SPRING LAKE — Longtime Democratic state House Rep. Marvin Lucas, who represents Cumberland County’s Dist. 42, said Wednesday he is retiring from politics when he completes his term next year.
And Lucas, who has held elective offices since 1977, has endorsed a candidate in the 2024 election to replace him in his district: Mike Colvin of Fayetteville, the brother of Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin.
When Lucas, who is 82, leaves office at the end of 2024, he will have spent 47 years in politics. These will include 24 years in the General Assembly plus 23 on the Spring Lake Board of Aldermen, where he was an alderman and later the mayor.
“I’ve dedicated a lot of service to public service,” Lucas said, citing not only his time in office, but his 34 years of work in Fayetteville and Hope Mills public schools, as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Lucas said he wants to spend more time with his family, travel, garden on his family’s farm and enjoy his time hunting.
Lucas missed more than two months at the legislature early this year while recovering from a fall that shattered his ankle, The Fayetteville Observer reported. Then in August, Lucas was hospitalized briefly after he passed out while driving in his neighborhood and crashed his truck into a neighbor’s home and tree, the Observer reported.
“All that’s over, and I’m really fine, probably better health now than I’ve been in, in a number of years,” Lucas said. “And so I’ve decided, ‘Well, I want to have some quality time at home.’”
Lucas was the first African American elected to Spring Lake’s Board of Aldermen when he won his first election in 1977. Twenty years later, Lucas was elected mayor.
In 2000, during his second term as mayor, Lucas won the seat in the state House of Representatives and has served since.
Lucas’ first bill to become law was one to require election offices to provide ballot instructions in Spanish as well as English if at least 6% of the residents of the county or municipality where the election was being conducted were Hispanic.
He is still proud of that now, he said.
Lucas also was pleased to bring a second early college to Fayetteville State University, he said. He and another lawmaker arranged for more social workers to be in the public schools to assist students, though now he is disappointed that progress on that front has slowed, he said.
The legislature was Democratically controlled when Lucas first went to Raleigh. Ten years later, the Republicans gained the majority, and it became harder for Democrats to pass legislation.
Lucas’ decision to leave office had long been rumored. Even prior to the start of the 2024 election filing period Monday, candidates were lining up for the Dist. 42 seat.
As of late Wednesday, the candidates who have filed are Democrats Mike Colvin, Fayetteville City Councilmember Courtney Banks-McLaughlin and former House Rep. Elmer Floyd of Fayetteville. Democrat Naveed Aziz of Spring Lake has announced her intention to run.
Republican Leonard L. Bryant of Fayetteville has also filed.
The winner will represent Spring Lake, the Cumberland County portion of Fort Liberty, and parts of Fayetteville.
Lucas said he had been contemplating for two years when he would step down and who he would endorse to replace him. He settled on Colvin.
“I’d been talking with Mike, and kind of watching how he maneuvered around the county,” Lucas said. “I like the young man, and he’s got a lot of energy. I think that he can do a good job.”
Senior reporter Paul Woolverton can be reached at 910-261-4710 and firstname.lastname@example.org.