Fayetteville losing powerful advocate

Tony Rand

December 31, 2009 1:31:44 PM PST
During the past 27 years, NC State Senator Tony Rand has been extremely modest about his legislative contributions - many of which have had a major impact on North Carolina's economy.

"When I went to the Legislature, North Carolina was dominated by tobacco, furniture, and textiles. That's all gone. We have re-engineered the economy of our state in that fairly brief period of time," he said in an interview Wednesday.

Rand says one thing he knew for sure - whatever the question - the answer was always education. That's why he sponsored a bill that provided bond money to improve the state's community college system. The student center at Fayetteville Technical Community College bears his name.

"The largest higher education bond Issue in the history of this country, and it passed in every county in this state. That to me is a wonderful statement about the people of North Carolina," said Rand.

Rand is also responsible for getting Cumberland County back in the US Highway Trust Fund. The move helped secure money for the I-295 project - a road Fort Bragg commanders say is critical to the post and national security.

"295 is hugely important, and we had been left behind so long. And when they didn't put Cumberland County into the Highway Trust Fund when they passed that, that was one of the things that I really wanted to do when I went back - was getting them in there," said Rand.

Rand says he'll miss his friends in the Senate the most, but he knew this past summer it was time to step down.

"It's always good to leave on your own terms. It's always good to leave when you still got game. And it's always good to leave with a good taste in your mouth," he said.

Governor Perdue has tapped Rand to chair the state's parole commission. Since that announcement, he's been accused of insider trading by a former business associate. Rand calls those charges ridiculous.

He's looking forward to his work on the parole board and already has some ideas. He told ABC11 he's concerned about the skyrocketing cost of health insurance for inmates and he's focused on saving the state some money in that area.

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