Bryant won’t seek re-election to state Senate

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A longstanding public official has decided not to seek another term, citing changes to North Carolina’s legislative districts.

“Both the redistricting and the timing are factors. I’m 66 years old. It is hard work and it is not going to get easier,” said Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash. “I think it is time to allow for new leadership and I can still serve in other ways that would be helpful to the cause.”

Bryant has served Senate District 4 for six years, but as a result of the court-ordered 2017 redistricting process, the five counties she represented are being redistributed to districts 3, 4 and 11.

“All of Nash County and therefore, my residence, was assigned to Senate District 11 encompassing all of Nash and part of Johnston counties. Nash, at 95,800 in 2010 population, best matches with part of Johnston to make Senate District 11 and hit the required Senate population target of 193,000/district. Nash and part of Johnston each make up about 50 percent of the district based on 2010 Census numbers,” Bryant said in a press release. “This new Senate District 11 voted 58 percent Republican in recent elections and is 25 percent black.

“I do not believe that district would be a favorable district for me to run in successfully.”

Bryant’s current district, which will dissolve at the end of the 2018 legislative term, includes parts of Wilson, Nash, Halifax, Vance and Warren counties.

Sen. Rick Horner, a Republican, relocated from Wilson to his family home in Bailey to run for re-election in District 11. Horner’s current district includes portions of Wilson, Nash and Johnston counties, while the new District 11 encompasses all of Nash County and northwestern Johnston County.

Horner, who grew up in Bailey and served on the Nash County school board for 14 years before moving to Wilson, filed for office Monday in Nashville.

Bryant’s career in public office began in 2003 when she was elected to a Rocky Mount City Council seat. She was appointed to the state House at the beginning of 2007, where she served until the death of Sen. Ed Jones, D-Halifax. One month prior to succumbing to pancreatic cancer, Jones had been re-elected to represent District 7, so Bryant was appointed to finish his term.

“It is a blessing in life to get a chance to do something that I really love doing and, for me, that is serving my community,” Bryant said. “I am proud of my legislative record, which includes the enactment into law of 53 primary-sponsored bills.”

Some of her proudest accomplishments include her work to push through the sale of ElectriCities assets to Duke Energy Progress and lower utility rates as well as passing more favorable criminal record expunction processes along with creating re-entry councils to better integrate offenders into the community after serving prison sentences.

“I also worked to update the use of and increase 911 funding,” she said. “I helped sponsor legislation that levied the tax on prepaid phone cards because that was a lot of money we were missing.”

As the General Assembly’s 2017-18 session began, Bryant was elected chairwoman of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus.

Her last day in office will be at the end of the year, but Bryant said she plans to be an advocate for other candidates and for the local Democratic Party as well as encouraging residents to vote.

“It has been a pleasure to serve the community and I plan to continue to do so in other capacities,” she said.