Following Sen. Ellie Kinnaird’s, D-Orange, resignation on Monday, the N.C. Democratic Party must find a replacement for one of the most liberal voices in the state legislature.
Kinnaird, who has served 17 years in the N.C. Senate, had said that she wanted a woman to take her seat. And at least a few women are already considering stepping up.
An executive committee composed of Democratic officials from Orange and Chatham counties will select an appointee, who will be confirmed by Gov. Pat McCrory. That person would serve until December. Alice Bordsen, a former representative from Alamance County who served in the N.C. House for a decade, is entering the selection process for Kinnaird’s vacated seat.
At Kinnaird’s request, Bordsen sent a letter to the committee indicating her willingness to complete her long-time friend’s term.
Bordsen decided not to run for re-election for 2013 because of her frustration with redistricting. She said she is able to take on the job.
“I have a deep involvement with Orange County and a long-time friendship with Sen. Kinnaird,” Bordsen said. “I think that because of that connection, I certainly have the ability to step into the job without any learning curve.”
Bordsen said that until the seat is filled, the constituent work will not be done.
“Her service will certainly be missed,” she said.
The N.C. Democratic Party Press Secretary Micah Beasley said the loss of a female senator would contribute to the lack of female representation the N.C. legislature.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 23 percent of N.C. legislators are female.
“We certainly need more female voices (at every level of politics),” Beasley said. “Alice Bordsen would be a talented person to draw on if she chose to seek the appointment.”
Rep. Valerie Foushee, D-Orange, told the Daily Tar Heel on Monday that she might be interested in the position but has not made any final decisions.
Rep. Verla Insko, the other Democrat representing Orange County, has decided not run for the position.
“I am very happy where I am,” Insko said. “I have a lot of responsibility in the House as a senior member. I am committed to that, and that is where I belong.”
Kinnaird resigned to work on voter rights issues, after the legislature passed a bill to require a government-issued photo ID for voters.
“We are certainly sad to see her go, but it is such a commendable course of action,” Beasley said. “It is critical to have leaders like Sen. Kinnaird willing to devote their time and energy to combatting these measures.”
Beasley said the next senator must be prepared to take a firm stance against the policies that have come out of the Republican-led legislature.
“We have to have someone who is a fighter for the middle class,” he said. “We have to have someone stand up against this Republican legislature to fight for everything that built North Carolina and fight for the values that we stand for.”
Senior writers Jenny Surane and Madeline Will contributed reporting.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.