On April 30, Governor Cooper proposed Durham Senator Floyd McKissick, Jr. for a seat on the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Senator McKissick is one of three nominees for the commission included in an appointments bill now being considered in the North Carolina General Assembly. Bills confirming appointments exclusively in the Governor’s control customarily pass. When during the current legislative session the bill may pass is uncertain. As with previous vacancies where the vacancy is not filled by an elected official or elected body, People's Alliance PAC will not make an endorsement.
The Utilities Commission is the state agency that regulates a host of public utilities in North Carolina including electric power, natural gas, certain telecommunications, some transportation services, and some water and wastewater systems. The commission sets rates for many of these services and consequently, its decisions are extremely important to North Carolina consumers. The agency is governed by a commission of seven members. Senator McKissick is an excellent choice for appointment.
Upon passage of the appointments bill, Senator McKissick must give up his seat in the North Carolina Senate. State law establishes the procedure for filling the vacancy. Governor Cooper must appoint a person nominated by the county executive committee of the party of the departing incumbent. Because Senator McKissick is a Democrat, in this case that party will be the Durham County Democratic Party. For Senator McKissick’ s district, the party’s nominating committee will be composed of party representatives – officers and precinct chairs and vice chairs - from Senate District 20. Because the General Assembly is now in session and vacant seat from the Governor’s party is undesirable, it is expected that the Governor’s office and the local party will want to fill the vacant seat with the best candidate as quickly as possible. Whoever is appointed will serve out Senator McKissick’s uncompleted two-year term ending in 2020.
In part because of the uncertain timetable, but more because the appointment decision will not be made by an elected official or elected body, PA PAC will not undertake to make an endorsement from among the candidates who may seek this Senate vacancy if it occurs. People’s Alliance members will recall that PAC also refrained from making an endorsement when Representative Luebke’s passing left his seat vacant. Nor did the PAC make an endorsement when Representative Larry Hall was appointed to a position in Governor Cooper’s cabinet. In those recent case, the Durham County Democratic Party, using the procedure prescribed by law, appointed Marcia Morey and Maryann Black to those vacant seats. PA PAC subsequently endorsed both Morey and Black when they ran for the legislative seats to which they had been appointed.
People’s Alliance members who wish to advocate for a candidate or candidates to fill the District 20 Senate seat (if it becomes vacant) are encouraged to communicate with Durham County Democratic Party officers and executive committee members from Senate District 20. For more information about the party and its organization, visit https://durhamdemocrats.org/ .
People’s Alliance PAC has endorsed Senator McKissick each time he has run for the North Carolina Senate. We thank him for his service and we congratulate him for his nomination to the North Carolina Utilities Commission.