Justice prepares to leave General Assembly

by Michelle Saxton
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

With the end of 2012 drawing near, Rep. Carolyn Justice was looking ahead at her final month in the North Carolina House and her future plans.

The hardest part will be leaving those she has worked with for so long, including fellow lawmakers, research staff, clerk’s office personnel, legislative assistants and janitors, said Justice, R-Pender and New Hanover.

“It’s just like walking away from your family,” Justice said  during a telephone interview on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Other than a December meeting with the General Assembly’s Environmental Review Commission, and unless a call were to come from the House Ethics Committee, Justice’s legislative duties seemed nearly wrapped up. 

Issues expected to be discussed at the meeting include a proposal in Virginia to lift a ban on uranium mining. Because of concerns a possible breach could impair North Carolina waters, the commission planned to work on a resolution against lifting the moratorium, Justice said.

Justice, who has served in the House for 10 years and chose not to run for re-election, said the most difficult challenge was working on mental health reforms.

“It is hard as a human being not to let your emotions drive you,” Justice said. 

Some of the more rewarding moments have included working on improvements to the hog farm industry, and helping poorer areas of Pender County become included in designated port enhancement zones and become eligible for tax credits for jobs created, she said.

Justice recently released a goodbye letter through email, saying she looked forward to spending more time with her family and business back home.

“I will miss the hustle and bustle of the General Assembly and the important work that is done there,” Justice said in the email.

Much work remains, Justice said.

“The Two Billion Dollar Debt to the Federal Government for Unemployment Tax, developing a workable plan to help businesses prosper so they can begin hiring and addressing the failures in our education system are just a few issues that must be dealt with immediately,” Justice wrote. 

Rep. Chris Millis, a Republican and civil engineer, was elected to serve in the 16th District, which now includes Pender County and part of Onslow County.

Justice, 66, anticipated a busy future, working as property manager for a mini-storage facility and several shopping centers in Hampstead and serving as president of the Lower Cape Fear Republican Women’s Club.

Justice said she set a five-term limit for herself in the House and would not run for that seat again; however, she also stated she would not rule out a run for other political offices in the future.

Serving in the General Assembly has been an honor, Justice said, adding she spoke with someone recently elected and remarked on the phenomena of so many people walk into a booth and check off your name.

“That is, when you think about it, just really a big deal — that those people say, ‘I think you can do this,’” Justice said. “That’s pretty humbling.”

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