Tillis looks back on speakership

Posted August 20, 2014
Updated August 21, 2014

— On what could be Speaker Thom Tillis' last day on the dais as the House adjourned for the year, the Cornelius Republican talked to reporters about the victories and regrets of his four-year tenure at the head of the House and about his campaign for U.S. Senate. 

Among the highlights as speaker, Tillis listed the eugenics bill he helped shepherd past objections from his own caucus. He called the coal ash compromise passed Wednesday "historic" legislation that could become a model for other states. He also cited the number of important bills, including medical malpractice reform and veto overrides, that had some Democratic votes as well as Republican.

"It took a lot of work, and we would not have made that progress if we hadn't had support from both sides of the aisle," he said. "We've done a lot with Democrats and Republicans working together. That's what I'm most proud of."

Asked which bill he most regrets not being able to push through, he said it's the proposal to require insurance to cover applied behavioral analysis for children with autism, though he expressed optimism it could resurface next session. 

Tillis said he's confident his legislative record will help his campaign for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan this fall. 

He said his record includes a rapidly dropping unemployment rate, lower taxes, regulatory reform and the coal ash bill, as well as salary increases for teachers this year.  

"We've got a very positive record to run on. We've got a great statement we've made about education. You could always do more, but leaving on a high note with education funding, with teacher pay raises – the more that they learn about it, I think, the more they're going to like it," he said. "In short, it's just fulfillment of promises that we made."

Tillis added that the steep budget cuts of 2011 and 2012 were "tough decisions" that were necessary to get the state back on a firm fiscal footing and guarantee the security of safety net programs like Medicaid. 

"I'm very proud of all that," he said. "I think it's something we can run on, and I think it'll resonate with people."


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  • Carol Smith Aug 22, 2014
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    There is going to be a lot of cleaning up after the McCrory regime. They have done more damage to this state than any I have seen. They are working the laws to make themselves immune to investigations, etc.

  • Matt Wood Aug 22, 2014
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    I saw Tillis's commercial on Hulu last night, and he had the audacity to claim he's not a politician. I about fell out of my chair!

  • bubbaOK Aug 22, 2014

    This man's a Floridian who knew? My employer at Mallory-Tillis NYC was a well to do Florida citrus grove owner, -part Seminole, goodhearted. Jim! Worth a ponder? What d'ya think? Thom went to State? What's with the H in Thom? Did Thom McAn shoes sell hush puppies?

  • Greg Boop Aug 22, 2014
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    Is there anyway to give him a grade lower than "F"?

  • bubbaOK Aug 22, 2014

    NC's got a plethora of shiny qualified candidates. Misogynous, this man?
    The problem is they lack contradicting themes; torn between equally succulent bales of hay like Burridan's donkey; when not covering feet of clay.

  • Kenny Dunn Aug 21, 2014
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    Well, there is that bit of 'legacy'.

  • archmaker Aug 21, 2014

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    The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right.
    Section 15 of the North Carolina Constitution.

  • archmaker Aug 21, 2014

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    and Hagan was born in Shelby, NC.

  • uBnice Aug 21, 2014

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    Tillis, the son of a boat draftsman, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but also lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Nashville, Tennessee, growing up (Wiki).

    Tillis is not a "real North Carolinian".

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Aug 21, 2014

    "Tillis looks back on speakership"

    Did he turn into a pillar of salt?