Barrett begins term as NC senator

Published 12:10 am Monday, August 28, 2017

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Learning the nuances of the state legislature and unsure about his plans for 2018, Dan Barrett started his time as a state senator last week.

Barrett, an attorney and Davie County resident, was sworn into the N.C. Senate at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Later, he was formally introduced as the state senator for the 34th District and took his seat, which will be No. 10.

Barrett will serve until the end of 2018, the remainder of former Sen. Andrew Brock’s term. Brock resigned in June to take a job on the state’s Board of Review. On Aug. 15, Republicans from three counties picked Barrett from a field of three candidates.

At times, Barrett said he’s shown his inexperience by walking down the wrong hallways or not pressing a button to vote within an allotted five seconds. Still, Barrett said he’s received plenty of help from senators with more experience, including his seatmate, Deputy President Pro Tem Louis Pate.

Barrett described his experience so far in the N.C. Senate with just a few words.

“It’s been awesome,” he said.

His term begins as the N.C. General Assembly finalizes a court-ordered redistricting for House and Senate districts. It’s likely that the boundaries will shift as a result.

Barrett currently represents the 34th District, which includes all of Davie County and parts of Rowan and Iredell counties. As proposed, the new maps would “double-bunk” Barrett with another Republican senator — Joyce Krawiec of Forsyth County. The new district would include parts of Forsyth County and all of Davie County.

Asked whether he’d run for a full term in the N.C. Senate, Barrett said he would like to, but he’s unsure what finalized district lines would look like.

“I think it’s a little early to make a commitment,” he said.

Even if the N.C. General Assembly approves the maps as presented, federal judges could decide to draw their own to be used in 2018 or a special election.

Barrett said he’s focused on the roughly 16 months he will serve as the 34th District’s representative.

On Friday, Barrett said he hadn’t received any permanent committee assignments. Barrett said he may receive some interim assignments, but he’s hoping for a permanent appointment to the following: agriculture, judiciary, transportation and health.

This week, the N.C. General Assembly will continue its special session where redistricting has taken center stage.

Barrett said any permanent committee assignments would come when the N.C. Senate meets for its “short session” next year.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246