Basnight says he will be absent due to a family illness. He's not saying how long he'll be gone, except to say it would be "for the immediate future." Basnight sent a letter to state senators last night. In it, he
told lawmakers that he intends to return as quickly as possible, but he asked that they work together in his absence to ensure that important Senate business continue to move forward. Chief of staff Amy Fulk says Basnight is communicating with his office several times a day. Basnight has served in the Senate since 1985 and has been Senate president pro tem for a record eight two-year terms. A fire last month destroyed a restaurant Basnight's family owns in Nags Head. No one was injured, but about 100 people were left jobless. Basnight says he hopes to reopen the Lone Cedar Cafe by September first.