Our View: Twin Counties will miss Sen. Bryant's commitment


Rocky Mount Telegram

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

When someone advocates for action at the state level, they often urge constituents to contact their "local" state representative or senator to join the cause.

If you ask for that legislator in Rocky Mount, you might as well put a name on it – N.C. Sen. Angela Bryant.

For a dozen years, Bryant has represented the interests of the Twin Counties in the N.C. General Assembly, first as a representative, then as a senator.

Bryant announced last week she will not seek re-election to the legislature this year. That news comes as a blow to all of us. Sen. Bryant's interests have practically defined the word "local" ever since she went to Raleigh to serve.

Whether she was helping to shepherd the sale of ElectriCities' assets to Duke Power or trying to mediate a solution to keep Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools intact, Bryant's heart, soul and legal skills worked overtime for the people of Rocky Mount.

Her commitment to the city in which she was born and reared gave Rocky Mount – indeed, much of Eastern North Carolina – a strong, passionate voice in the General Assembly.

Bryant leaves the legislature largely because of the giant gerrymandering mess that has cost the state millions of dollars and kept it locked up in court for the better part of this decade. The circumstances make her departure all the more painful. North Carolina needs more leaders like her.

That is not to say her agenda always matched the priorities of newspaper editors and publishers. And Sen. Bryant never hesitated to fire an email our way when she had differences with the way a story was reported in the Rocky Mount Telegram or our editorial position on state and local matters.

But that kind of engagement only underscored her commitment to the Rocky Mount community. Simply voting up or down or taking a position wasn't enough for Bryant. She went out of her way to make sure her constituents understood the factors behind her commitment to a cause.

In an age when too many lawmakers lock the door and turn off their phones once they arrive in Raleigh or Washington, Bryant's approachability was a breath of fresh air. It was never unusual to run into her in the aisles at Harris-Teeter, where she would gladly offer her take on a state budget issue or today's grocery special.

Bryant promises to remain active in local and state affairs in some capacity in the years ahead. Rocky Mount will be better off for that commitment. We're grateful for the many years she has given on our behalf already.