The Changing Face of North Carolina Republicans
Whom do you picture when you think of a Southern Republican? Today the typical Republican in North Carolina is a little less gray, according to Rep. John Bell (R-Goldsboro), the 30-something House Majority Whip. Bell spoke as he drove home to Goldsboro after pulling double, even triple, duty at home and at work with a daughter and wife under the weather.
He isn’t alone in juggling a young family, a burgeoning career and serving as a legislator, driving back and forth to Raleigh every week. In the 74-member Republican caucus, approximately 20 are under 45 years old and there are 12 women. One of those women, Rep. Rayne Brown, announced this week that she will not seek re-election at the end of her term, but has not ruled out making a run at an N.C. Senate seat. In the Senate, the 34-member Republican majority caucus has five women members and the 50-seat Senate has five members under 45 years old.
“The Republican party was known for years as being the old, white, male gray-headed party. That’s really changing,” said Bell. “There are a lot of us in the House under 40 or 45 years old. We put our lives on hold, take a leave of absence from work and do our job in Raleigh. But we know that if we don’t do this, our businesses and our children will not have a future in this state.”