by Bob Geary
Folks around here may not know the name Rick Glazier, though we should. He's from Fayetteville, a lawyer, former Cumberland County school board member, and a seven-term member of the N.C. House of Representatives, where he's been a leading voice for public schools, environmental quality, voting rights, women's rights — you name it, he's been there.
Glazier, I'm told*, is letting fellow legislators know today that he'll be leaving the House
soon at the end of the current session to take a full-time post at the N.C. Justice Center — I don't know job title, but I'm sure he'll be an instant leader there. (Update: He'll be CEO, so yeah!) It's good news for the Justice Center, of course. But it's bad news that a skilled legislator like Glazier is so frustrated by what the Republicans are doing to North Carolina that he feels there is no role for his skills any more in the General Assembly.
* (Update: His press release just went out. I've copied it below.)
The Republicans are in complete control of the House and the Senate, and they have utter disdain for the Democrats and, for that matter, anyone who fails to salute them smartly. And they have no interest whatever in facts, research, scholarship or public input of any kind, only their own ideology and their own self-interest.
For a little background reading on Glazier, I found these — the first is from last week about the GOP bill limiting abortion access, the second from last year on school vouchers and why they violate the state constitution.
Then I went to his campaign website and found this list of honors Glazier's received over the past six years. It's a proof statement that, to progressive-minded groups who care what the General Assembly does, he was their champion. (By the way, the first item listed, 16th most effective legislator in the House, tells a lot, because with the Republicans in charge, it's amazing any Democrat could be ranked that high. This is the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research survey of legislators themselves, lobbyists and other inside-baseball types.)
2014 — Sixteenth (16/120) Highest Effective Legislative Ranking — highest Democrat in the Legislature
2013 — North Carolina AHA Advocacy Heart of a Champion Award
2013 — North Carolina PTA Oak Leaf Award
2013 — Luther “Nick” Jeralds Award for Advocacy and Commitment to the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy — Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Council of North Carolina
2012 — North Carolina Council of Churches Faith Active in Public Life Award
2012 — North Carolina Bar Association Citizen Lawyer Award
2012 — Patrick Henry Award from the North Carolina National Guard
2011 — President’s Award — North Carolina Association of Educators
2011 — 100% Green Legislator — Environment North Carolina State
2011 — Green Tie Defender of the Environment Award — North Carolina League of Conservation Voters
2011 — Elected Democratic House Minority Whip
2011 — Interstate Commission on Educational Opportunity for Military Children State Council Member
2011 — Out of Field Award — North Carolina Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association (NCDTSEA)
2010 — Legislative Advocate of the Year — National Association of Social Workers North Carolina
2010 — Southern Regional Education Board Middle Grades Commission Member
2009 — Fifth (5/120) Highest Effective Legislative Ranking
2009 — Public School Forum Board of Directors
2009 — Sunshine Award for Campaign Transparency — Democracy North Carolina
2009 — Legislator of the Year — The North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (NCAAHPERD)
2009 — Legislator of the Year — Autism Society of North Carolina
2009 — Triangle Access for Breaking Attitudinal Barriers Award — Alliance of Disability Advocates
2009 — North Carolina AFL-CIO Friend of Working People Award
2009 — Appointment to the Millbanks Foundation Eastern United States Health Policy Advisory Board
2009 — Valand Award for Legislative Leadership — Mental Health Association in North Carolina
2009 — Friend of the Arts — North Carolina Art Education Association
2008 — Democracy Award — Common Cause of North Carolina
2008 — Excellence in Public Service Award — North Carolina Lung Association
2008 — Legislator of the Year North Carolina — Southern Regional Area Health Education Center
2008 — Legislator of the Year — North Carolina Association of Superintendents and Administrators
2008 — North Carolina TASC Legislative Leadership Award
2008 — Special Award for Outstanding Contributions to the North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented Student
Here's the text of Glazier's statement:
It has been my honor to serve our community in the NC House of Representatives for the last 13 years and before that for 6 years on the Cumberland County Board of Education. I have tried to do so with honor and dignity, respecting both the institution in which I serve and the community I represent.
That being said, service comes in many forms. Recently, I have been given an enormous opportunity to impact even further progress on issues that have dominated my work at the General Assembly—-issues of poverty, equal opportunity, and social justice. And, although part of my heart will always be here with the incredible friends I have made in this House, friendships that I am certain will extend the remainder of my life, my heart now calls me to a different place to work with yet another set of outstanding professionals and colleagues on these same issues.
It has been my unique honor to serve these thirteen years in the NC House and now equally it is so to be named as the new Executive Director of one of the southeastern United States most thoughtful, effective and distinguished institutes, the NC Justice Center, whose goals are reduce the effects of poverty in our state, improve and sustain support for public education, provide equal opportunity and economic security for all who reside here, and assure equal justice under the law for everyone.
So, it is with a real mix of emotions, that I tender to you today my letter of resignation from the North Carolina House of Representatives, effective upon final adjournment of this long session this summer. I have notified my local party chair to begin the process of selecting my replacement so that my district will not go without representation in the interim and for the short session next year.
For the remainder of this session I will continue to represent the community and people that I love with all my effort and capacity. When the session ends, and I leave public office, I will do the same in my new role, continuing to enjoy the many lifetime friendships forged with, and utilizing the lessons learned from, the people of Cumberland County.