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HALIFAX, N.C. (AP) — A former powerbroker in North Carolina’s General Assembly is ready to return to the legislature to fill a newly vacant seat.

The Daily Herald of Roanoke Rapids reported Sunday that a local Democratic Party committee picked Milton “Toby” Fitch Jr.to fill the state Senate seat for the rest of this year. The Rocky Mount-area seat opened after Sen. Angela Bryant resigned Monday and took a $117,000 job on the state parole commission.

Fitch represented Edgecombe and Wilson counties in the state House from 1984 to 2001. He was influential at a time that Democrats largely ran state government and after Republicans took control of the House in 1995.

Fitch retired last month from his position as a Superior Court judge, a role he held for more than 16 years.

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.rrdailyherald.com/