LAURINBURG — Aaron Plyler, one of the most powerful state senators, will be remembered for numerous his contributions to North Carolina, said friend and former state Sen. Bill Purcell of Laurinburg.
Plyler, who represented Scotland, Anson, Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond, Stanly and Union counties in the state Senate for 20 years, died last month. He was 89.
“His accomplishments for the state of North Carolina as longtime chairman of the Senate Budget Committee are too numerous to mention,” Purcell said. “Under his leadership many positive changes happened in the fields of education, healthcare, transportation and other areas that many believe would not have occurred without Aaron Plyler’s leadership.”
The youngest of eight, Plyler grew up on the family farm in Monroe. After working in the family business, he became president of Plyler Grading and Paving. He was elected to the state House in 1974 and Senate in 1982. He rose to become chairman of a budget committee. Although adversaries, Republican Gov. Jim Martin called Plyler “a straight shooter.”
Senate Bill 833 was one of the many bills that Plyler introduced and shepherded through the state legislature.
“It is a one sentence bill that he mentioned to me on several occasions and I believe that he considered it just as important as other more extensive bills that were developed under his leadership,” Purcell said. “As you ride around and see a flashing amber light on a car being driven by a postal worker the light is there because of Senate Bill 833.
“When you see that flashing light I hope that you will do as I do and remember Aaron Plyler and his concern for the well being and safety of others which was so characteristic of his personal and political life.”
During his time in the General Assembly, Plyler also proved to be a strong advocate for education and would be honored by several colleges, including honorary doctorates from Wingate and Pfeiffer universities.
“His demand for state funding for independent colleges and universities and the teaching fellows scholarship program had a positive direct impact on communities throughout the state as did his continued support for public schools and North Carolina’s community colleges,” Purcell said.
Purcell added that Plyler’s support for the North Carolina Highway Patrol helped to make it one of the best in the nation.
“A priority in his life was doing things that helped people and his concern for others was obvious throughout his personal and political life,” Purcell said.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023