By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — The N.C. Senate is losing one of its most well-known and powerful members as Sen. Tony Rand steps down to accept an appointment on the state parole commission.
The Fayetteville Democrat and Wake County native who worked as a Senate page as an eighth-grader was appointed to the body in 1981 and won office the next year. An unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor in 1988 didn’t keep him away for long as he was re-elected in 1995, became majority leader in 2001 and has consistently ranked as the Senate’s second most effective member next to president pro tem Marc Basnight.
A partner in the law firm of Rand & Gregory in Fayetteville, the 70-year-old will begin his duties early next year as chairman of the three-member Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, a full-time job that reportedly pays more than $100,000.
Rand told WRAL that he feels it’s time to move on and that he appreciates Gov. Beverly Perdue giving him the “opportunity for a new challenge.”
Rand’s departure will open up a number of leadership posts in the Senate as he is currently chairman of the Rules and Operations committee, vice-chairman of Commerce and a member of several other committees including Finance, Health Care and Judiciary 1.
“The Senate will surely be a different place without my friend Tony Rand,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Though we often disagreed on the issues, I appreciated his passion and wit and could count on him to stand by his word. He always kept an open door, as well as an open mind, to the concerns of the Christian Action League.”
In addition to Rand, two more Tar Heel lawmakers — Sen. Jim Jacumin and Rep. Ray Warren — have recently announced that they will not seek re-election next year. Both cited a desire to spend more time with family.
“I’ve always tried to put God first, family second and country third,” Jacumin told the Lenoir News-Topic. “We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary a year ago. Everything I’ve been able to do, she has been a part of it. I told her, ‘We’ve got to put you first now.’”
Warren told the Hickory Daily Record that after serving as Alexander County Sheriff and then two terms in the Legislature, he hoped to travel less and spend more time with his wife who is set to retire at year’s end.
Sen. Jacumin, who lives in Connelly Springs and represents Burke and Caldwell counties in the 44th District, is the retired founder of Jacumin Engineering & Machine Company (JEMCO) and started I-Tex Inc. (now Omara Textiles). At 73, he is finishing his third term in the N.C. Senate. He said among the bills he’s most proud of helping to push through is one to prevent disorderly conduct at military funerals and another that helped eliminate costly duplication of machinery inspections. As for his disappointments, he said he fought “tooth and nail” against the lottery and was ashamed of being present when it passed. He has pushed for the “Endangered Manufacturing Act” that he said would have created hundreds of jobs for North Carolina. While it has passed the Senate and got a thumbs up from House Committees, it has never made it to the House floor for debate.
“Senator Jacumin has not only been a good friend of the Christian Action League, but a fine Christian brother. I’ve watched him work diligently for the faith and values believers hold dear,” said the Rev. Creech. “He has fought hard alongside Senator Jim Forrester to get a marriage amendment to North Carolina’s constitution that would define marriage as ‘one man and one woman.’”
“His conviction to leave office is even demonstrated by his strong Christian priorities — his commitment to family,” he added. “I earnestly pray God will replace him with someone as devout as himself.”
Jacumin has served as a member of the Appropriations on Natural and Economic Resources Committee, Appropriations/Base Budget Committee as well as the committees on Commerce, Health Care, Judiciary II, and Mental Health & Youth Services.
Elected Sheriff of Alexander County in 1990, Warren retired from that post in 2002 and is serving his second term in the House. He cited funding for the N.C. Center for Engineering and Technologies in Hickory as well as the building of a prison that employs some 65 workers in Alexander County among his accomplishments during office.
The Rev. Creech commended Warren for a good job as chairman of the House ABC Committee, but questioned his stance on the School Violence Prevention bill.
“Rep. Ray Warren, I believe, made a critical mistake when he wouldn’t vote against the pro-homosexual ‘bullying bill.’ He ‘walked’ on that critical legislation not only once, but twice. That probably would have seriously hurt him at the polls in 2010,” said the Rev. Creech. “Serving what is largely a very conservative district, I think he was out of touch with his constituents. They wanted a resounding ‘No’ vote on that measure.” Nonetheless, Creech said he deserves respect and appreciation for his public service.
In addition to his role as Chairman of the Alcoholic Beverage Control committee, Warren has served as vice-chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety and also vice-chairman of Judiciary III. He is a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Committee on Education, the Education Subcommittee on Community Colleges and committees on Homeland Security, Military, Veterans Affairs and Water Resources and Infrastructure.