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After 26 years of service, Rep. Verla Insko announces her retirement

Rep. Verla Insko speaks Thursday at Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro, which recently implemented a vaccination requirement to dine there.

N.C. Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, announced on Sept. 15 that she will not run for reelection to the N.C. House of Representatives and will retire at the end of her current term in December 2022. 

Insko is the longest-serving House Democrat currently in the chamber. By the time of her departure, she will have served 13 terms.

She said that she is retiring because of the long duration of time she has already worked in the House. 

"I feel like I've made a real contribution and have not been able to do as much since I've been in the minority," Insko said.

She said that the N.C. General Assembly is different now than when she started 26 years ago. Currently, Republicans hold the majority in the House with 69 representatives. Democrats have 51 representatives.

“I think that was one of the things that finally discouraged me," Insko said. "I knew that I was filing good bills, but they weren’t getting heard."

Insko has not yet endorsed a replacement and said she wanted to leave time for people to emerge and be recruited for her position.

“We’ve got some good Democrats that are really strong and are stepping forward to lead,” Insko said.

She said that the job was difficult, but added that although it takes time, energy and sustained effort, it's rewarding. 

"It's rewarding even when you're in the minority and you know you're representing a side that isn't currently in power," Insko said

Insko is proud of the work she's done for health care, public education and voting rights.

She said she's most proud of the work she's done to expand public education, especially early childhood education. Public education was the reason she ran for public office in the first place.

"I wanted my children to go to good schools," Insko said. "I served on the school board here and finally went to the General Assembly where I was able to actually make improvements for all children of North Carolina."

After her retirement, Insko said she is planning to continue working with the Orange County Democratic Party and possibly the state party. 

“I will always be politically active,” Insko said. 

Chapel Hill Town Council member Allen Buansi said he was surprised when he heard Insko’s announcement.

He said Insko's work with the Hate Crimes Bill that was introduced to the House in the spring stood out. While it hasn't been passed into law, the bill would have increased the scope and scale of punishments for hate crimes. 

In addition to this work, Buansi said Insko has been a great advocate in health care, public education, mental health and women’s rights.

“She’s been a true champion in every sense of the word,” Buansi said.

Hongbin Gu, another Chapel Hill Town Council member, said that Insko was a “stable figure” within the General Assembly and that she appreciated her work in health care and the contributions she made to the community.

Gu said that Insko’s retirement is at a good time and will allow younger people to step up in the community. 

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"I really appreciate her contributions, but I'm looking forward to see other younger generations," Gu said.

Buansi said Insko is one of the hardest working people he's ever known.

“If every elected official could look at Representative Insko as a role model, as a country we would be much better off,” Buansi said. 

@DTHCityState | 

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