The longest-serving Democrat in the NC House says this is her last term

Rep. Verla Insko, the longest serving Democrat in the NC House, announced Wednesday that she will not seek a 14th term.

Rep. Verla Insko, a leader in health and mental health issues, addressed her colleagues on the NC House floor Wednesday.

“It’s been an enormously gratifying career,” Insko said from the House floor.

She intends to serve out the remainder of her term, which ends in December 2022.

The Chapel Hill Democrat was a leader in health and mental health issues and was one of the architects of the mental health system that replaced local offices with regional managed care organizations.

On Twitter, she called former Speaker Joe Hackney a mentor.

In an interview, Insko said she decided this would be her final term because it is time for her to spend more time with family. “I have three grandchildren I don’t know as well as I want to,” she said. She also wants to travel more.

While she had significant influence shaping health laws when Democrats controlled the chamber,  Insko said constituent service was a focus of her tenure.

“What has really kept my attention are these 80,000 people I represent – their specific needs in being Americans and North Carolinians, their rights and my responsibility to make sure government really works for all of them and government is doing everything possible to make their lives better and healthier,” she said.

Insko’s announcement is early. Filing for the 2022 primaries doesn’t start until December.

Insko said she wanted to give potential candidates time to prepare to run and hold office.

At times, incumbents will wait as long as they can to announce they won’t seek reelection so their preferred successors have a head start.

Insko said she has spoken to people about their interest in the seat, and news was circulating about her decision to not run again.  But she wasn’t interested in giving anyone an inside track.

“I have not picked my replacement,” she said. “I think the voters can do that.”

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