State senator announces plans to retire in 2018

Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2017

North Carolina Sen. Bill Cook announced plans to retire at the end of his term in 2018.

Since 2012, Cook, a Republican, has represented District 1, which includes Beaufort, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. Cook announced his decision Tuesday afternoon to not seek re-election.

“I’ve tried to be a good servant to the people of eastern North Carolina,” Cook said in a statement. “As much as I love the folks of eastern North Carolina, I love my family more. … I am blessed to have a wonderful family, and I need to spend more of my life with them — especially my grandchildren.”

Cook was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives in 2010 before becoming a state senator. In 2012, he became the first Republican senator to represent northeastern North Carolina, according to a press release.

During his time in the Senate, Cook has served as co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Natural and Economic Resources and the Senate Agriculture, Natural and Economic Resources Committee.

“Over the past six years, Bill Cook has traveled thousands of miles across all eight counties of Senate District 1, earning his reputation as one of the most engaged and responsive legislators in the General Assembly,” stated Senate Leader Phil Berger. “We’ll miss Bill’s warm, accessible and affable presence in the Senate and wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Cook said another factor in his decision was the redistricting changes happening in the General Assembly.

As legislators work toward a Friday deadline to redraw legislative districts, the latest plans move Beaufort County into District 3, now represented by Democratic Sen. Erica Ingram-Smith. If those changes are approved this week, Cook previously said it would mean, “Beaufort County would have no (Republican) representation.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld previous rulings that directed legislators to redraw 2011 district maps, which the court believes relied too heavily on race.

Cook said he is proud of his work in the legislature, especially his role in creating the deep-water fish farming industry. He was not immediately available for further comment Tuesday.