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N.C. Democrats Nominate Black as State Speaker of the House

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Jim Black
RALEIGH — State Rep. Jim Black of Charlotte emerged Wednesday from a caucus of House Democrats as their unanimous nominee for speaker of the House when legislators return for their 1999 session on Jan. 27.

Democrats wrested control of the House from Republicans in elections earlier this month after being out of power four years.

Black, a Mecklenburg County eye doctor, announced last week he had firm commitments from 44 of the 66 Democrats in the House. They came through for him Wednesday and everyone else followed.

The black caucus had wanted Dan Blue to run for the spot. But Blue, a former speaker, decided not to and backed Black for the post.

Democrats nominated Black for speaker at a meeting that was closed to the public.

If confirmed during the next legislative session, Black says he plans to open up the House to a more democratic process.

"We will adjust the rules," he said. "What this will mean is a more open and more democratic House of Representatives. Ideas can be put on the table and be heard. It will be a democratic process. I intend to not have policy issues in the budget."

Black said that he had gotten good support from the black caucus. However, he says he will have to earn members' confidence.


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