BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - After media scrutiny of proposed legislation that would ensure him a full pension, outgoing District Attorney Rex Gore (D-Bladen, Columbus, Brunswick) says he called State Senator R.C. Soles to ask him to change the wording in the bill to make sure Gore did not benefit personally.
"My request was to get me out from under it so I'm not the object of the bill," Rex Gore told WECT News on the phone late Monday.
Last week, Senator Soles introduced a bill that would offer a third option for retirees under the state pension system, guaranteeing a full pension for those who are at least 62 years old with a minimum of twenty years of service. Right now, the only retirees eligible for a full pension are those who are at least 65 or have a minimum of 24 years of service. Gore will leave office at the end of the year with more than twenty years service, but three years shy of 65.
I was not consulted by that bill and it will not affect me in any way, because quite frankly at the end of the year I'm through being D.A. and I'm very happy with that.
Gore says he proposed the bill to Senator Soles, but now feels the request was "ill-timed." He says it's fair to say he asked for the legislation to help his pension.
"I think that's a fair observation, because it would in fact be of a benefit to me," Gore said. "So I wouldn't certainly ask that they would not think it was a fair observation."
Gore says he understands only about five people in the state would benefit from this change if the General Assembly approves. Gore says he believes Senator Soles was receptive to the request for a change in the wording.
Senator Soles also introduced legislation last week that would split the District Attorney districts in to two positions -- one for Brunswick County and one for Columbus/Bladen Counties. That's something Gore says he's always opposed.
"As long as I was D.A. I was never in favor of splitting the district," Gore said. "I am not the incumbent anymore and a bill has been presented. I was not consulted by that bill and it will not affect me in any way, because quite frankly at the end of the year I'm through being D.A. and I'm very happy with that."
The Brunswick County Democratic Party has called a meeting for Thursday night to discuss the proposed legislation. County Chairwoman Donna Silva sent an email request for comments for members of the Democratic Party and Gore says he responded saying to leave the legislation alone.
Friday, Gore sent the following statement to the head of the Brunswick County Democratic Party:
With all due respect, you need to leave the language alone… it means nothing… not binding on the governor… the less you talk about it the better… you do not need to confront Soles on this bill… it is being introduced to protect Columbus and Bladen… it is not something any committee needs to discuss.. the more attention you draw to it, the harder it will be to accomplish… at least this way you have a chance of getting a Dem appointed if we can defeat David… and no, I am not interested in being appointed
As for his future, Gore says he'll sit down in September and start to think about his next move. He says he might try to stay in the state retirement system and teach at a community college, work in a public defenders office or try some other government-related work. He also says he'll consider going into private practice.
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