House Minority Leader Hackney to retire

Posted February 2, 2012

House Minority Leader Joe Hackney announced today he will not seek re-election in 2012. 

The Chapel Hill attorney is one of the state's longest-serving lawmakers. During his 16 terms in the House, he served as speaker pro tem, majority leader, and was House speaker for two terms before becoming minority leader after the GOP takeover in 2010. He was also president of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2008.

In his statement this morning, Hackney thanked the voters of his district, his family and his staff. 

"I enjoyed all of it immensely, and gave it my all. I think I made a contribution," he said. "At the end of this term, I look forward to a more predictable schedule for my family, my law practice, my family farm, and for the recreational activities I've been missing.

"I will serve out the remainder of my term with enthusiasm. As minority leader, I will work actively this year for a Democratic majority and a new Democratic speaker for the N.C. House in 2013. I will continue to assist our candidates' campaigns and will actively raise money for them, as I have in the past," he pledged.

State Democratic Party Chairman David Parker called Hackney a "principled leader (and) an outstanding lawmaker."  

"He will be sorely missed," Parker said.  

Under the new GOP-penned redistricting maps, Hackney was drawn into the same district as fellow Chapel Hill Democrat Verla Insko.

Gov. Beverly Perdue praised Hackney's devotion to the state and its residents.

"Joe Hackney never wavered from the principles that brought him to public service – to better North Carolina and its people by providing them a stronger education system and a government that truly serves the people instead of just the privileged," Perdue said in a statement. "Joe always stood firm on the foundation of what he believed, regardless of popular opinion. He fought relentlessly to keep our government more transparent and to protect our environment for future generations."

House Speaker Thom Tillis, who often sparred with Hackney during last year's legislative session, thanked him for his service.

"Speaker Hackney is a true public servant and has led a distinguished career in the legislature," Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said in a statement. "While we disagree on many policy issues, his respect for the traditions and integrity of the House has had a significant impact on my first year as speaker."

Noting that he and Hackney started their legislative careers in 1981, Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt praised Hackney for his honesty, drive and leadership.

"His leadership will be sorely missed in North Carolina. I was pleased to learn, though, that he will continue to serve and provide the leadership they need at this very important time," Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, said in a statement. "I look forward to working with him for the remainder of the year to regain control of the House and the Senate."


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  • jet2rdu Feb 3, 2012

    They will need more than a limo to take all the Dems out of Raleigh and DC this year. They will need a bus.

  • Objective Scientist Feb 3, 2012

    Joe Hackney is a "good man" and has served the state well... and I say that from the perspective of a decades long very INDEPENDENT independent politically. Perusing these comments and comments to other "political" stories it is apparent why we have, more or less, "legislative inertia" in this state and country. I see comments praising Hackney "to the high heavens" and I also see some of the "don't let the door hit you in the a_ _ on the way out" variety. Is the "human creature" not fascinatingly interesting? How - HOW - can one person look at Hackney in a virtually 100% positive fashion... and another look at him in such a negative fashion? When it comes to politics and our two primary parties it seems one has to be "all or none" and wavering from the partisan party dogma - to the smallest degree - is considered heresy! Where is the objective INDEPENDENT "thinking"? If we don't get more of that in both our politicians and from voters... we will NEVER meet the challenges we now face!!!

  • aetius476 Feb 3, 2012

    "Gov. Beverly Perdue praised Hackney's devotion to the state and its residents."

    I bet she did, another democratic machine hack that had lived off the taxpayers for 30 years.

    She is quitting, he is quitting.

    They share a sense of timing when the carcas has been picked clean and it is time to move on...

  • wildpig777 Feb 3, 2012

    doubt this makes it past wral censors but i'll try: An observation ive made while reading GOLO-- if the posts are any indication of the political climate in nc this yr then IT IS GOING TO BE AN ACROSS THE BOARD REPUBLICAN LANDSLIDE. and i am not either repub nor democrat... man up for freedom wral and post this...

  • Rebelyell55 Feb 3, 2012

    If the people keep demanding more accountability in our goverment and if they pass more laws against abuse, inside knowledge trading and self interest legistration that benefit them above the public, we'll see more of these career polictican leaving. Most only take these offices to gain inside knowledge and to get rich. Why else would they spend so much for a job that doesn't even pay what they could make in public life. Once the corruption is stopped, then you'll see people who truely want to run for the people. Register as an independent and vote responsible. You can make a different.

  • Gatsby Feb 3, 2012

    "Hackney started their legislative careers in 1981"

    He is doing to himself what the voters in his district did not have sense enough to do for 30 years...Thats right ...30 years. He might be one of the most honest Men to walk shoe leather but 30 years? This is a broken system and runs like that only hurt the people because 95% of the time after only 1 term corruption starts and only deepens as the years pass.

  • jdupree Feb 3, 2012

    Hope and Change working just fine!

  • jdupree Feb 3, 2012

    Hope and Change is kicking in!

  • PoBoy Feb 2, 2012

    16 TERMS???????

  • liskm Feb 2, 2012

    "Sad day. We are losing one of the few politicians with integrity".

    Agree with you jlp on that.

    Can't say that I blame him though, with the decline in the neighborhood, sometimes it is just best to move on.

    Thanks Mr. Hackney for all your good work and representation. Enjoy your retirement, time with family etc.