05/31/06 — The rankings: Sen. Kerr stays in the top 10

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The rankings: Sen. Kerr stays in the top 10

Not surprisingly, Sen. John Kerr III again has ranked among the top 10 members of the North Carolina Senate.

That was the rating given him for the 2005 session by fellow legislators, lobbyists, lead agency legislative liaisons and the Capital press corps.

The senator from Wayne was ranked 15th among his 50 Senate colleagues during his very first term in the upper body in 1993. Interestingly, he was ranked 62nd among 120 representatives in his first term in the House, 24th his second term there and 16th in his last term before being elected to the Senate.

Sen. Charlie Albertson, from neighboring Duplin, was 12th among the state’s 50 senators last session, continuing a strong record of effectiveness. Like Kerr, he is a Democrat.

Republican Sen. Fred Smith, of Johnston County, whose district includes part of Wayne, ranked 31st in 2005 and 30th in his first term in the Senate. He now is interested in running for governor.

It should be noted that with both houses dominated by Democrats and their key leaders being Democrats, it can be far more difficult for Republicans to get key committee chairmanships or wield strong influence.

Wayne County is divided into three different House districts. Among the 120 members of that body, Stephen LaRoque, a Republican, ranked 57th, Democrat Larry Bell was 67th, and Republican Louis Pate Jr. ranked 88th.

As voters scan the rankings, they should consider not only where their legislators are ranked for their perceived effectiveness on major legislation in Raleigh but also on their constituency services. They also must consider their rankings by Raleigh observers in light of the impact their party affiliations might have on their potential effectiveness.

A change in political makeup of the House and/or Senate could have a resounding shift on the tilt of the playing field for all the players.

Published in Editorials on May 31, 2006 10:52 AM