RALEIGH, N.C. (WBTV) - Political leaders are mourning the loss of former North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, who passed away at age 73 Monday.
He served as a state senator from 1985 to 2011 and served as President Pro Tempore of the senate for a record 18 years from 1993 to 2011.
Basnight was considered among the most powerful politicians in North Carolina.
According to UNC.edu, Basnight was the the longest-serving Senate president pro tempore in state history and was the first North Carolina lawmaker to lead a chamber of the legislature for more than four consecutive terms.
Governor Roy Cooper shared the following comment:
“North Carolina lost a giant today with the passing of my friend, Senator Marc Basnight. His positive influence on our public universities, transportation, environment and more will be felt for decades. A man of great power and influence, his humble, common touch made everyone he met feel special, whether pouring them a glass of tea in his restaurant or sharing a pack of nabs at a country store. He believed in North Carolina and its people, and our state is stronger because of him. Our prayers are with Vicki, Caroline and the whole family,” Gov. Cooper said.
Attorney General Josh Stein tweeted about Basnight’s passing.
“With the passing of Sen. Marc Basnight today, NC lost a remarkable leader and a political legend. He served as president pro tempore of NC Senate for nearly two decades. I was honored to serve with him for his last two years in office. Marc cared deeply about school kids, working families, the UNC system, the state Senate, and northeastern NC. He was a true high tider. Everyone loved his distinctive brogue, which unfortunately illness had robbed him of in recent years, and I especially loved the oysters that he served at Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe in Manteo. One of a kind. A good man. I will miss him. NC will miss him. I send heartfelt condolences to his daughters Caroline and Vicki,” AG Stein said.
North Carolina General Assembly House Speaker Tim Moore also shared his condolences.
“Sen. Basnight was a leader who cared deeply about serving his constituents to make a difference in the lives of all North Carolinians,” Moore said. “Our thoughts are with his family as they honor his memory and we remember his lasting impact on this state.”
Senate Leader Phil Berger remembered the late Basnight’s grace.
“Sen. Basnight and the institution of the Senate are in many ways inseparable. He left his mark on the body, and therefore the state, over his nearly two decades of leadership. Sen. Basnight loved people,” Berger said. “I used to hear that he’d stop along the way from the Outer Banks to Raleigh just to speak to strangers and hear what they had to say. He loved people, and they loved him back. I will always remember the grace with which Sen. Basnight conducted the 2011 transition. He spared no effort and denied no request. He could wage political battle with the best of them, but he always put the institution of the Senate, as a symbol of the people’s representative government, first. He’s one of a kind, and I will miss him.”
North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin also released a statement.
“The NCDP and I are deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Senator Marc Basnight who faithfully served North Carolina in the State Senate for more than a quarter century,” Goodwin said. “He was an incredible fighter for everyday North Carolinians and was known far and wide as a reliable problem solver. As someone who served with him in the legislature I witnessed firsthand not only Senator Basnight’s advocacy for eastern and coastal North Carolina, but also how he helped every region of the State with his masterful, tireless, passionate leadership for investments in public schools, North Carolina’s public universities, conservation of our natural resources, and transportation infrastructure. His strong voice, insatiable curiosity, and his continued leadership will be greatly missed. We have lost a great friend of North Carolina, a friend whose legacy we must carry on for generations to come.”