RALEIGH Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne) was elected as the N.C. House majority leader, finishing the term of recently resigned Rep. Mike Hager (R-Rutherford). Bell has represented the Goldsboro area for two terms, most recently serving as the Republican majority whip. He will hold the position until the Republican Caucus chooses new leadership in December to serve in the 2017-2018 session. Bell would like to remain majority leader, a role tasked with keeping the caucus focused on their legislative agenda.”We have to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and make sure that we are creating good fiscal policy for the state and fulfill the directive of those who sent us to Raleigh,” said Bell. “It is my job to make sure our team stays unified. And that can be challenging when you deal with 75 folks with different personalities and strong opinions. That’s why they were were elected, to go fight for their districts.”Keeping the caucus on task with a clear agenda has its challenges, but for now Bell, along with the other members, face re-election in November. Republicans have a super majority in the House, holding 75 of the 120 seats.”I think we will maintain the majority,” said Bell. “We have some challenges in the metropolitan areas of our state based on the population growth. Because of the good fiscal policies we’ve put into place, N.C. has now become the ninth largest economy in the country. If you put it on the scale globally, it’s the 23rd largest economy in the world. That’s staggering.”Between campaign stops, the leadership team is also working on education and economic policy.”We want to continue our work on education and making sure that the dollars for education get into the classrooms,” said Bell. “We’ve done a good job on that with increasing teacher pay, but there is still more that can be done. The next phase is to look at economic development, and how we can use good, sound tax policy and regulatory reform to spur economic development, especially around our military bases.”Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe was elected to take over as majority whip, and Rep. Pat McElraft of Emerald Isle will serve as deputy whip.
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