Senate Majority Leader won’t seek re-election

Madeline Gray | North State Journal
Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) discusses the Senate’s budget proposal during a press conference at the General Assembly on May 9.

RALEIGH — Eight-term Jacksonville State Senator Harry Brown (R-Onslow) announced he will not seek re-election. Brown, who serves as Majority Leader for the Senate Republicans, has served in the General Assembly since 2004.

Senator Brown said, “After nearly 16 years in the Senate, I feel like it’s the appropriate time to focus on my family and businesses. When I was first elected, I ran on three things: do something for career and technical education, tax policy and term limits. “With the completion of Onslow County School’s regional skills center and North Carolina’s tax climate being one of the best in the nation, I felt it was time to check off the last goal, so to say.”

Brown has been the chief budget writer in the Senate since 2014. During his leadership Brown focused on conservative budgets which regularly generated revenue surpluses. Brown also focused on opportunities for rural communities through access to broadband and the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund.

Brown’s budget counterpart in the House, Rep. Jason Saine (R-Lincoln), called Brown “one of the most important thought leaders at the General Assembly” and said his perspective would be missed. “His understanding of rural issues while keeping a focus on the entire state economy has been invaluable and can’t be overstated,” said Saine. “Harry is a heck of a negotiator as well. He is always laser focused but also an honest dealer. If he gives you his word on an issue, he honors it. We need more Harry Brown’s in politics, not fewer. He will certainly leave big shoes to fill.”

Brown, who represents several military bases, sponsored legislation to protect military bases and to allow non-resident military personnel to purchase hunting and fishing licenses at resident prices.

N.C. House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) (Left), N.C. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown (R-Onslow) (Center), and Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-Duplin) (Right) speak at a rally in Duplin County on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

“There has been no stronger voice for rural communities and our military than Senator Harry Brown,” said House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne). “He laid the groundwork for North Carolina to be the most military-friendly state in the country. It has been an honor serving with Senator Brown and I than him for his service to our state.”

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) said, “I’m thankful for Senator Brown’s leadership in the Senate. From day one he’s been dedicated to improving the lives of rural North Carolinians. He’ll be missed by all in the Senate, but I’m happy he’ll have the opportunity to focus on his businesses and spend time with his five grandchildren.”

Senator Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) said, “Senator Brown has been a consistent voice for so many in our state – from hurricane-battered Jones County all the way to the thousands of U.S. Marines that call North Carolina home.”

Senator Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston) said, “I’ve enjoyed working with Senator Brown all these years. His steadfast leadership on the budget and in the caucus has put North Carolina on better financial footing. No matter what, he’s always found ways to support the victims of natural disasters and military families. His guidance will be felt throughout the state for years to come.”