In his 25-year legislative career, Joe Hackney never appeared destined for the position as House Speaker.
He had established himself as the leader of the liberal wing of House Democrats. And his Orange County address made it unlikely he would be tapped to preside over a body largely filled with business-oriented or conservative legislators.
But with the troubles of outgoing Speaker Jim Black, Democrats have turned to Hackney. They selected him Wednesday as their nominee to replace Black. That means the 61-year-old Hackney will be elected speaker when the House reconvenes in two weeks.
Hackney is also bringing more moderate views to the chamber. He says he will legislate from the center and has taken more moderate views in recent years.
The General Assembly session begins January 24th.