State Senate leader Phil Berger files for re-election

ROCKINGHAM – Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) filed for re-election in District 26 on Tuesday.

Berger was picked by the newly minted Republican majority to take the helm of the chamber in 2011. At that time, the leadership set an aggressive agenda to cut taxes and slow government spending to work down a $2.4 billion budget deficit.  They also wanted to make North Carolina more lean and competitive for business to combat what was at the time a nearly 11 percent unemployment rate.

“It’s an honor to serve the people of Guilford and Rockingham counties in the state Senate,” said Berger. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to ignite a remarkable turnaround for North Carolina over the past five years.”

With the big, and often controversial, policy changes over the last two years and much of the agenda accomplished, some top lawmakers say it is time for them to go home and let someone else serve.

Over the past few weeks, parts of Berger’s top leadership team announced that they would not be running for re-election. Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), the driving force behind the past several years of tax cuts and tax reform, announced that he would not seek re-election. Following that announcement, Sen. Tom Apadaca (R-Buncombe), the Senate Rules Chairman, said he would retire at the end of 2016 as well.

“There’s more to do to grow our economy, improve our schools and fight for traditional conservative values,” said Berger. “With recent retirement announcements in the Senate, I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a new crop of principled conservatives to build on our reforms and continue making North Carolina the best state in the country to live, work and raise a family.”

The resignations do not seem to have changed Berger’s business as usual. This week he announced appointments to the interim Senate oversight committees to start prepping for next session, due to kick off in late April.