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Remembering Sen. Martin Nesbitt

Jeremy Sprinkle
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A ‘True Neighbor’ of working families

Former Minority Leader and State Senator Martin Nesbitt of Asheville has died at age 67.

Senator Martin Nesbitt was a strong voice for education and for workers in our state, and news of his untimely passing is a tragedy for working people who need courageous and spirited defenders of justice in our state legislature these days more than ever. The prayers of our AFL-CIO family go out to his family.

As an elected official, Sen. Nesbitt embodied the true meaning of the term “public servant”. Whenever he sought legislative solutions to the tough issues facing North Carolina and her people, Sen. Nesbitt always seemed to start by asking, “What action is right, fair, and in the public interest?”

Listen to a portion of Sen. Nesbitt's July 2013 radio interview with NC Policy Watch.

Sen. Nesbitt’s voice was a strong, loud, and effective addition to efforts to make workplaces safer and provide for injured workers and to provide assistance and retraining for the unemployed. Sen. Nesbitt also stood strong for public education and voting rights, and he fought efforts to undermine workers’ wages.

Our state is a better place to live, work, and raise a family because of Sen. Nesbitt’s years of work as a lawmaker. That is why in 2005 we honored Sen. Nesbitt at our state legislative conference with the North Carolina State AFL-CIO’s “Friend of Workers Award.”

“When I reflect upon the life of Sen. Nesbitt,” said state AFL-CIO president, James Andrews, “I am reminded of a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King inLetter from Birmingham jail.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”


Sen. Martin Nesbitt (left), 2005 Friend of Workers Award honoree, pictured with William Wainwright.