From The Office Of Rep. Shelly Willingham



N.C. House of Representatives

300 N Salisbury Street, #513

Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

(919) 715-3024

(919) 754-3224 (fax)


The Honorable Shelly Willingham

Edgecombe & Martin- District 23

June 29, 2018


  • Alcoholic Beverage Control;
  • Appropriations;
  • Appropriations –   Justice/Public Safety;
  • Elections & Ethics Law;
  • Rules, Calendar & Operations of the House;
  • State Personnel
  • Transportation
  • Redistricting
  • Disaster Relief

The audio legislative session is available at Select “Audio and then House or Senate Chamber, Appropriations Committee Room or Press Conference Room







RALEIGH: On Monday, Governor Cooper took action on 39 bills that were passed by the General Assembly and brought to his desk for approval.

Governor Cooper vetoed the following bills:

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on his veto of House Bill 131: Adding another excuse to set aside a bond forfeiture when a criminal defendant fails to appear in court hurts school funding and reduces incentives to ensure justice is served.

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on his veto of House Bill 374: Ending protections from pollution on the coast hurts the effort to make sure our water is clean. Other revisions to environmental protections are unnecessary, especially at a time when confidence in public water supplies needs to be stronger, not weaker.

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on his veto of House Bill 382: Adding another excuse to set aside a bond forfeiture when a criminal defendant fails to appear in court hurts school funding and reduces incentives to ensure justice is served.

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on his veto of House Bill 717: Legislative attempts to rig the courts by reducing the people’s vote hurts justice. Piecemeal attempts to target judges create unnecessary confusion and show contempt for North Carolina’s judiciary.

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on his veto of House Bill 1055: Some past attempts to alter the retirement system have been ruled unconstitutional for taking away vested rights from teachers and state employees. Although this legislation was designed to save the state money, I believe taking away these retirement options from our teachers and state employees could end up losing the system more money than this legislation seeks to save.

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on his veto of Senate Bill 325: Previous attempts like this by the legislature to discriminate and manipulate the voting process have been struck down by the courts. True democracy should make it easier for people to vote, not harder.  

Gov. Cooper shared the following statement on his veto of Senate Bill 717: While agriculture is vital to North Carolina’s economy, so property rights are vital to people’s homes and other businesses.

North Carolina’s nuisance laws can help allow generations of families to enjoy their homes and land without fear for their health and safety.  Those same laws stopped the Tennessee Valley Authority from pumping air pollution into our mountains.

Our laws must balance the needs of businesses versus property rights. Giving one industry special treatment at the expense of its neighbors is unfair.

Governor Cooper signed the following bills into law:




clip_image011Wick Baker, Vidant Edgecombe hospital president, has announced his intention to retire later this year after more than 40 years in the health care industry.
Since 2003, Wick has served as Vidant Edgecombe’s president. Under his leadership, the hospital established an inpatient hospitalist program; expanded its Emergency Department; began construction on a new Cancer Center; and created new patient care services and programs, including inpatient dialysis, the Medical Intermediate Unit, a Behavioral Health Outpatient program and the Cardiovascular Pulmonary Rehab program.
Wick focused his tenure on serving and caring for the Tarboro community and ensuring patients received great care from a compassionate and unified team.
As Wick begins his transition later in the year, Patrick Heins, president of Vidant Roanoke-Chowan hospital, will assume the role of Vidant Edgecombe hospital president.  
Patrick has been part of the Vidant Health family for more than 21 years, starting as a nurse at Vidant Medical Center’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit. He has held various leadership roles throughout the system, including Vidant Edgecombe’s vice president of Patient Care Services for 10 years. During his time at Vidant Edgecombe, he also served as the hospital’s interim president in 2012 and 2013.
As Vidant Roanoke-Chowan’s president since 2016, Patrick has built trust and engagement with team members, providers and community members, while improving quality metrics and operational efficiencies to create better experiences and outcomes. 

clip_image013A search process will begin in the coming weeks for Patrick’s replacement.  Other transitions include Jeff Sackrison, who retired on June 22 as the president of Vidant Chowan and Vidant Bertie hospitals. Jeff has served as Vidant Chowan and Vidant Bertie’s leader and voice since 2003 and has played an instrumental role in helping Vidant fulfill its Mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina.
Brian Harvill, vice president of Finance at Vidant Chowan and Bertie hospitals, will assume the role of president effective June 23. Brian has been a leader at Chowan and Bertie for seven years, overseeing accounting, purchasing and budget review, while providing leadership support to various departments. 


CSX Intermodal Facility Coming to Edgecombe County

Project will give industry efficient access to rail in Eastern NC

RALEIGH – A new intermodal transportation facility will be built in Edgecombe County to help industry get products to customers and spur growth in the region, officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation announced today. NCDOT has reached an agreement with CSX Corporation regarding the building and operation of the Edgecombe County facility.
“This facility will make Eastern North Carolina even more attractive to businesses looking to grow by offering a logistical solution to industry shipping challenges,” said NCDOT Secretary Jim Trogdon. “We are pleased to help bring this intermodal facility to Eastern North Carolina.”

The facility, known as the Carolina Connector (CCX), will be built on the CSX mainline and CSX will run it. NCDOT will invest up to $118.1 million for site development and roadway construction. NCDOT conducted an economic impact evaluation in early June and determined the facility will have an indirect job impact of up to 1,300 jobs.
Once the contract is executed, site development work will begin with an anticipated completion date of 2020.

Getting products to the customer is paramount to any business’s success,” said Carolinas Gateway Partnership CEO and President Norris Tolson. “We at the Carolina Gateway Partnership are pleased that the CCX intermodal site will provide another vital link in the logistics solutions offered for our customer base in the Twin Counties and all of Eastern North Carolina. Edgecombe and Nash counties will now truly be a gateway to markets throughout the eastern part of the U.S.”
The project was scored and evaluated per North Carolina’s data-driven process that allows NCDOT to invest available funds more efficiently and effectively to enhance the state’s infrastructure, while supporting economic growth, job creation and a higher quality of life.
Originally, CSX intended to build what is called a “hub and spoke” intermodal facility in Edgecombe County. In November 2017, CSX put those plans on hold as the company reassessed its long-term business model. Since then, North Carolina officials have remained in contact with CSX to ensure the North Carolina site remained in consideration.
The newly envisioned site will be a traditional intermodal site. The 330-acre site will allow trucks to bring cargo containers to a rail yard where they will be transferred to trains for transport. This facility will serve many industries with efficient access to rail.


Are you interested in being our next Small Business of the Month Winner? We have several small businesses in the area and we would love to recognize you! If you would like to submit your nomination,

click here.

CONGRATULATIONS to the previous Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Month Winners below

WLQC-FM Life 103.1

Hicks Animal Clinic

John Hackney Agency
of Rocky Mount

Holden Temporaries

Lassiter & Sperati PLLC

Golden Corral Restaurant

The Prime Smokehouse

Monique Brown MD PC

Harrold & Associates

Gus H. Tulloss Insurance

Wholesale Paint Center Inc.


clip_image017Martin County Receives $1 Million Grant from NC Department of Commerce for Industrial

WILLIAMSTON, NC – Martin County recently received notice of a $1,013,940 grant award from the NC Department of Commerce’s Rural ReadySites program for infrastructure improvements in the Martin County Regional Industrial Park in Everetts.

“This is great news for Martin County,” stated Jason Semple, President of Martin County Economic Development Corporation.  “Infrastructure capacity is critical for the recruitment of new companies, but even more importantly, for the support of our existing industries.”

The Rural ReadySites program, administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Division, helps rural communities prepare prospective sites for industrial development. The program will invest more than $14 million in public infrastructure construction and improvements for sites that have a strong potential to attract fry. The North Carolina General Assembly appropriated $2 million for this purpose, and the Department of Commerce added the additional $12 million to fund these projects.

The scope of the Martin County project will include expansion of the gravity sewer system and the rehabilitation of the existing elevated storage tank at the Martin County Regional Industrial Park in Everetts. The work on the water storage tank will benefit of all tenants in the park, including future ones, while the additional sewer infrastructure is necessary to serve the western parcels in the industrial park. The estimated cost for the work is $1,126,600.  Martin County is providing a 10 percent match for the grant.

“We are thankful to the NC Department of Commerce and the State of North Carolina for their investment in Martin County.  We have been successful in the last few years expanding the industrial park and helping businesses grow in Martin County.  This investment will help us continue to expand our industrial base and job opportunities for Martin County and our region,” said County Manager David Bone.

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Photos/Video: NC House Rep. Shelly Willingham Swearing In Ceremony Saturday January 10, 2015

Click on photo to view more photos
In this photo Judge Quentin Sumner (left), Alethia Willingham (center)
, Rep. Shelly Willingham (right)


Click on photo to watch video
In this photo Judge Quentin Sumner (left), Alethia Willingham (center), Rep. Shelly Willingham (right)


Congratulations Shelly Willingham NC House 23 Rep. Edgecombe & Martin Counties

07/15/2014 Unofficial Second Primary Election Results

State Board of Elections
34 of 34 Precincts Reported

Shelly Willingham   2,668 51.92 %
Rusty Holderness    2,471 48.08 %

Edgecombe County
21 of 21 Precincts Reported

Shelly Willingham   2,036 52.62 %
Rusty Holderness    1,833 47.38 %

Martin County
Rusty Holderness      638 50.24 %
Shelly Willingham     632 49.76 %

Democrats refocus on primary runoff – Rocky Mount Telegram

The race for the District 23 seat in the N.C. House of Representatives will go to a runoff election between Democrats Shelly Willingham and R.B. “Rusty” Holderness.

Willingham received the most votes in a four-way race for the position during last week’s primary election with 2,978 votes, or 35.61 percent. However, he failed to reach a 40 percent threshold required to avoid the possibility of a second primary. Since Willingham received less than 40 percent of the votes, Holderness, who was the second-highest vote getter, had the right to request a second primary, which he did Tuesday. The second primary election will be held July 15. (Source: Read more)

Edgecombe County – NC House 23 Race Shelly Willingham Wins Primary Election May 6, 2014 But Rusty Holderness Can Call For A Run-off

I commend Shelly Willingham for being consistent in his seeking to be elected to the NC General Assembly. He worked hard and he deserve the opportunity to go to Raleigh to serve the people.

Rusty Holderness on the other hand has a big choice to make by Thursday May 15 because the election is in his court. Because Willingham didn’t get 40% of the votes to declare him the winner, Holderness can choose to have a run-off or to let Willingham be the winner.

During the last week of the elections one of my resources said that it was the talk that Willingham was going to have a good chance of winning the race. Turns out my resource was right on!

I have to agree with Willingham that he will more than likely win if a run-off election was held in June.

I would have to support Willingham if there was an election to be held. So there you have it.

District 23 runoff still up in air – Daily Southerner

TARBORO — Shelly Willingham is on pins and needles anticipating whether or not he will reopen his campaign. That decision lies in the hands of Rusty Holderness.
With no Republican opposition, Willingham won the four-candidate N.C. District 23 House of Representative Democratic primary race Tuesday, but did not garner 40 percent of the vote as required for outright victory.

Willingham tallied 2,976 (36 percent) votes compared to 2,542 votes (30 percent) for Holderness. Taro Knight finished with 20 percent, while Bronson Williams had 13. (Source: Read more)

Breaking News – NC House 23 Candidates Will All Be On WNCR TV For A Debate Tuesday April 29, 2014

Bronson Williams, Taro Knight, Shelly Willingham and Rusty Holderness will be on WNCR-TV Tuesday April 29, 2014 9:00 PM for a debate. Darla Slipke County, Political reporter for The Rocky Mount Telegram will be the moderator.

I am trying to figure out where the questions will come from since there will not be an audience present to submit questions before the show begin.

Well I can’t wait to see this debate because I am very much concerned who will be elected.

Note: Bronson Williams announced this on WCPS Radio during an interview on this morning.