RALEIGH -- Last month Thomas Wright was expelled for misconduct which left voters in two local counties without representation. Tuesday, that seat was officially filled.
The end of a swearing-in oath marked the beginning of Sandra Spaulding-Hughes' legislative career.
She was sworn in as the District 18 Representative while her family, friends, and new colleagues filled more than half the chamber.
In March, the same chamber made history when members expelled predecessor Thomas Wright for misconduct.
Repairing that damage is a top priority for the freshman lawmaker.
"Integrity. Honesty. A very high priority, because we must restore integrity to District 18," said Spaulding-Hughes.
Protocol says most new legislators are seated in the rear of the chamber. But, because Spaulding-Hughes is taking over in mid-session, she has taken Wright's former seat in the front row.
In the next few weeks, Spaulding-Hughes will have a lot of learning to do. She will have to learn the rules of the House, voting procedure, how to work across the aisle and across the hall with other area lawmakers to best serve the people in New Hanover and Pender Counties.
"We're here to help her. There is a lot to learn, but she'll be fine," said Senator Julia Boseman.
Spaulding-Hughes is on the ballot to take over the District 18 seat full-time. She will face Hollis Briggs and Thomas Wright in next month's Democratic Primary. Attorney Thom Goolsby is the only Republican challenger in the race.
Reported by Jon Evans