coalition and former chairperson for Vote for Marriage N.C., said that she was saddened at the news of Stam’s departure. She lauded him as an “all-around great legislator,” and said, “Many of our victories are due to his hard work, diligence and conviction.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said the news of Stam’s decision not to seek reelection was troubling for him.
“I am concerned for what it means for the cause of Christ. I understand that he can serve that cause in other ways, but I believe Skip was born for what he’s been doing in the legislature. He is a superb strategist with a superior command of the issues, placed by God in a most tactical position. He has a brilliant mind and is well-seasoned with experience. Most importantly, he has the Spirit of God. I respect his decision, but I don’t like it. It creates a vacuum that I fear cannot be filled in this critical hour,” said Dr. Creech.
Dr. Creech urged supporters of the Christian Action League to pray for Stam. He also said that earnest prayers should start now for Stam’s replacement.