RALEIGH – The new-look N.C. General Assembly convened Wednesday, Jan. 9, for the first time since November’s general election.

That election saw the Republican Party lose its supermajority in both chambers of the state legislature, meaning the GOP alone can no longer override Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, after he vetoes a bill.

Among the new faces venturing to Raleigh for their first term in office is former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander, who unseated incumbent state Sen. David Curtis. Alexander, a Republican, will now represent Senate District 44, which includes all of Lincoln and Cleveland counties as well as a small portion of Gaston County.

While it will likely take some time for Alexander to get settled in his new role and learn the ins and outs of the legislature, improving the economic climate of Senate District 44 remains his top priority.

“I really want to help this district in terms of its economic development,” Alexander said. “I also want to improve the economic climate by promoting the trade careers like electricians, plumbers, mechanics, masons and all of those areas where we’re now facing a real shortage of qualified tradespeople. I really want to spend some time focusing on that, which I think will in turn help the quality of life for our citizens in the district.”

State Rep. Jason Saine, Lincoln County’s other representative in the legislature, is returning to Raleigh for his fifth term.

“I’ve got kind of a laundry list of things that continue to be ongoing projects,” Saine said. “We’ll be working day in and day out to secure state data, which means citizen data, making sure that we’re do everything we can to address continued cyber threats on the horizon. We’re also looking at how entities that do business with our citizens secure their data. We don’t want onerous regulations, but at the same time we want to make sure that everyone is making it a priority to protect people’s information.”

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