Hunter opposes redistricting plan

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2003

During his 14 years in the North Carolina House of Representatives, Howard Hunter Jr. has seen numerous variations in his home territory – the 5th District. He doesn’t like the latest proposal.

Hunter hopes that many of his constituents will attend Thursday’s public forum in Raleigh, one hosted by the House Redistricting Committee in regards to impending legislation that will change the face of politics statewide. The forum will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Legislative Auditorium, located on the third floor of the State Legislative Building, 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh.

Currently, Hunter represents all of Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties. The proposed new plan would remove Northampton from the 5th District while adding Gates and Perquimans counties.

&uot;I would prefer leaving the 5th District just as it is,&uot; stressed Hunter. &uot;From those I’ve spoken with throughout my District, they feel the same way.&uot;

Hunter has previously served Gates County as their 5th District official and said he doesn’t mind representing their interests once again. However, he stands steadfastly against removing Northampton.

&uot;Northampton, just as are Bertie, Hertford and Gates, is a part of the Roanoke-Chowan region,&uot; he noted. &uot;Together, we have identified the hurdles we need to clear as a region and together we have made great strides over the years.&uot;

Under the proposed plan, Northampton County may be moved into a new District, one that includes Warren County and a portion of Vance County. That plan completely bypasses Halifax County, Northampton’s neighbor to the southwest.

Since he has represented their interests before, the proposal calling for Gates County’s return to the 5th District came as no big surprise to Hunter. However, adding Perquimans to the mix caught the veteran legislator a bit off-guard.

&uot;The proposed plan jumped right over Chowan County, which is directly across the (Chowan) river from Gates, Hertford and Bertie counties and added Perquimans, which is only contiguous to Gates County,&uot; Hunter observed.

Perhaps one of the reasons why Chowan County wasn’t considered as a 5th District addition is that it’s currently the home of five-term, 2nd District incumbent William T. Culpepper III. Along with his home county, Culpepper’s District encompasses Dare, Perquimans, Tyrrell and a portion of Gates.

By placing Chowan County in the 5th District, it would have pitted two veteran legislators – Hunter and Culpepper, if both chose to file – against each other in the next general election.

Hunter said that the proposed new 2nd District includes Chowan, Washington, Tyrrell and Hyde counties.

While he promises to fight for the current lay of the land within the 5th District, Hunter said that no matter where his District begins and ends, he will serve the citizens to the best of his ability.

During Thursday’s public forum, speakers will be limited to five minutes. Each will need to sign the &uot;Speaker’s Sheet&uot; at the auditorium one hour prior to the start of the forum. Those proposing other plans are encouraged to provide maps and supporting data.

Those unable to attend, but would like to have their comments placed in the public record, can mail those comments to Redistricting, 300 N. Salisbury Street, 545 Legislative Office Building, Raleigh, NC, 27603 or send them via e-mail to

Questions concerning the public hearing can be directed to 919-733-2578.