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State lawmakers meet with local leaders

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- State leaders came down to the local level this morning. In a meeting at Wilmington City Hall, state lawmakers met with area leaders.

The meeting comes as Republicans get ready to take greater control of state government.

Though they're from both sides of the aisle, everyone agrees when it comes to a need for better communication. That was the purpose of this meeting.

Elected leaders from all corners -- the school board to Wilmington's mayor showed up.

Rep. Rick Catlin (R-20th District) is one of 31 freshman Republicans heading to Raleigh to make up the House of Representatives.

"It's extremely exciting and very, very challenging," Catlin said. "As Ted Davis said, it's a lot different from being on county commission. Here we had to get two votes. We're dealing with 120 people in the General Assembly in the House."

Committee assignments are still in the works, but tentatively, Catlin will serve on the Transportation and Environmental committees among others.

Davis (R-19th District) will sit on the Finance and Insurance committees to name a couple.

But Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) says she still hasn't been told where she'll serve.

"It's a shame," Rep. Hamilton said. "The full body needs to have some sort of sense of where they'll be serving for the year to accurately and appropriately and adequately represent their constituents, so I think communication is going to be key."

Communication is a key word as the year begins. Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) says he hopes to have more meetings like this. He say it's an opportunity for local leaders to ask questions and present their own ideas.

Late this afternoon, House leaders released all the committee assignments. Hamilton's assignments include the environment, finance and transportation committees.

After taking control of the state House and Senate in 2010 and expanding their majorities in November's election, Republicans take control of the governor's office Saturday, when Pat McCrory is sworn in.

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