Local lawmakers prepared to work together to avoid gridlock in Raleigh

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As the gubernatorial race comes to an end, it appears each party will hold a lot of power in Raleigh come the new year.

The Republicans still control the House and Senate, but Democrat Roy Cooper will occupy the governor’s mansion.

The combination of the two could create gridlock, but local lawmakers said they don’t want to see that happen.

“The residents want and would like us to work together and go and try and find issues that we can work together on,” said Democratic Sen. Don Davis.

Davis said now is the time to put party politics aside to work for the good of the state. The sentiment was also felt by Republican Rep. Greg Murphy.

“I look forward to working together,” he said. “We may differ on things politically but it’s called listening and trying to work together the best for the citizens of North Carolina.”

But the desire to work together doesn’t negate some very tough decisions that will have to be made. One of the more controversial issues that will require compromise is House Bill 2.

“As with any over reaction in Charlotte, there perhaps was some over reaction in Raleigh, and hopefully we can find a middle ground that’s going to be good for the state, and good for the healing of the state,” said Murphy.

Murphy said Republicans tried to make some compromises with Charlotte, but those same efforts weren’t reciprocated. He said both sides need to come to the table prepared to listen to the other.

While lawmakers see room to work together, political experts say conflict in inevitable.

“This is not to say things won’t get done, but the potential is there for a lot of conflict,” said ECU Political Science professor Tom Eamon.

Eamon said some of the fiercest conflict could come between Governor-Elect Roy Cooper and Sen. Phil Berger.

He thinks Cooper will try to work together with both the House and Senate, but will likely have more success in the House. He doesn’t anticipate Cooper taking office and passing sweeping executive orders right away.

WNCT did reach out to other legislatures in the East to get their thoughts on the new governor.

Republican Rep. John Bell issued a statement saying, “If both parties can put forward polices that recruit and retain businesses, put more money in the pockets of hardworking North Carolinians, and continue to improve the quality of life in our state, then we will work together just fine. Republicans and Democrats have expressed wanting to invest in education, this is something important to both parties. Republicans will fight back against any policies that seek to raise taxes or put unnecessary regulations on small businesses.”

Republican Rep. Susan Martin said in a statement, “Governor McCrory served our state well, and our state is significantly better today than when he started. When he entered office our state had historic unemployment, teacher furloughs and an overwhelming debt. He helped us to grow the economy, pay off the debt and invest in schools by insisting on a new approach that empowered citizens and held government accountable for the way it treats citizens and their tax dollars. I hope Governor Elect Cooper will work together with the legislature to build on the positive momentum our state has. We don’t need partisan bickering, we need continued focus on policies that make a difference.”

Finally, Republican Rep. Pat McElraft said, “I am deeply saddened by Governor MCCrory’s loss as I feel he did an incredible job of moving North Carolina forward. We in the Legislature will work with Governor- elect Cooper as long as he doesn’t try to undo the work we have done on tax reform, regulation reform,education reform and funding. The Republicans have a super majority that can help control the agenda. Most folks don’t realize it but approximately 90% of our bills are bipartisan votes. We will sorely miss Governor McCrory.”

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