North Carolina House Republicans selected Cleveland County Rep. Tim Moore as their choice for Speaker of the House of Representatives, making him the almost-certain successor to U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis in one of the state's three most powerful public offices.
Moore, 44, an attorney in rural King's Mountain and seven-term representative, received 37 votes in the first-round of voting - likely a comfortable victory in a race against five other candidates.
Moore most recently served as chair of the Rules Committee, playing an important role in deciding when some bills would be heard in committees. He was seen as an important ally to Speaker Tillis, who was often an intermediary in the law-making process between Gov. Pat McCrory and Senate Leader Phil Berger. While the governor and House and Senate leaders are Republicans, they often found themselves at odds on issues such as Medicaid and health care expansion.
Moore said in a brief interview with reporters that he opposes expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a decision which advocates have said has resulted in 500,000 otherwise-eligible people going without insurance. He wouldn't say how his leadership may differ from Tillis' leadership.
"I am committed to improving North Carolina through greater economic opportunity, less burdensome regulations and a new vision for educating and equipping our students," Moore said in a statement. "I intend to serve the people of North Carolina as a solutions-based leader of this institution who values conservative ideals and stands for common sense governing."
Other high-profile issues likely to come before lawmakers in the next session include taxes, a possible revenue shortfall in the new year, the state's review of the Common Core academic standards, rules for hydraulic fracturing exploration, and the management of the state's coal ash ponds.
— Jorge Valencia (@jorgeavalencia) November 22, 2014