The President Pro Tempore
(more commonly, "Pro-Tem") of the North Carolina Senate
is the highest-ranking (internally elected) officer of one house of the North Carolina General Assembly
. The President of the Senate is the Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina
, but the President Pro-Tem actually holds most of the power and presides in the absence of the Lt. Governor. He or she, a senior member of the party with a majority of seats, appoints senators to committees and also appoints certain members of state boards and commissions. Until 1868, North Carolina
had no Lieutenant Governor, and the highest ranking officer of the Senate was known as the Speaker. The Speaker of the Senate was next in line if the office of Governor
became vacant. This occurred on two occasions.
Presidents Pro-Tem are elected at the beginning of each biennial session, in January of odd-numbered years. Between 1868 and 1992, it was rare for a President Pro-Tem to serve more than two terms. Marc Basnight
, however, became arguably the most powerful North Carolina Senate leader in history and one of the state's most influential politicians when he served a record nearly 18 years as President Pro-Tem.
North Carolina Senate presiding officers