Loss of Ross

May 3, 2013 

Time and the iron-fisted, partisan rule of Republicans did not mellow or silence Wake County Rep. Deborah Ross, a Democrat stepping down in the midst of her sixth term. Ross, a progressive who once managed the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, has fought for the right causes.

She will be sorely missed in a General Assembly in need of outspoken dissenting voices who’ll fight against misguided ideas like Voter ID, the marriage amendment, cuts in education and the sorry easing of environmental regulation.

But Ross is on to other progressive things as she’ll be general counsel for Triangle Transit. It’s an appropriately cutting-edge mission for a born crusader.

She has been, simply, an outstanding legislator and a public servant in every sense of the term. Ross was forceful on public interest issues, the environment, civil rights, open government, public education and yes, transit alternatives. Public health and mental health reform were also important to her. She has stood for the concerns of average people and the disadvantaged.

For Ross, the General Assembly has been a full-time-plus job. She is tireless in her determination to hear all sides on a given issues, which is why she’s seen at community meetings all over her district, mostly just listening. That kind of diligence is reflected in her ability to conduct informed debate with some of her more contentious colleagues.

Grier Martin, a former Democratic representative with views similar to those of Ross, is likely to take her place over the long term. Republicans in charge of redistricting managed to put Ross and Martin in the same district, and Martin bowed out. Now, and it’s good news for Wake County, it appears he’ll be back in.

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