Newly appointed Lincoln County state Sen. Vickie Sawyer has been assigned to serve on the North Carolina General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services.
“We’ve been able to accomplish so much because senators answer the call when asked,” Republican Senate Leader Phil Berger said in a press release issued on Wednesday. “Since Republicans took control of the Senate in 2011, we’ve kept our promises to fix the state’s broken finances and make government function better, but there’s still work to do. I’m glad to have Senator Sawyer on this important committee.”
Sawyer, a Mooresville Republican, has hit the ground running since being appointed last month to finish the final few months remaining on the term of former state Sen. David Curtis, who resigned after he was defeated in May’s Republican Party primary election. Since the committee finalized its report to the legislature in April, Sawyer is using this down time to educate herself on the committee’s function and ongoing projects.
“The committee reviews things such as aging, medical education and residency and telemedicine, so a lot of the work is just understanding what the environment is for those things and bringing people together to make sure that the laws correspond to how things are actually working in the field,” Sawyer said. “I’ve been looking into it over the past few days and I’m impressed with the wide scope of work this committee does.”
The committee, which has jurisdiction over the 30 divisions and offices of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, has recently recommended legislation that would address certain health issues facing prisoners in the state’s confinement facilities. In addition, the committee has also been working to establish the framework for the practice of telemedicine, which utilizes telecommunication and information technology to provide health care from a distance.
While Sawyer will only represent Lincoln County in the state Senate for a matter of months, she isn’t taking her responsibilities lightly. The freshman senator is using her time wisely, gaining valuable experience while campaigning to represent Iredell County’s new state Senate district in November’s general election.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to come to Raleigh early,” Sawyer said. “The building is quiet right now so I can kind of stumble around and not feel like everyone is watching me and that is wonderful. I’ve been working to develop a great relationship with our legislative assistants and understand the backbone of how this legislature works. This is invaluable experience that I’ll be able to use while I’m campaigning because I have a better understanding of how things get done. This gives me a leg up so that I can be the most effective senator that I possibly can be.”
Sawyer is campaigning against Democrat Beniah McMiller to represent state Senate District 34, which will encompass Iredell and Yadkin counties. Lincoln County’s new state senator will be decided in a November race between former Shelby Mayor Ted Alexander, a Republican, and Democrat David Lee Lattimore, the former mayor of Kingstown.