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State Sen. Bill Cook to retire in 2018

 Four-term state lawmaker Sen. Bill Cook (R-District 1, which includes Ocracoke) announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election in 2018.

The announcement comes amidst the first drafts of potential new voter district maps by the N.C. General Assembly that would make significant changes to representation for northeastern North Carolina. 

Under the proposal, part of Beaufort would move out, and all of Hertford and Gates would be added to the current First District, 

State Sen. Bill Cook (R-Beaufort), right, talks with constituent Leamon Allen of Belhaven. Photo courtesy of Bill Cook.

creating the largest in the state for total number of counties. The result would be that Cook would not be eligible to run in this district.

Citing these redistricting changes, Cook, of Beaufort, said the changes prompted him to reevaluate his commitment to his family.

“And as much as I love the folks of Eastern North Carolina, I love my family more,” he said. “I have decided to not seek another term in the State Senate. I am blessed to have a wonderful family and I need to spend more of my life with them, especially my grandchildren.”

In his statement, Cook further said that North Carolina had some of the highest taxes in the Southeast, regulations were strangling the economy and teacher pay was among the lowest in the country.

“I am very proud that with the help of my fellow legislators we now have the lowest taxes in the Southeast, regulation is under control and teacher pay is greatly improved,” he said.

He also cited his work promoting the state’s oyster industry, keeping our inlets open and defending our fishermen.

He said he is proud of starting a new industry in North Carolina–deep water fish farming—to aid the economy.

Since 2015, Cook has served as co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Natural and Economic Resources as well as the Senate Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources Committee.