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N.C. House Will Have Co-Speakers

February 6, 2003

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The North Carolina House will have co-speakers for the first time in state history after lawmakers on Wednesday chose a Democrat and a Republican to lead the chamber.

The vote followed a week in which the House, evenly divided at 60-60 between Republicans and Democrats, was unable to elect a speaker.

The House voted 89-31 for the power-sharing arrangement that includes Democrat Jim Black and Republican Richard Morgan, who will alternate days as presiding officer on the House floor.

Other legislators said the agreement would involve equal Republican and Democratic appointments to committees and shared committee chairs.

``This may be the best opportunity we ever have to be forced to work together,″ Black said.

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