But this bipartisanship is not a completely selfless act on Black's part -- it might be a necessary move for him to retain the speaker's post.
The Democrats have a four-seat majority in the House, and Black has competition from members of his own party and Republicans. Rep. Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, and Rep. Connie Wilson, R-Mecklenburg, also are running for speaker.
Danny Lineberry, a spokesman for Black, said this is not the first time Black has shared power with the Republicans.
"(In 1998), the three Republicans who voted for him were all named committee chairs," Lineberry said.
In the 1998 session, black Democrats and most Republicans, dissatisfied with the distribution of committee assignments, banded together and tried to elect Rep. Dan Blue, D-Wake, speaker.
But Orange County Democrats Rep. Verla Insko and House Speaker Pro Tem Joe Hackney, had mixed feelings on the proposed power sharing.
Insko said the almost even split in the House will make bipartisanship mandatory. "When a bill gets to the floor, it's going to be hard for the Democrats to pass a bill by themselves, and it's going to be hard for the Republicans to pass a bill by themselves," Insko said. "It makes sense for us to be working together."
Insko said she trusts Black's judgment in choosing committee heads. "He will pick the right people," she said.
But Hackney was more impartial.