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Rec/w/ne, Soles Remain
Leaders In Realigned
Mr" ?/ a ? ? ui..
BY SUSAN USHER
Democrats will need to work
harder and smarter next year, veter
an legislators Rep. David Redwine
of Ocean Isle Beach (D-14th
District) and Sen. R.C. Soles Jr. of
Tabor City (D-18th District) said
this week as they prepare to take
leadership roles next month in a re
defined North Carolina General
Assembly where cooperation and
compromise will rule.
For most of this century Demo
crats have controlled both chambers
of the North Carolina General
Assembly, and for that matter, the
governorship. The November 1994
election ushered out that climate of
immutability. Gov. Jim Hunt is a
staunch Democrat and remains the
party's most visible spokesperson.
In the Senate, though. Democrats
hold the majority by just two seats,
and in the House, Republicans out
number Democrats 68 to 52.
Soles and Redwine are the veter
an members of
are Rep. Dewey
Hill of Lake
so 14th District,
of Wilmington. 98th District.
Soles, who will be second in se
niority in the Senate, and expects to
hold its second-highest office again
in 1995, predicts the new balance of
power among Democrats and
Republicans to lead to more cooper
ation and compromise and result in a
shorter, not longer, 1995 session
"It might make us better legisla
tors," Soles suggested. "We of ne
cessity are going to have to try to
work together more We're all work
ing for the people of North Carolina;
we have the same goal. Maybe we
can O0tnc up with better aoiutions
now that we know neither side can
run over the other."
Last week House Democrats elect
ed Redwine one of two minority
whips to work with minority leader
Rep Jim Black of Mecklenburg
County. If Democrats had maintained
a majority in the House, the 11 -year
veteran was being considered for
chairmanship of the powerful House
is printed on
When you finish
reading it, try to
"Maybe we can come up with
better solutions now that we
know neither side can run over
the Other. " ? Sen. R.C. Soles Jr.
Appropriations Committee. But with
a GOP-controlled House, Democrats
won't be getting any committee
chairmanships, he said, so Redwine
ran instead for minority whip. He
was appointed to the House in 1983
to fulfill the unexpired term of Tom
B. Rabon Jr., who resigned to be
come a lobbyist
In the Senate the Democratic cau
cus decided earlier this month that
Soles and Marc Basnight (D-Dare
County) should return to the two top
offices in the Senate, deputy presi
dent pro tem and president pro tcm
respectively. The official vote will
come after both Senate and House
convene on Jan. 25.
"We have two more votes than the
Republicans and I haven't heard of
anyone they're putting up," said
Soles, who has been in the Senate
since 1977 and served four terms in
the state House. "! think they'll sup
With a majority of just two, if
they want to retain control of legis
lation in the Senate. Soles said
Democrats will have to "work hard
er and be present when all the votes
?re taken "
The Senate has no choice but to
become the spokesperson for the
Democratic Party, said Soles. "With
the number of Republicans in the
House, they can pretty much pass
anything they want over there, but
legislation must be adopted by both
As a result, he and Redwine pre
dict a greater level of compromise
and cooperation among legislators
of both parties. Soles anticipates leg
islation advancing the Democratic
Party agenda, such as the governors'
tax-cutting plan, to originate in the
Senate and then go to the House for
consideration, with more than the
usual number of conference com
mittees named to work out compro
mises between Senate and House
"If the Democrats stick together,
we have just as much power as the
Republicans do," said Soles.
Working for Democrats to "stick
together" largely defines Redwine's
new job as one of two House minor
ity whips. The other will be Rep.
Pete Cunningham of Charlotte.
Traditionally a legislative whip
enforces party discipline, ensures at
tendance and rounds up support for
party-backed legislation. The term
"whip" comes from "whipper-in,"
originally a British term for the as
sistants who help the huntsman in
handling a pack of hounds during a
As a lieutenant to minority leader
Rep. Jim Black of Mecklenburg
County, Redwine says he expects
the party to expand the role of the
whips. "We're going to be more in
volved in what Democrats do and
how we do it," he said.
Among other things, their job will
include taking the pulse of Demo
cratic legislators "to see what they
want to do, where they want to go,"
using that information to help shape
the party's legislative agenda for
1995, then rounding up votes for
The party agenda might include
some of the same items in the House
Republicans' campaign "contract"
with North Carolina, with "a differ
ent spin on them," as well as other
issues of specific interest to
Democrats. Redwine's suggested to
Black the possibility of establishing
Democratic policy committees to
develop party positions on major is
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"We're not going to have the
votes to get things passed like we
used to," said Redwine. "We're go
ing to have to pay a smarter role
than in the past."
"We need to make good argu
ments for what we want," he said.
"If it's good for North Carolina, we
hope House members would vote
for it, Democrat
take the role of
with their Re
REDWINE terparts but
pointing out shortcomings of GOP
legislation and presenting construc
For example, he expects the for
mal party response to the House
Republicans' "contract" with North
Carolina to "show what it is, and if
it is all implemented, the conse
quences that will have for the state."
"If any of those consequences are
negative, the people ought to know
it may not be as good as it sounds,"
said Redwine. "The problems usual
ly lie in the details."
"We're not going to be obstruc
tionists just because we're in the mi
nority. We will be supportive of
things we feel are gooid for the
To try to regain seats lost in Nov
ember ? often by close vote
counts ? and re-establish a House
majority, Redwine said he expects
the party will also move quickly to
"jump start" its legislative campaign
committee, identifying candidates,
raising a war chest and tracking
GOP votes in the House "so when
the time comes we have information
available to talk about what they did
or didn't do, to hold them account
able for their votes."
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