Democrats file for 36th District senate seat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Joanie Morris
Salisbury Post
CONCORD ó James C. “Jim” Johnson Jr. and Mike Helms have filed as Democrats for the 36th N.C. Senatorial District seat currently held by Republican Fletcher Hartsell.
Johnson, a well-known Cabarrus County attorney, said that after being off the political scene for several years, he decided to once again seek office.
Johnson served in the State Senate as a Republican and a Democrat during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
“I clearly understand the strengths and weaknesses of both parties and where the middle ground is and should be,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “I can work with the members of both parties to accomplish the results needed for the state and our district.”
In his statement, Johnson gave four reasons for running.
“It has become obvious to Republican, unaffiliated and Democrat voters that our present Cabarrus legislative delegation led by Senator Hartsell no longer listens to or cares about the average citizen or their needs,” Johnson wrote. “Senator Hartsell also has all but forgotten that portion of the district in Iredell County which includes Mooresville.”
Johnson said he also decided to run because he feels Hartsell and a few other elected officials “are more interested in representing special interest, rich individuals and outside corporations than taking care of the needs of the small business person, average citizen, our senior citizens who are on fixed income and our educational needs.”
He said in the 18 years Hartsell has been in the Senate, Cabarrus County has not received the road improvements that adjoining counties have received.
Lastly, Johnson said he is running because Hartsell, a Concord attorney, has lost his effectiveness.
“When a senator who leads the legislative delegation becomes so engrossed in his own views, involved with special interests and believes he is beyond questioning as to his performance, conflict of interest and effectiveness by the citizens of our district, it’s time for him to come home,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson said his experience and knowledge, along with that of the citizens of Cabarrus and parts of Iredell, will return elective offices in the Legislature to serve all the people, not just a few.
“This district has entered an exceptional period of growth, which has its good and bad sides,” Johnson wrote. “While growth has its place and is necessary, it should not be on the back of the average taxpaying citizen. Millions of their tax dollars are being given in the name of growth incentives to those individuals and corporations who already have millions of their own.”
Helms did not return telephone calls from the Salisbury Post.
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or