The first day of the 2011 legislative session was full of the typical pomp and ceremony seen in years past. What was unusual this time around was the Republican lawmakers picking up the gavels in the House and Senate to take charge.
Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, quickly was named president pro tem of the Senate, replacing the newly retired Marc Basnight, who had held the Senate leadership post for a record 18 years.
Rep. Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, was challenged for the House speaker position by incumbent Speaker Joe Hackney, but the solid GOP majority in the House was joined by six Democrats to give the post easily to Tillis.
The historic day attracted crowds and pleased longtime GOP Rep. Harold Brubaker.
As expected, Berger says balancing the state budget will be priority No. 1 this session.
Still, he and other political observers recognize the need for cooperation when working with Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue.