10 to Watch: Harry Warren

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2011

When newly elected N.C. Rep. Harry Warren takes his seat in Raleigh this month, he will be part of the first Republican majority in the General Assembly in more than a century.
He will represent the 77th District, which includes part of Rowan County, during this political shift and a potentially shaky economic recovery.
The GOP has a long to-do-list, but two urgent tasks are looming over it — redistricting and closing a projected $4 billion budget gap.
“The most difficult thing will be balancing the budget without raising taxes and without making big cuts into critical services,” Warren said.
He said he already has begun talking to other representatives about budgeting, jobs and annexation reform.
“It’s never been my style to lay low,” Warren said. “At the same time, I have a lot to learn.”
Warren ousted former Democratic Rep. Lorene Coates, a 10-year incumbent, in an extremely close race that state Republican leadership didn’t think was winnable.
Rep. Fred Steen, who was re-elected in November to represent Rowan County residents in the 76th District, said Warren’s campaign revealed a skill set he can use as a representative.
“It was evident that he has the ability to lead people and get people to agree with the principles and policies he stands for,” Steen said. “Now he’s seeking input from the community.”
Steen said he is looking forward to working with Warren in the coming years.
“We’ve got a lot of good freshmen coming in,” Steen said, “and I count Harry as one of those.”
— Karissa Minn
Name: Harry Warren
Age: 60
Occupation: Human resource specialist with Tar Heel Capital Corp. until Jan. 16. After that, “I’m going to devote all my time to”?representing the 77th District in the N.C.?House.
Reason to watch: This freshman legislator beat a long-time Democratic incumbent in a nail-biter election. Warren will be part of the first Republican majority in the General Assembly in more than a century.
Favorite book: “Right now, I’m listening to George Bush’s Decision Points… You get to see a side of him you wouldn’t see in an official capacity.”
Most surprising song or artist in your music collection: “I have everything from Rascal Flatts and Toby Keith to old-time Beatles hits and Stone Temple Pilots.”
Who you will watch in 2011 and why: Fellow freshmen and incoming leaders in the General Assembly. “Republicans have a unique opportunity to put forward agendas and programs we have been talking about for years.”
Reaction to making the list: “Why did you decide that??I?think the whole legislature is something to watch.”