02/06/12 — Sager announces bid for re-election to House seat

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Sager announces bid for re-election to House seat

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 6, 2012 1:46 PM

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N.C. Rep. Efton Sager

State Rep. Efton Sager, R-Wayne, says he will run for a third term in the state House this year, despite being forced into a primary with fellow Republican Rep. Jimmy Dixon of Duplin County after the General Assembly redrew district lines last year following the 2010 U.S. Census.

Sager, who has been representing District 11, is now in District 4, which will cover portions of Wayne and Duplin counties.

"I have about 20 to 25 percent of the district I previously had," Sager said. "I think because I was a county commissioner for eight years for Wayne County, I have pretty good name recognition here. The challenge for me will be in Duplin County where people don't know me. But here in Wayne County, people know me and what I did as a commissioner."

They also might know him from the items he has worked on in the legislature for the last three years, including annexation reform and the deannexation of the Buck Swamp and Falling Brook areas of Goldsboro.

Still, he said, after two terms of representing just Wayne County, having to now look to the south as well has made a difference.

"The first thing I need to do is get to know people in Duplin County and what their concerns are," he said.

But at the end of the day, he said he will be running on his record and on the role he played as part of the first legislative Republican majority since Reconstruction.

"The big thing I feel good about is that when we, as the majority party, were faced with a $2.5 billion shortfall, we were able to make the tough decisions necessary to balance the budget," he said.

Other items of legislation that Sager said he was proud to be a part of included bills dealing with the equitable disbursement of 911 funds, something he had worked on as a county commissioner, abortion legislation concerning a woman's right to know, and the Castle Doctrine, which expanded a person's ability to protect his or her home, as well as the effort to put the marriage amendment on the November ballot.

"I've been real happy with what we've been able to do as the majority," he said.

Now, he said, if re-elected, his efforts will be on improving the state's education systems, continuing to improve its fiscal condition, working to find regional water solutions and working to create new jobs.

"There's no shortage of things to be done," he said.

However, one of his primary focuses this year and in a new term will be on the state's infrastructure, specifically its ports. In particular, he said, with the Panama Canal set to open up to even larger container ships in 2014, he believes the state is poised to take advantage of the deepwater capabilities of the Morehead City port, but that there is still much work to be done to make it viable.

"We've got to get off dead center and move forward," he said. "We've got an excellent opportunity here if we can just get started."

But because of the work that needs to be done to improve the rail and roadways from Morehead City to the west, and the opportunity that such efforts could present for Goldsboro, he said one of his primary motivations for running for a third term is to ensure Wayne County has a voice at that table.

"If I don't win, it's possible that there would be nobody in the House from Wayne County," Sager said. "There are 48,000 people in Duplin County and 122,000 in Wayne. The potential exists that there could be nobody actually representing those 122,000. To me it's good to know we have somebody who actually lives in this county in the House."

Still, he said, his overriding philosophy toward the job won't change.

"Constituent service is what I pride myself on. I always try to make myself available to the people I represent," Sager said. "And I just want to be up there to make the right votes on the issues for the people in my district."