01/26/07 — Louis: Unity key factor in House this year

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Louis: Unity key factor in House this year

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on January 26, 2007 1:49 PM

State Rep. Louis Pate, R-Wayne, isn't letting the fact that he lost the election of House Speaker Pro-Tem Wednesday affect him as the organization of the General Assembly's 2007 session continues. In fact, he said, losing on a party line vote actually has helped energize him.

"Of course I'd hoped to win, but I think both of those votes, speaker and speaker pro-tem, and the fact that they were along party lines was something of a relief to the General Assembly, the House and to those people observing the House because the last two or three times there had been a lot of divisions that created a lot of bitterness," he said.

Such unity, the four-term representative continued, has been especially rare in the Republican Party in recent sessions.

"The Republican Caucus is united -- something that's been missing for a while," Pate said. "By being united, I think we will be realized as a group that can be influential."

The House is divided 68 Democrats to 52 Republicans.

All 68 Democrats voted for William Wainwright, D-Craven, as speaker pro-tem. All 68 also voted for Rep. Joe Hackney, D-Orange, for speaker over Republican Rep. Paul Stam of Apex.

"Their caucus just decided not to vote for me," Pate said. "Since then a couple of them have told me they really wanted to vote for me, but, of course, I didn't hear any of them call out my name."

He put his name out for consideration because he felt he could reach across party lines.

"I had expressed interest in it to my colleagues, and I was honored that all of my Republican colleagues voted for me," he said. "I think I could have worked well with either of the two nominees for speaker.

"Even as it turned out the winner was Mr. Hackney, I could've worked with him and worked to create cooperation between the two sides of the aisle for the good of the state."

But, Pate continued, he wasn't surprised at the outcome, and he thinks the two parties still will be able to work together.

"Most of the votes like that go down party lines. It was expected," fellow four-termer Rep. Larry Bell, D-Sampson County, added. "That's just part of some of the things you do as a party. I don't think there are any hard feelings between us. I didn't even know he was going to run. His name and Stam's name going up there just gave the Republicans somebody to vote for.

"But I think the feelings between the two parties are about as good as they've been since I've been here. I think the climate is very good."