Sen. Kinnaird resigns from legislature

Posted August 19, 2013
Updated August 21, 2013

— Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, a nine-term Democrat who represents Orange and Chatham counties in the legislature, resigned her post Monday. 

Kinnaird, 81, is one of only 17 Democrats in the 50-member state Senate. With the House and governor's mansion also controlled by Republicans, any Democrat's ability to stop or influence legislation, particularly controversial measures, is limited. 

One of the state's most liberal lawmakers, the Chapel Hill attorney thanked her constituents for the honor of representing them in Raleigh, but described the last three years under Republican leadership as a "great disappointment."

Kinnaird Kinnaird: GOP tenure 'heartbreaking'

"To see my 17 years of work really dismantled – my environmental work, my death penalty work, my justice and public safety work," she said, "that’s heartbreaking." 

"While I've done good things, I can’t do it anymore under these circumstances. So better to let someone who can maybe start again," Kinnaird told WRAL.   

In her news release, Kinnaird said her "energy and time is best spent to help get Democrats elected statewide and restore our standing as a progressive beacon of light in the Southeast. I am also working on a grassroots effort to assure that people have a voter ID and are registered to vote."

An elections law passed this summer will require all residents to have photo identification when they go to the polls, starting in 2016. It also makes a number of other elections changes, including banning out-of-precinct voting, straight-ticket voting, and same-day registration.

"This is a very serious suppression of voting, and I want to make sure that we get as many people prepared to vote, registered to vote, and informed, so that they can actually have a vote that counts," Kinnaird said.

Kinnaird told WRAL she plans to work with churches and community groups to reach out to people who might lack the required ID. She said that project would be especially challenging for students on college campuses, who may have trouble gathering the needed documents and reaching a Division of Motor Vehicles location to obtain the needed ID. 

She said she would also be working with college groups to push back against efforts to close early voting sites on campuses. 

"Watauga County took away the early voting site from the student campus. We are afraid they will do that across the state. Again, another suppression of a significant vote for Democrats – pretty obvious what they're doing," Kinnaird said.

Kinnaird's replacement will be chosen by an executive committee made up of Democratic officials from Orange and Chatham counties. Gov. Pat McCrory will then appoint that person to fill the remainder of Kinnaird's term.


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  • larry14 Aug 23, 2013

    Limited govt.& term limits are greatly needed. We must get back to being a Republic & following our constitution. We have too many Republican 1st or Democrat 1st. We need American 1st representatives. Please learn facts, Sen. Kinnaird. You said "This is a very serious suppression of voting & I want to make sure that we get as many people prepared to vote, registered to vote, & informed, so that they can actually have a vote that counts,". You fail to mention that states requiring ID's have raised the voter turnout and the majority of people favor requiring ID's including a majority of Blacks & Hispanics. The state will provide them free and it will actually help people without ID's so they will now have one of the basic forms that they need to show almost everywhere else but the voting booth. The 17-1 we presently have are Liberal 1st & American 2nd & that can be said for our Republicans as well. We need all of them to be American 1st. Community Organizer sounds familiar to your party.

  • josephlawrence43 Aug 21, 2013

    @familyandamerica: "Ignorant Taliban"? Because some hold beliefs and ideas different from your obviously elevated and annointed opinion, you believe it acceptable to call people names? Infantile--typical of the Democratic left--but infantile nonetheless.

  • familyandamerica Aug 21, 2013

    I've met Ms. Kinnaird many times over the years in various contexts. We didn't always agree politically but she's an extremely smart and classy lady who cares deeply about the state of North Carolina. Sad to see so many ignorant comments attacking her because of the "D" after her name; she's worth a dozen of the ignorant Taliban we've got serving in the GA these days.

  • free2bme Aug 21, 2013

    The negative comments by some of the republicans on this blog shows their ignorance and disregard of humanity. They whine all the time about a voter ID for conjured up voting fraud. Ms. Kinard does what she feels is the right thing by helping others get the ID and they still complain. I just wish instead of Kinard resigning some of them do nothing, uncompassionate, backwards Republicans currently holding office would follow suite. They are so drunk with the abuse of power nor do they have the decency to do what is best for someone other than themselves to actually move out of the way of progress..

  • tfields Aug 20, 2013

    Let's face it, her usefulness was over about 35 years ago. Time to move on old gale.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Aug 20, 2013

    "Good riddance, Ellie Kinnard. You will not be missed." - jgriffith3792

    "Kinniard has not served our state. She's served herself. Good riddance." - bubbadukeforpresident

    "the woman is known as an extremist nutcase. Good riddance..." - foodstamptrader

    Another liberal put out to pasture. Hopefully, the pasture will be located somewhere that she can no longer do any damage..." - meeper

    "Good move Ellie, instead of staying and fighting why not be a quitter? Goodbye and good riddance." - luvbailey

    "Good riddance" - lizard

    And there you go: a quick sampling of people that have absolutely NO CLASS at all.

    And BTW: if you used the phrase "good riddance" in your post, there might be a chip in your brain that telling you exactly what to say all the time.

    :-) Best regards, Ms. Kinnaird. Thanks for every day of your terms. I have read this morning of some of your wonderful accomplishments!

  • Krimson Aug 20, 2013

    "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

    Reminds me of a movie quote... ANAKIN: "If you're not with me, you're my ENEMY."

  • jgriffith3792 Aug 20, 2013

    If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Good riddance, Ellie Kinnard. You will not be missed.

  • sallyquality Aug 20, 2013

    The mean and childish comments are embarrassing. Why must people hate those who disagree with their opinion? It's an opinion!

  • josephlawrence43 Aug 20, 2013

    I don't know this lady, never met her, never spoken with her. Don't know a whole lot about her politics. BUT, I do know that out of that whole sorry lot of NAACP, Moral Mondays and associated groups, she is the ONLY ONE who has decided to put her actions where her mouth is. Instead of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth like the other leftist liberals, she is going to try and make sure that those who need an ID to vote, will get one. Rev. Barber, the NAACP, and the rest could learn a very valuable lesson from this Lady.