CHAPEL HILL- Newly-appointed State House Representative Graig Meyer will take his oath of office this Thursday, and the person he’s chosen to swear him in is the last to hold the position.
“State Senator Valerie Foushee is going to swear me in. Valerie held the seat before I did,” says Meyer. “But the real reason I asked her is that Valerie has always been a mentor to me, both in terms of the work that I’ve done in education and in my political aspirations. I really hope to follow in her footsteps and live up to the example that she set for me.”
Meyer takes Foushee’s place representing House District 50, which covers most of rural Orange and Northern Durham counties. He was appointed by a committee of Democratic Party officials in October.
Foushee herself went through a similar process when she was appointed in September to fill the N.C Senate District 23 seat left vacant by the resignation of Ellie Kinnaird.
Orange County Democratic Party Chair Matt Hughes says Meyer’s appointment will help bring stability to the local delegation, which has seen the retirement of three long-time leaders in the past year.
“Three of our legislators we had last year are no longer serving in the legislature: Bill Faison, Joe Hackney and Ellie Kinnaird,” says Hughes. “I think that we are at a point where we are settling down with our legislative delegation and it’s starting to solidify. I think Graig and Valerie and Verla [Insko] will all be able to work together really well in the legislature to produce some good work for Orange County.”
Looking ahead, Hughes says Orange County Democrats are in a strong position to help candidates who might face tight races in other parts of the state next year.
“Orange County is one of those places that, once you take care of a little housekeeping, you can go elsewhere and really help other counties and other candidates that are just a few points away from declaring victory in certain key races,” says Hughes.
Meyer says he hopes to help re-energize local progressives during both the May primary and the November election.
“Having a little period of uncertainty in the local area has made loyal democrats feel uneasy in knowing who’s going to fight for us, so I do believe people feel really relieved and excited knowing we have a strong delegation going into 2014,” says Meyer.
Meyer’s swearing-in ceremony will take place Thursday at 6:30 at the historic courthouse in Hillsborough.