- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The second highest-ranking leader in the North Carolina House said Wednesday he won’t seek re-election to his legislative seat next year.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Paul Stam, R-Wake, made the announcement just before the gavel went down on this year’s General Assembly session, shortly after 4 a.m.

Stam, now in his eighth two-year term - the last two in the pro tem’s role - also was previously majority leader and minority leader. He told colleagues on the floor it was time to let people know of his decision because the candidate filing period will begin this December That’s because the primary is expected to be held March 15, not in early May.

Stam first joined the House in 1989 for only one term, returning in 2003. His bid for House speaker in 2011 fell short as he narrowly lost the Republican caucus vote to Thom Tillis, who is now in the U.S. Senate.

Stam, 65, has been known in the House for his commitment to socially conservative issues, such as opposition to gay marriage and abortion, as well as for supporting the use of public funds for children to attend private schools and to pay for special needs services. But he’s also had a knack for trying to resolve complicated and technical issues, often working across the aisle with Democrats to compete tasks.

Stam will return to fill his final term when the legislature reconvenes in late April.

“There’s plenty to do up here. The longer I was here, the more problems I saw that needed to be fixed,” he told reporters on the House floor in between handshakes and hugs from colleagues. He says there are plenty of first- and second-term legislators that will pick up where he left off once he departs the House.

Stam said he would continue to fight against abortion until it’s stopped.

“I will have a phone and I have a pen, and I was working on that long before I was in the House,” he said.


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