After serving seven consecutive terms, amounting to 14 years in office, Representative Phil Haire, (D-119) will not be running for an eighth term in the General Assembly.
Western North Carolina was buzzing with the news last week after Haire issued a press release announcing his decision to not seek re-election.
“As visions of sugar plums dance in our heads”, we recall the wonderful memories of family, friends, and fellowship during the Christmas season. As we look forward to the coming New Year, I will not be filing for re-election to the 119th District of the North Carolina House of Representatives,” said Haire. “It has been my highest honor and privilege to have been elected by you to serve as your representative for seven consecutive terms. So, to the finest people, in the finest part of North Carolina and in the best State in the United States, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish God’s blessing on each and every one,” he concluded.
During his reign in the General Assembly, Haire has been the chief House budget writer as co-chair of the appropriations committee, as well as cochaired the justice and public safety committee and served on the environment committee, where he is still a member.
According to Haire, one of his proudest accomplishments while in office came in 2000 after a student from Western Carolina University gave birth to a child and then dumped the newborn baby in a dumpster in Macon County.
“I sponsored a bill, which at the time was called the Abandoned Baby Act, that would allow mothers to give unwanted newborns to responsible authorities without being asked any questions,” said Haire. “Before I sponsored that legislation, women could be charged with abandonment for giving up their child, but the new laws helped young women and has saved the lives of innocent babies.”
Although his last day as a member of the House of Representative will not come until the end of December 2012, Haire wanted to announce his decision early to give potential candidates adequate time to plan for a campaign. “It is still a little too early to be able to say for sure who will be running to replace me,” noted Haire. “In the next week or two I am sure we’ll begin to see some names float around.”
According to Haire, the recent controversial redistricting maps had no influence on his decision not to seek an eighth term. “The maps had no impact whatsoever on my decision not to run again,” said Haire. “I have nothing but good things to say about the opportunity to work in the General Assembly. I have had a wonderful experience working with both Republicans and Democrats. I have no negative feelings influencing my choice not to run, but after 14 years, it is time to pursue other interests.”
The redistricting maps took Macon County away from Haire and gave him a territory composed of Jackson and parts of Haywood and Swain counties. During September's meeting of the Macon County Democratic Women’s Club, Haire noted that although he no longer represented Macon County on the map, he would always keep the best interest of Maconians in mind while serving the state.
“I have a lot of friends in Macon County and I was able to do a lot of things to help the county out during my time, and I will always be willing to help the county in anyway I can,” said Haire.
In June of last year, his wife, Connie Haire, retired from Southwestern Community College’s Macon County campus, where she was senior vice president. Now that they are both retired, Haire said that he and his wife will spend a lot of time traveling. “I have two sons in Florida and one in Massachusetts, now I will be able to travel and see the grandchildren,” he said.