Redenbaugh to run for N.C. Senate

by Michelle Saxton
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Staff photo by Emmy Errante 

Elizabeth Redenbaugh, left, greets her supporters on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Hannah Block Historic U.S.O. Community Arts Center in downtown Wilmington, where she officially announced her candidacy for District 9 of the North Carolina Senate.

No reelection bid for Goolsby

Former New Hanover County Board of Education member Elizabeth Redenbaugh will run for the North Carolina Senate seat currently held by Sen. Thom Goolsby.

But Redenbaugh, a Democrat, will not face Goolsby, R-New Hanover, in the general election, as the two-term District 9 senator announced he has decided against seeking reelection.

Redenbaugh officially announced her candidacy Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Hannah Block Historic U.S.O. Community Arts Center in downtown Wilmington.

“Education is a passion of mine,” Redenbaugh said shortly before making her announcement. “When I took a look at what the General Assembly has done to public education in North Carolina — they have been dismantling it, they have sunk teacher morale to an all-time low — and at that point I knew that I had to step in.”

Redenbaugh, a Wilmington attorney who was first elected to the school board in 2008 as a Republican, received a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award in 2011 after opposing redistricting changes backed by other Republicans who supported a neighborhood schools policy and arguing instead for more diversity. She later switched political parties and lost her school board seat during the 2012 election. 

“Our schools, they are an economic driver. They prepare our future work force,” Redenbaugh said. “When you have great schools, companies will look at your state to relocate.” 

If elected, Redenbaugh, a wife and mother of three, said she planned to address teacher pay raise issues in North Carolina.

Wilmington attorney Deb Butler — Goolsby’s challenger in 2012, and New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield Jr., who is running for Congress, were among those supporting Redenbaugh at the event.

“She’s got incredible integrity, she’s infinitely smart, she will uphold the principles of diversity,” Butler said of Redenbaugh. 

Goolsby, also a Wilmington attorney, announced Friday, Jan. 10, that he will not seek re-election this year, citing a need to spend more time with his family and also to focus on his law practice.

 He began his Senate service in 2011 with a promise to help create jobs. 

 “I co-sponsored and successfully fought for tax reform, regulatory reform, medical malpractice reform and private property rights reform,” Goolsby said in a news release. “I helped slash wasteful spending, cut taxes and helped make the state budget solvent. These important reforms improved our economic climate and greatly helped create jobs.”
Goolsby also sponsored enacted legislation to toughen penalties for human trafficking.

“I am a citizen legislator, not a career politician,” Goolsby said.  “I have enjoyed serving my state and nation as a Marine Corps officer and a state senator. I will look for other opportunities to serve in the future.”

Meanwhile, others considering a run for Goolsby’s seat include North Carolina Democratic Party State Executive Committee member Andrew Barnhill. 


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