Ty Harrell

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Ty Harrell
Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
from the 41st district
In office
January 2007 – September 20, 2009
Preceded by J. Russell Capps
Succeeded by Chris Heagarty
Personal details
Born (1970-02-06) February 6, 1970 (age 44)
Newark, NJ
Political party Democratic
Residence Raleigh, NC
Alma mater Appalachian State University
The George Washington University
Profession fundraiser,[1] consultant[2]
Religion Episcopalian

Warren Tyrone (Ty) Harrell (born February 6, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey) is a former Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state's 41st House district in western Wake County. He defeated Chris Mintz in the 2006 Democratic primary, and incumbent J. Russell Capps in the 2006 general election.

On September 20, 2009, just nine months into his second term in office, Harrell resigned from the North Carolina House of Representatives after separate investigations into his campaign expenditures were launched by the House Ethics Committee and the State Board of Elections;[3] however, to-date, no criminal wrongdoing has been found.

Personal life[edit]

Harrell is currently separated from his wife, Canadian national Melanie DuPon. They have two sons. In July 2009, his wife filed preliminary divorce proceedings, alleging that Harrell was involved in at least one extramarital affair, left their young children at home alone, drank heavily, and refused and failed to pay taxes.[3][4]

Harrell was raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and graduated from Sanderson High School. Harrell received his B.A in English from Appalachian State University and his M.A in Political Management from The George Washington University. He is also a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Controversies & investigations[edit]

In early September 2009, the North Carolina State Board of Elections began an official audit of Harrell's campaign finance records, citing irregularities, unusual activity and incomplete entries.[5] Among the items that reportedly caught the attention of auditors were hundreds of dollars in campaign expenditures at clothing and luggage stores marked as "committee meetings" on the paperwork Harrell filed.[6]

Shortly after the Board of Elections' announcement, the NC House Speaker's Office announced that the Speaker had ordered an ethics investigation of Harrell over his financial records.[7]

In his first run for State House in 2006, Harrell was criticized for delinquent tax payments for vehicles and property he owned. Harrell had 17 delinquent tax payments over an 11-year period totaling more than $3,100. One such tax bill was nearly eight years overdue.[8]

On September 20, 2009, Harrell submitted a letter of resignation to House Speaker Joe Hackney, effective immediately, amid the ongoing controversy over campaign expenditures totaling more than $13,000, revelations he was living outside of his district, and his divorce from his wife.[3][9]

Legislative activities[edit]

In his first term as Representative of the 41st district, Harrell supported measures for higher teacher and state employee salaries, accessible and quality healthcare, protection of local small businesses and collaborative university efforts in the search for renewable energy sources.[citation needed]

Harrell began his second term as Chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology and vice-chair of the House Committee on State Government and State Personnel, as well as vice-chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation.

Early in his second term, Harrell received criticism for his support of H. 1252 ("Level Playing Field") in his committee. The bill was heavily supported by various conservative organizations as well as Time Warner Cable, which had a location within then-Representative Harrell's district.[citation needed]

The left-leaning North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research listed Harrell 52nd in their 2008 effectiveness rankings, the highest ranking given to any freshman lawmaker.[10] Those rankings have since been criticized for favoring the majority party, as they include votes from the media, lobbyists, and the lawmakers themselves.[11]

In the group's subsequent 2010 rankings, the Raleigh News & Observer reported that "the dubious honor for the biggest drop in effectiveness belongs to former Rep. Ty Harrell, who dropped from 52nd to 110th."[12]

Political activities[edit]

In June 2007, Harrell became the first elected official in North Carolina to endorse Barack Obama,[13] and after the president's election, Harrell was briefly rumored to have been considered a potential choice as Obama's ambassador to Canada.[14][15]

External links[edit]