When Democrat Jeff Jackson was declared the winner of a special party election to the N.C. Senate last month, he thanked his supporters, hugged his wife Marisa and whispered in her ear.
"Honey, I just lost my job," he told her.
Winning election cost Jackson his job as an assistant district attorney in Gaston County, a position he'd had for three years.
Jackson, 31, was elected by Mecklenburg County Democrats to fill the term of Dan Clodfelter, who left the Senate after his own selection as mayor of Charlotte following Patrick Cannon's arrest and resignation.
Jackson said the Administrative Office of the Courts had originally told him the Senate wouldn't interfere with his day job. But four days before the party vote, an official told him it would.
At issue is Article 6 Section 9 of the state constitution. It says, "No person who holds any office or place of trust or profit under the United
States or ... under any other state or government, shall
be eligible to hold any office in this State that is filled by election by the
"I knew that it was a risk," Jackson says. "But ... I had decided that even if it as going to cost me my job, it was still worth
As a senator, Jackson makes $13,951 a year. A captain in the Army National Guard, he also gets Guard pay.
Now he's looking for someone willing to hire somebody who has a demanding, if part-time job in the General Assembly as well as annual two-week Guard duty.
Still, he saw his income drop almost 75 percent. That's one reason he told his wife with the applause still in the air after he was elected.
"I figured that was the safest time to tell her," he says.