Former North Carolina Senator Stan Bingham, who represented Davidson and Guilford counties, died unexpectedly on Thursday morning, according to representatives from Davidson County.
The cause of his death has not been released.
The news of his sudden passing was a shock to many people in the community who have known and worked with Bingham over the years.
North Carolina Senator Steve Jarvis, who represents District 29 which includes Davidson and Montgomery counties, said the news of Bingham’s passing came as a surprise as he had seen him only the night before.
“It is huge shock,” said Jarvis. “I attended an event where he was last night and he seemed to be in good health. It is a huge loss because he loved Davidson County and he loved North Carolina. As a legislator, he was well respected by all of his colleagues on both sides of the isle. He was a true servant to this community, and he will be missed.”
He and his wife Lora, lived in Denton and they had four daughters, Andrea, Heather, Claudia and Natasha.
He started Bingham Lumber in Denton in 1979 and sold it in 2012. Bingham also founded The Denton Orator, a weekly newspaper, in 1995 where he served as publisher.
“He was a friend to everyone, and would talk to anyone about just about everything,” said Ward. “He was also a good mentor to me and helped me out on a lot of things. It is a huge loss for Southern Davidson County.”
Bingham’s first foray into politics was serving one term on the Davidson County Board of Commissioners from 1990 to 1994.
In 2000, he was elected to the North Carolina Senate District 33, which at the time included Davidson and Guilford counties. He completed eight terms in 2016 and retired from the Senate in 2017.
During his tenure, he introduced and passed 171 bills, including Senate Bill 20, otherwise known as the Good Samaritan Law. The law mandated that people who call 911 to report an overdose are immune from criminal charges for possessing less than one gram of drugs or paraphernalia.
Another bill he was instrumental in passing was the “No Convicted Felons for Sheriff” bill, which was passed as a state constitutional amendment in 2010. According to previous comments from Bingham, the bill was in response to Davidson County’s former sheriff, Gerald Hege, who attempted to run for office five years after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice charges.
Bingham also helped the towns of Wallburg and Midway to become incorporated towns in Davidson County.
Ward said although Bingham had an unassuming style, he was a dedicated legislator who fought for the things he believed in and for the betterment of the citizens.
“He was always good about doing the right thing,” said Ward. “Once he got locked into something, he didn’t jump around. If there was an issue he wanted addressed, he would fight for it. I believe his legacy is that he was one of the best senators, not just from Davidson County, but in the state.”