State senator announces retirement amid health issues

RALEIGH, NC (WITN) - An Eastern Carolina lawmaker who has been suffering health issues has announced his retirement.

State Senator Louis Pate, a Republican, sent Governor Roy Cooper a letter today.

In October, the 82-year-old Pate told voters he was recovering from a health complication and this would be his final term in the Senate.

In a news release, Senate Leader Phil Berger's office said Pate has "improved substantially in recent weeks and continues to improve".

But Berger's office says after careful consideration with his family, Pate decided to retire early, effective today.

Pate won his fifth Senate term in November, getting just under 54% of the vote against Democrat David Brantley.

The 7th District is made up of Lenoir and Wayne counties.

Pate, the former mayor of Mount Olive, also served four terms in the state House of Representatives.

Now Lenoir and Wayne county Republican leaders will meet to choose someone to serve out his two-year term through 2020.