The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Democrats look to fill Foushee's former House seat

	Valerie Foushee is the former N.C. Rep. who is preparing to fill Ellie Kinnaird’s seat in the N.C. Senate.

Valerie Foushee is the former N.C. Rep. who is preparing to fill Ellie Kinnaird’s seat in the N.C. Senate.

As former N.C. Rep. Valerie Foushee prepares to fill Ellie Kinnaird’s vacated seat in the N.C. Senate, Democrats in Orange and Durham counties are starting the process of filling another vacant legislative position.

Foushee was named Kinnaird’s replacement last week by a selection committee, and she will represent District 23 in the Senate through December 2014. Foushee did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding her new position.

With Foushee’s House of Representatives seat now empty, Democrats from across District 50 are beginning to declare candidacy for the open position.

Matt Hughes, chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, said a committee has already been formed to choose Foushee’s replacement. The committee is composed of two party officials from Orange County and two from Durham County.

As of Sunday, two candidates have officially declared interest in the position, Tommy McNeill of Durham and Laurin Easthom of Chapel Hill.

McNeill, a U.S. Air Force veteran and owner of Mid-South Medical LLC, said he would primarily focus on advocating for K-12 education, as well as preparing the state Democratic Party for the 2014 election through fundraising and grassroots efforts.

“I think it’s crucial that we ensure our K-12 is fully funded and is competitive in a global manner,” McNeill said. “We also need to assure that all voters have the proper ID and are properly registered to vote in the next election.”

McNeill said his time in the military and on the Orange County Planning Board has given him a wide range of leadership skills that would help him if chosen for the position.

Easthom, currently a Chapel Hill Town Council member, said she would look to foster support for education and health care and help residents adjust to the new voter ID law.

“I want to spend some time getting citizens educated on the changes to the voting laws,” Easthom said. “I want to be an advocate.”

Hughes said the committee has not officially started its work, as it is waiting for Gov. Pat McCrory’s office to officially announce Foushee’s appointment to Kinnaird’s Senate seat. McCrory has five days to formally appoint Foushee — but she was automatically appointed without his confirmation, Hughes said.

He said he hopes McCrory’s official announcement will come within the next few days.

“We are expecting around four good candidates to go before the committee for selection,” Hughes said. “It’s just a matter of the governor’s announcement and figuring out who’s the best fit for the position now.”

Easthom said she was told by officials that it could take up to 30 days for a decision on Foushee’s replacement.

City Editor Jenny Surane contributed reporting.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for November 20, 2023