Kinston businessman sworn in to replace Sen. Louis Pate

WAYNE COUNTY, NC (WITN) The successor to a long-time Eastern Carolina legislator is beginning his term after a swearing in ceremony Thursday.

Wayne and Lenoir County GOP leaders chose Jim Perry to serve the rest of Louis Pate's term in the North Carolina Senate after Pate resigned due to health issues earlier this year.

"It's very humbling to follow Senator Pate," said Perry after the ceremony in Goldsboro.

Pate served 5 terms in the Senate representing the 7th district which is made up of Wayne and Lenoir counties.

Seven Republicans sought to fill Pate's seat, but in the end county GOP leaders selected Perry.

Jim Perry is a retired Kinston businessman. Kinston Mayor Don Hardy is hopeful that will help to prioritize issues important to his city like creating new jobs.

"I'm excited about it, what's ahead. I see a lot of things moving forward, forward progress," said Hardy.

Perry says he plans to focus on issues that are important not only to his district but to all of Eastern Carolina, like agriculture.

"I think in the past we've been a little more closed off to that concept and idea but if we don't do something differently we can expect the same results," said Perry.

Perry will serve in the State Senate through the end of the term in 2020.