NC Chamber honors Basnight

Posted March 14, 2012 5:19 p.m. EDT

The NC Chamber took time out of its annual meeting Wednesday to shower tributes on former Senate leader Marc Basnight.

The Dare County Democrat served as Senate president pro tem for a record 18 years before resigning his seat last year because of health reasons. He recently acknowledged that he is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal degenerative neuro-muscular condition commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.

"I think Marc Basnight’s legacy is working hard to build the state of North Carolina for all the people, giving them a chance to become all they can be," former Gov. Jim Hunt said. "He knew what the people wanted done, and he worked his head off to get it done."

Hunt said Basnight would drive off the beaten path in Wilson County to stop by a vegetable stand on his commute between his home in Manteo and Raleigh just so he could talk to the owner and get some insight into what people thought of various issues facing the state.

"He really was people’s man. He listened to the people and then (did) all he could to build this state forward," Hunt said.

The 700 or so business leaders who attended the NC Chamber meeting watched an eight-minute video tribute to Basnight, who didn't attend the meeting.

The Chamber also awarded Republican 6th District Congressman Howard Coble with its Distinguished Public Service Award and Golden Corral Corp. Chairman James Maynard with its Corning Award for Distinguished Citizenship.