Under the Dome

House Speaker tweaks committee roles after Rep. Justin Burr gets snubbed

Rep. Justin Burr
Rep. Justin Burr

Rep. Justin Burr, an Albemarle Republican, got a new leadership role Wednesday after House Speaker Tim Moore initially stripped him of his chair position on the powerful appropriations committee.

Moore’s original assignments had Burr – who’d run against Moore for speaker – serving as vice chairman of just one committee. He’d co-chaired the appropriations committee last session and was considered a rising star in the GOP caucus.

As the committee assignments were finalized Wednesday, Burr was named co-chairman of two committees: the health committee and a new appropriations committee tackling capital expenditures. The latter committee will review any major investments in state property as well as requests for bonds from Gov. Pat McCrory. The governor has said he wants to borrow $1 billion to fund transportation projects, most of them in rural areas.

In an email, Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary – the senior chairman of the main appropriations committee – called the new committee a “very important assignment” for Burr and his co-chairs, Reps. Jon Hardister and Dean Arp.

Reached after Wednesday’s session, Burr said he was “happy” to get the two committee roles but called the demotion “disappointing.”

“Certainly I would have preferred to stay full chair,” he said. “I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that.”

One other House member snubbed in committee assignments got no consolation prize: Rep. Julia Howard, a Mocksville Republican, was removed from her role as senior chairwoman of the finance committee. She did not receive any new assignment Wednesday, and says she suspects it’s because she didn’t support Moore’s bid for speaker.