RALEIGH – As the longest serving member of the General Assembly, Rep. Mickey Michaux (D-Durham) announced his retirement in 2018. Not so fast. The legislature convenes for the first time in 2020 this week, and Michaux will likely be among the Democrats’ caucus in the N.C. Senate.
Last week Governor Roy Cooper appointed Democrat N.C. Senator Floyd McKissick Jr. (D-Durham) to the N.C. Utilities Commission, a pretty good gig regulating rate changes and such for the state’s energy companies. McKissick’s departure comes during his seventh term in the General Assembly and leaves a big hole in the Democrats’ senate ranks. However, the local Democrat officials in charge of nominating his replacement already had in mind another long-serving Democrat from Durham.
As the longest serving House member now serves again in the Senate to fulfill the rest of McKissick’s term, that body faces a possibility of taking up an override of Governor Cooper’s budget veto. Remember, we STILL don’t have a budget because Cooper has held it hostage to Medicaid expansion and other liberal wish list items. The House was able to override the budget veto when Democrats were caught napping in 2019.
Cooper is expected to confirm the appointment before the legislature convenes Tuesday. The balance of power won’t change so much as added fresh attention on what could happen during the year’s first session. House and Senate leaders have indicated that lawmakers will only be in town for a day or two, voting on some necessary house cleaning items, perhaps scrambling to address some funding issues stemming from there being no budget, and, of course, keeping an eye open for a possible override of the governor’s budget veto.