No re-election bid for openly gay Boseman

Wilmington Democrat will step down from her Senate post at end of term in 2010 Updated

Originally published: Nov. 19, 2009, 6:58 p.m.
Updated: Nov. 20, 2009, 8:35 a.m.

Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) will not seek re-election in 2010.

Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) will not seek re-election in 2010.

WILMINGTON, N.C. — State Sen. Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover), the only openly gay or lesbian member of the General Assembly, announced Thursday she will not seek re-election when her term ends in 2010.

In a statement, Boseman cited family responsibilities for her decision to leave the General Assembly. Boseman’s domestic partner is expecting a child in January.

“Being a parent has been my guiding force as a Senator and it is as a parent that I have made this decision,” Boseman said in a statement. “With a baby on the way in January, I feel that it is more important than ever to be close to home.”

- - - advertisement - - -

Elected in 2004, Boseman was the first openly gay or lesbian North Carolinian elected to the state legislature. Prior to her service in the Senate, Boseman served on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.

Boseman said she was proud of her legislative successes representing the Wilmington area and protecting children across the state.

“When thinking back on my time in the legislature, there have been many successes—especially supporting our classrooms, creating jobs in our film industry and our port, and helping UNC-Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College grow,” she said. “But if asked for my greatest accomplishment, I would say it was doing what I could to help the vulnerable: protecting victims of domestic violence, protecting our children from sexual predators, and protecting kids—all kids—from bullying.”

This year, Boseman was the chief sponsor of the School Violence Prevention Act, passed in June and signed by Gov. Bev Perdue in July. The legislation requires all public school districts to adopt stringent, LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying by January and is the first time sexual orientation and gender-identity appears in state law.

At a gala in Greensboro on Nov. 14, Boseman was honored with Equality North Carolina’s Legislative Leadership Award for her work on the anti-bullying bill.

Boseman has faced scrutiny and criticism over the past year, as she fought for legal custody of her adopted son with her former partner, Melissa Jarrell. In August, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled in Boseman’s favor, upholding the original adoption order. Jarrell had sought to nullify the adoption. The state Supreme Court has yet to indicate whether it will hear an appeal the August decision by Jarrell.

Despite her departure from the Senate, Boseman pledged to continue her service to the community.

- - - advertisement - - -

“Wilmington will always be my home and while I will be leaving the Senate, I will continue to work for the people of New Hanover County in other ways,” she said.

She told the Wilmington Star-News her decision Thursday was not the end of her political career.

“I don’t intend for it to be the end of my political career,” she told the daily paper, “but for now it’s an end to my career in the General Assembly.”

Boseman’s New Hanover seat is considered a swing district. In 2004, she unseated incumbent Republican Woody White. Of registered voters, 38 percent are Democrats, 34 percent are Republicans and 27 percent are unaffiliated.

Boseman’s full statement

Today, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the North Carolina Senate.

For nearly a decade, I have had the honor and privilege to represent the people of New Hanover County–first as a County Commissioner and for the last five years as a Senator. When thinking back on my time in the legislature, there have been many successes—especially supporting our classrooms, creating jobs in our film industry and our port, and helping UNC -Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College grow. But if asked for my greatest accomplishment, I would say it was doing what I could to help the vulnerable: protecting victims of domestic violence, protecting our children from sexual predators, and protecting kids—all kids—from bullying.

Being a parent has been my guiding force as a Senator and it is as a parent that I have made this decision. With a baby on the way in January, I feel that it is more important than ever to be close to home. Wilmington will always be my home and while I will be leaving the Senate, I will continue to work for the people of New Hanover County in other ways. I thank you all for the trust you have given me and I will keep working throughout 2010 to make sure that we are well-represented in the North Carolina Senate.

- - - advertisement - - -

Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer is a staff writer for QNotes. He previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015.