By Peter Vankevich
North Carolina General Assembly Representative Paul Tine announced today (Jan. 7) that he is he changing his political status from Democrat to unaffiliated, or Independent. Tine represents District 6 which includes Beaufort, Dare, Hyde and Washington Counties. He lives in Kitty Hawk and is owner of the Midgett Insurance Agency.
First elected in 2012 by defeating Republican candidate Mattie Lawson in a very close race, he won a rematch with her in November garnering almost 54 percent of the approximately 31,000 votes cast.
One of the reasons for this change, his press release stated, is that he has been offered to caucus with the Republican majority party in Raleigh.
“Our region’s economy continues to lag behind the rest of the state and I cannot allow party affiliation to stand in the way of getting work done,” he said in the release.
Another reason he cited for this change was his political philosophy, stating: “I am a fiscal conservative who believes in a common sense approach to making our district and state a better place. These ideas have become increasingly less welcome in the Democratic Party over the past several years.
“The majority party in Raleigh has said they will make room for a more moderate approach and I look forward to continuing to be this voice in Raleigh. I have always been and continue to be a centrist that puts my district and my state first.”
In the Generally Assembly, among other assignments, Tine has served on the transportation, education and insurance committees and worked on several issues that could affect Ocracoke.
He actively opposed fees for the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry, supported small school funding and was against the game-fish bill that would have stopped the commercial fishing for red drum, spotted sea trout and striped bass.
In the November election, he got 85 percent of the Ocracoke vote (269 -39).