- Special Sections
- Public Notices
State Sen. R.C. Soles Jr. announced last week he would not seek re-election.
We think it is the right decision.
Soles, the state’s longest serving senator, was first elected in 1968. He served as a state representative until 1976. In 1977, he began his stint as a state senator.
During his 42 years of service, Soles has done a number of good things for North Carolina and the people of Brunswick, Columbus and Pender counties.
In reflecting on his career recently, Soles pointed out highlights, including his role in enacting civil rights legislation during the 1960s and 1970s, helping to establish the Lake Waccamaw State Park, Southeastern Community College and securing funds to rebuild the dam at Lake Tabor that washed away when Hurricane Fran moved through the area in 1996.
Soles was also instrumental in bringing a 1,500-bed prison to Tabor City last year, which has helped create as many as 400 jobs in the area.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School, Soles has also been practicing law for the past 50 years.
Soles’ accomplishments professionally and as an elected official are many. We certainly appreciate the many good things he has done for North Carolina, particularly those of us here in Brunswick County. However, some of the more recent allegations against Soles may overshadow much of his political career.
In the past year, Soles was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct by a man claiming to be the victim. The accuser later recanted, but an investigation into the allegation continues.
Soles has also been under investigation following an Aug. 23 shooting at his home. That day, Soles allegedly shot and wounded Thomas Kyle Blackburn on Soles’ property. Soles maintains the shooting was in self-defense.
In late November, a grand jury found probable cause Soles had assaulted Blackburn and requested a presentment, the step before presentation of a true bill of indictment.
In light of this controversy and the court proceedings and investigations associated with them, we think it would be difficult for Soles to remain focused on serving the people of North Carolina for another term. Not seeking re-election is the right thing to do.
We anticipate the race for this seat will heat up quickly, and as for Soles’ future, we wait to see what will happen next.