Martin won't seek re-election
By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector
Monday, November 20, 2017
A Wilson County legislator who represents a portion of Pitt County announced Monday she won't seek re-election in 2018.
State Rep. Susan Martin made her announcement in an email that detailed the legislative accomplishments she was involved in during her tenure.
"I ran in 2012 because we needed a fresh voice in Raleigh. Now it is time for someone else to add their new voice," Martin wrote. "After much prayer and discussion with my family, I’ve decided not to run for re-election in 2018. I have loved serving the citizens of Wilson and Pitt counties and look forward to continuing to affect change."
Martin, a Republican, represents House District 8, one of two districts which is split between Pitt and Wilson counties. The state legislative maps under which Martin ran were redrawn earlier this year after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a judicial panel’s finding that race was incorrectly used to redrawn some of the districts.
Under the plan approved by the General Assembly, and currently being modified by a consultant appointed by the judicial panel, Wilson and Pitt counties will no longer be linked legislatively. Wilson County would have one House seat, District 24. The change places Martin and eight-term representative Jean Farmer-Butterfield, a Democrat, in the same district. Martin said the prospect of running against Farmer-Butterfield played no role in her decision.
“I think it’s important that we add new voices moving forward,” Martin said. “It’s time for me to step aside but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue moving with that positive momentum.”
State House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, thanked Martin for her dedication and effectiveness.
“Rep. Susan Martin is an exceptional member of the state House who is uniquely committed to serving her constituents in eastern North Carolina,” Moore said. “Her steadfast voice on behalf of families in Wilson and Pitt counties will be missed by her colleagues in the General Assembly and all North Carolinians who deserve the hard work and strong character she embodies as a legislative leader.”
Martin will finish out her third term which end late next year.
“I am excited about that because not having to run in a competitive district, whether it’s the new district or the one I have now, will give me more time to focus on policy and have some balance with family,” she said. “I plan to be more focused on moving policy forward and supporting my constituents and not have to devote so much time to the campaign side.”
Martin serves as a co-chairwoman of the House finance and commerce committees and the Joint Legislative Economic Development and Global Engagement Oversight Committee.
Martin said the committee will submit legislation that adjust how the state defines economically distressed communities and how economic development can be carried out in every county.
“One thing that has become clear as I’ve talked to so many people across the state successful economic development is locally driven, and it’s based on the unique assets of that community and local leaders coming together and having a commitment to move forward,” she said. “There has to be some fluidity but they are committed to moving forward if the plans have to be slightly altered.”
Martin thinks rural North Carolina will benefit from efforts to development food commercialization and manufacturing facilities. She also is supportive of efforts such as the Wilson academy of Applied Technology, Lee Technology Center and AgriTech program at Wilson Community College, Pitt Early College High School and the pharmaceutical services network at Pitt Community College and East Carolina University. All are advancing efforts to prepare a workforce that will have the skills current and future businesses will need, she said.
Martin said she while she has no immediate plans to pursue another elected office, she won’t rule out returning to politics in the future.
“I’ve really appreciated getting to know the people in Pitt County, who were new to me, and becoming part of a team. I love the way people are willing to work together,” she said.
Contact Ginger Livingston at email@example.com or 252-329-9570. Follow her on Twitter @GingerLGDR.