State Rep. Hilton not running in 2012

State Rep. Mark Hilton will not seek a seventh term in the state legislature, he told his hometown newspaper The Hickory Daily Record Tuesday afternoon.

Hilton, a Catawba County Republican who lists his occupation as a police officer for a security company Delta Company Police, told the newspaper he wanted to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his work. He said he’ll finish out his term at the end of 2012.

He made the announcement through an emailed statement to the newspaper, saying “Representing the constituents of the 96th District for six terms in the House has been one of the highest honors of my life. But, the time has come for me to spend more time at home with my family, and allow someone else the opportunity to serve the citizens of Catawba County.”

Hilton also told the newspaper that his decision to step down had nothing to do with a 2007 loan he took out from one of two non-profits run by embattled GOP lawmaker Stephen LaRoque. N.C. Policy Watch has reported extensively in recent months on the questionable management of LaRoque’s non-profits, which included LaRoque receiving generous salaries of up to $195, 000 and approving a $150,000 loan of federal money that Hilton used to buy mobile homes. Click here to read our original investigation. State Sen. Debbie Clary also received a loan of USDA money from LaRoque’s non-profit.

LaRoque took a four-year hiatus from the legislature after being voted out and was not in the legislature at the time the 2007 loan was made. Hilton was, and said he’s since paid two-thirds of the loan off.

In the Daily Record article, Hilton called N.C. Policy Watch “socialist” and “anti-business.”

An ethics inquiry into LaRoque’s business is underway at the state legislature, where a bipartisan committee is deciding if LaRoque ran the non-profit in line with the ethical rules that govern state lawmakers.


  1. Frances Jenkins

    December 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Sarah, how can you look yourself in the mirror and allow Bev to escape with her corruption? You are not an honest reporter. Shame on you.

  2. James

    December 6, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Frances, please stop behaving like a whiny little first grader. This story has nothing to do with Bev or anyone else.

    Do you defend Hilton’s sleazy relationship with LaRoque and Tillis? All three would be judged crooks by any honest conservative.

    So what does that make you?

  3. Frances Jenkins

    December 7, 2011 at 7:05 am

    You missed the point. Bad behavior is never examined on the Democrats by Sarah or most progressive groups. They turn their heads and give a pass of approval. I believe the Perdue administration will be viewed as one of the most corrupt even with Easley’s record. What is so sad is the poor, elderly and students are used for the cover up. Now you act like big boy and report on the election corruption involved here.

  4. Sarah Ovaska

    December 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Frances, I’ll respond briefly to your ongoing criticism of my investigation. The issues surrounding Bev Perdue’s campaign have been covered widely in media outlets like the N&O, WRAL, the AP and others for well over a year. It’s now in the courts, and the public is well aware of the questions raised about the campaign. My goal as an investigative reporter here at N.C. Policy Watch is to look for stories of statewide interest that would otherwise not be covered, and that means dedicating my time combing through public records and doing investigations that reporters in the traditional capitol news desks simply don’t have the time to do because of their heavy workloads. I’m here to inform the public, and my reporting thus far on Stephen LaRoque’s non-profits is an extension of that. If you have tips of alleged wrongdoing by other legislators or other officials, Democrats or Republicans, please send them my way. My email address is sarah@ncpolicywatch.com, and I look forward to reviewing any information you may have to offer.

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