North Carolina lawmaker resigns

RALEIGH Rep. Cary Allred, R-Alamance, wrote to House Speaker Joe Hackney announcing he would step down effective 2 p.m. Monday. Allred told a newspaper Thursday he would step down by Sept. 1, when this year's legislative session probably would be over.

It wasn't immediately known why the Republican decided to speed his departure. The letter didn't mention a formal review of his actions on the House floor in April. He has said he did nothing wrong but was tired of being scrutinized.

"It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Alamance County and the 64th District in the House of Representatives," Allred wrote. "As Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, 'Old soldiers never die they just fade away.' With that, I bid thee farewell."

Allred, now in his 10th legislative term, didn't immediately return phone calls Friday from The Associated Press at his home and his legislative office. Alamance County Republicans would choose a replacement to serve out the remainder of his two-year term. Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue is required to appoint their choice.

The Legislative Ethics Committee last week received a report from the House sergeant-at-arms in which several House members -- mostly fellow Republicans -- said it was inappropriate for him to give a page a lengthy hug and kiss her April 27.

Allred said the 17-year-old page was a longtime friend of his family and that he kissed her on the cheek. The page and her parents said in the report they didn't want to file a complaint and were OK with what happened.

Hackney, D-Orange, asked for the report and sent it to the Legislative Ethics Committee. The panel's preliminary work is mostly confidential so it's unclear if the panel has acted on the report.

Other GOP members said Allred appeared to have been drinking earlier that day or smelled of alcohol on the floor. Allred acknowledged he had one drink before driving to Raleigh and was stopped for speeding before that evening's House floor meeting. He was later cited for traveling 102 mph in a 65-mph zone. He has a court date in June.

Allred, who first served in the Legislature in 1981, is one of the more outspoken lawmakers at the General Assembly, often willing to butt heads with Democrats and Republicans alike during floor debate.

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