WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - State Senator Goolsby has announced his immediate resignation from the Ninth District seat in the North Carolina Senate.
Goolsby wrote to Governor McCrory to inform him of his decision:
Dear Governor McCrory,
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of New Hanover County in the North Carolina Senate.
I pledged to be the Jobs Senator, and I have been the Jobs Senator. I'm proud of the conservative fiscal reforms I have helped enact during my tenure. These policies have gotten our local economy moving again.
Since the day I was sworn into office, New Hanover County's unemployment rate has dropped dramatically, from 10.3 percent to 5.8 percent.
With the Short Session adjourned, I hereby resign the Ninth District seat in the North Carolina Senate, effective immediately. I thank my family, my colleagues and most of all, the people of New Hanover County for allowing me the honor of serving in the General Assembly.
With kindest regards,
Thomas C Goolsby, MBA, JD
Goolsby was elected to his first term in 2010, defeating former UNC Wilmington Chancellor James Leutze for the office. He won re-election in 2012 by defeating attorney Deb Butler. In January of this year, Goolsby announced he would not seek a third term, choosing instead to spend more time with his family.
"I just enjoyed serving," said Goolsby, hours after announcing his resignation. "I'm just ready to come home. It's been a long four years."
Sam Ibrahim, the Executive Chairman of the New Hanover County Republican Committee, said he hopes the members can meet sometime next week to recommend a candidate to serve out the rest of Goolsby's term in the state Senate.
"Of course the natural choice is Michael Lee because he is running for Senate," Ibrahim said. "But it's not a guarantee. The executive committee could choose someone else, but I don't see it happening."
Michael Lee, the Republican nominee for the District 9 seat, was contacted about Goolsby's decision while driving to meet his family out of town. Lee said he had just heard the news, and responded with a comment regarding the process of finding a replacement.
"I want to be the next state Senator from New Hanover County, that's why I am running (for the office)," Lee said. "I will participate in the process, whatever that entails."
Elizabeth Redenbaugh, Lee's Democratic opponent in November's General Election, also released a comment regarding Goolsby's resignation:
With Thom Goolsby's resignation from the Senate today, Wilmington voters can begin to turn the page on a reckless agenda that repeatedly picked the wealthy and special interests over our students, teachers and middle class families. Our campaign isn't about Thom Goolsby. It is about the voters and changing the priorities in Raleigh. There is no doubt that Michael Lee will only continue to neglect our teachers and students, our clean air, water and land and our local economy, just as his Republican friends have done. I plan to move Wilmington and our state forward by treating all North Carolinians with the dignity, value and respect we deserve. I'm confident that voters are ready for a real change this November.
"I think it's an opportunity for voters to turn the page on what's been a reckless agenda," said Redenbaugh. "If my opponent is the one that does replace Goolsby, it doesn't mean he'll win."