Role Posed for Miller in Redistricting

Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight is looking for a new chairman to lead the Senate part of drawing new election districts next year and has approached Sen. Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat, about the job.

“He is considering that,” Basnight said. “I haven’t said you can have anything. He is considering if he would like me to consider him.”

Sen. Roy Cooper, a Rocky Mount Democrat who has served as Senate redistricting chairman in recent years, is leaving the Senate to become state attorney general.

Redistricting will be particularly difficult next year because the General Assembly will not only be drawing a 13th congressional district but also redrawing all state legislative districts.

“Brad doesn’t mind rolling his sleeves up and getting them dirty,” Basnight said.

Miller, who led a Senate judiciary committee in the most recent session, said redistricting is important. He said dealing with redistricting, however, would limit how involved he could be with other issues that interest him.

“I have spoken with Marc about doing it and I’m considering it,” Miller said. “I haven’t made a decision about what I want to do in the next session, and certainly Marc hasn’t made a decision about what he wants me to do.”

Basnight said his staff also had talked about the redistricting post with Sens. Dan Clodfelter, a Charlotte Democrat; Linda Garrou, a Winston-Salem Democrat; and Kay Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat.


Bass makes progress:

Stephanie Bass, the former chief of staff for the state Department of Health and Human Services, will start work next month as deputy director of the N.C. Progress Board.

The Progress Board – patterned after a similar board in Oregon

– was set up by Gov. Jim Hunt in 1995 to develop long-term goals for the state in areas ranging from education, environment and health care.

Bass was half of one of the power couples in the Hunt administration. Her husband is Bill Holman, the secretary of the Department of Environment and National Resources.

Bass left the administration in May and took some time off. She will help oversee the daily operations of the board for its director, Tom Covington.


State GOP plans Bush party:

Plans are being laid by North Carolina supporters of Texas Gov. George W. Bush to kick up their heels Jan. 20, presidential inauguration day in Washington.

The N.C. Society of Washington is planning a Tar Heel ball Jan. 19. And state Rep. David Miner of Cary is putting together an afternoon reception for key Tar Heel supporters of Bush after the inaugural and parade Jan. 20. More details will be released later.


Conservative activist:

Citizens for a Sound Economy, the conservative anti-tax group, has named Joyce Ferando of Wilmington as its national activist of the year.

Ferando was awarded the Dr. Richard Fink Award for building the group’s Cape Fear club into one of the most active in the country.

North Carolina native Jim Burnley, a former U.S. transportation secretary, recently joined the group’s national board