N.C. House Minority Leader Joe Hackney announced his retirement this morning, opting not to wage a re-election campaign against long-time colleague Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange.

The two veteran legislators were drawn into the same district, the 56th, by the Republican-produced new maps last year.


Hackney will stay in office until his tenure ends in January.

Hackney has served 16 terms, 32 years, in the General Assembly representing the 54th district, which includes Orange, Chatham and Moore counties. He was elected Speaker of the House in 2007 following Jim Black’s removal. He severed as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In a statement, Hackney says he looks forward to spending more time at his law firm, Epting & Hackney in Chapel Hill, and on his farm.

Full statement here:

I have decided that I will not be a candidate for re-election to the North Carolina House of Representatives this year.

At the end of this term, I look forward to a more predictable schedule for my family, my law practice, my family farm, and for the recreational activities I’ve been missing.

I will serve out the remainder of my term with enthusiasm. As Minority Leader, I will work actively this year for a Democratic majority and a new Democratic Speaker for the NC House in 2013; I will continue to assist our candidates’ campaigns and will actively raise money for them, as I have in the past.

I am very grateful to the voters of Chatham, Orange, (and more recently a small part of Moore) who gave me the high privilege of representing them in matters of public policy for 32 years; to the members of the House who elected me Speaker Pro Tem, Majority Leader, Speaker, and Minority Leader; and to the legislators across America who elected me as President of the National Conference of State Legislatures. I enjoyed all of it immensely, and gave it my all. I think I made a contribution.

I have been fortunate to have the assistance of able and dedicated legislative staff throughout this time, and I do not have words sufficient to express how appreciative I am for their dedication to our State.

Betsy, Dan and Will have been unfailingly supportive, as have my law partners, and my brother Jack at the farm, and I thank them for their sacrifices.