Under the Dome

Lawyer wants to replace McManus in House

A former member of the Chatham County school board is seeking to replace former state Rep. Deb McManus, who resigned from the General Assembly last week after she was arrested on felony state tax charges.

Kathie Russell, who is a civil law attorney in Raleigh, sent out a news release Tuesday emphasizing her commitment to progressive politics and aligning herself with the late Terry Sanford, who served as governor, U.S. senator and president of Duke University.

Russell is the founder and managing partner of Russell, Goetcheus & Associates. She specializes in real estate, business, entertainment and contract law.

After becoming licensed as a lawyer in 1994, Russell says she worked closely with Sanford at the McNair Law Firm. She says she drove him monthly to Richmond, Va. to meet with a writing professor for a book he was writing. Sanford split from the law firm the following year, and died in 1998.

“He always thought that I would get into politics and serve,” Russell says in the release. “I regret that he passed away before I was first elected in 2006. He loved me and I loved him and he always said that I would be in office someday.”

Russell served on the Chatham school board from 2006 to 2010.

Democratic Party leaders in House District 54 will choose a nominee to replace McManus, and the governor if obligated to appoint that person.

McManus of Siler City was charged with three counts of embezzlement related to more than $47,000 in state individual income tax withheld over about two and one-half years at her husband’s medical office, where she kept the books, which should have been paid to the state but was not. Her attorney says McManus had been working with state revenue agents to resolve the issue, and she did not expect to be charged and arrested.

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