02/24/10 — Tucker says he won't run again

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Tucker says he won't run again

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 24, 2010 1:46 PM

Russell Tucker

Duplin County Democrat Russell Tucker says he will not seek a sixth term in the North Carolina House. Tucker, of Pink Hill, announced Monday his plans to retire from the Legislature at the end of the year to spend more time with his family and on other endeavors.

"We're leaving that wide open," he said, not specifying what he might do with his time now. "I guess we'll just do whatever our fancy strikes us."

He explained that there was no particular motivating factor in his decision, just that it was time.

"I don't think that it was any one thing," Tucker said. "After 10 years of service, it just felt like it was time to come home and do other things."

Tucker, 66, was first elected to the Legislature in 1998, and served two terms before losing to a Republican in 2002. He was re-elected in 2004, and is currently serving as chairman of the House Pensions and Retirement Committee, as well as vice chairman on committees on public utilities, local government and of the appropriations subcommittee on general government. He has also been active on agriculture and environmental matters.

Tucker came to the Legislature after spending 28 years as the Duplin County finance director and county manager. That means he has been in public service in one form or another for nearly 40 years, and during that time, he said he has been most proud of his responsiveness to the people in his district.

"I'm real proud of all the constituent service I was able to provide," he said.

He also said he was leaving pleased with the Legislature's efforts to improve schools, both through operating and capital funding streams, as well as pending legislation that would raise teacher salaries to the national average.

He does not, he said, have any regrets about his time in Raleigh, which, he acknowledged that he enjoyed.

"I've met a lot of good people -- some of them here at home, some of them in the General Assembly -- and we'll remain friends," he said.

However, he still has one more session to go, during which he plans to work hard, before retiring at the end of the year, he said, although a contract extension is likely to be possible.

His wife, Geraldine Tucker, has also been active in Raleigh, serving on the Sir Walter Raleigh Cabinet, which is comprised of spouses of members of the General Assembly and other high state officials.

Tucker's 4th House District covers all of Duplin County, as well as part of Onslow. Democrat Mott Blair of Wallace filed papers Monday to seek the now open seat. The candidate filing period for the May primary ends Friday.