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Former Senate President Basnight Has Lou Gehrig's Disease

The former leader of the North Carolina Senate says he has Lou Gehrig's disease. Sixty-four-year-old Marc Basnight of Manteo ( Dare County ) served as a state senator for 25 years. The Democrat was Senate President Pro-Tempore for 18 years until Republicans took control of General Assembly in 2010. Basnight won re-election in 2010, but he resigned in January 2011 because of health problems. "I leave because of my health, not being able to speak on the Senate floor," Basnight told the Raleigh News & Observer when he announced his retirement. "If a politician can't debate, he is not much, not worth his salt." Basnight had been diagnosed a few years earlier with a degenerative nerve disease that gave him balance and speech problems.