Rep. Charles Jeter spent his first two years in office sitting in the back of the House chamber. That’s typically the place people with no power are relegated, but the Republican from Huntersville says he likes it back there.
Jeter says the back row offers a good way to see what’s going on in the chamber and get in on the conversations when members leave their desks.
“It’s a great way to learn more and understand what’s going on on the floor,” he has said.
Besides, Jeter is not what you’d call a typical backbencher. He begins his second term with a significant role for House Republicans. He is their conference chairman, responsible for organizing political fundraising, helping recruit candidates for House races in 2016, and helping decide how much money should go to various House races in the next election.
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The House GOP caucus’ selection of Jeter means it will have a fundraising chief close to the state’s commercial center – a position Jeter’s predecessor, Ruth Samuelson, and former House Speaker Thom Tillis, both of Mecklenburg, previously held.
Samuelson decided not to seek re-election to the legislature, and Tillis is a new U.S. senator.
“I know it was important to the business community and Charlotte-Mecklenburg to have leadership” from the area, said Jeter, 41.
Jeter is committed to electing more Republicans, but said the first bill he’ll introduce is a different way to draw districts. He’s been communicating with Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Democrat from Charlotte, about it.
Most of the 120 House seats are drawn to give either a Democratic or Republican candidate an advantage, resulting in few truly competitive seats.
Every court that has examined the districts deemed them fair and legal, Jeter said, “but I do believe the general public has some skepticism of it.”
Jeter said Republican candidates can win swing districts on the strength of their ideas.
“I’d like to be able to play in every district,” he said.
Staff writer Lynn Bonner