THANKS, MR. COBLE

Congressman Howard Coble who has represented the North Carolina 6th District for 15 terms will not seek re-election next year. His district includes most of the Piedmont Triad, home to scores of hosiery and textile manufacturing firms. His support for these industries—indeed private enterprise—has been significant.

During visits to Washington DC, industry executives always found him to be helpful. Earlier he served as a leader of a U.S. House caucus for textiles, including hosiery. His has been a calm and steady voice in a Washington atmosphere that has become more raucous. His service is appreciated.

12TH DISTRICT CHANGE

The snake-like 12th District that extends from Charlotte to Greensboro and beyond also will have a new congress member. Rep. Mel Watt has been selected by President Obama to head up the federal mortgage program including Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. His confirmation is facing GOP opposition in Congress.

The district has been gerrymandered to include an African-American majority. Two members of the General Assembly have announced for the seat—Rep. Alma Adams of Greensboro and Sen. Malcolm Graham of Charlotte. Both are Democrats. Others have sent up trial balloons.

A TEXTILE EXECUTIVE IN CONGRESS?

Keith Crisco, founder and former CEO of Asheboro Elastics, is among those mentioned as a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat now held by Rene Ellers. Rep. Ellers lost support among voters over her vacillation before voting for the government shutdown, which furloughed 90,000 federal workers in October. Eller is a second term Republican. Crisco is a Democrat who served as Secretary of Commerce. He is a resident of Asheboro and considers himself a bipartisan candidate for the center. During his tenure at Commerce, $1 million was directed for the construction of new facilities for the MSC.

SAMUELSON SURPRISE

Rep. Ruth Samuelson of Mecklenburg County was considered a front-runner in the race to be Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republican House caucus and was on a path to be the first woman to preside over the House. Then she surprised the political community when she announced she will not seek re-election.

Samuelson said family commitments were behind her decision to leave politics. However, she had angered the Charlotte leadership by pushing for the transfer of the Charlotte airport from the city to a regional authority. Teachers also have been unhappy with her support of budget cuts to education.

Majority Whip Mike Hager of Rutherford County and Majority Leader Edgar Starnes of Caldwell are among contenders to succeed Thom Tillis who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Kay Hagen.

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