Newspapers in North Carolina have assembled a panel of 60 prominent people to talk about coming elections in a series called The Influencers: One of the 60: Webb Hubbell.

Newspapers in Charlotte and Durham say they hope to “elevate policy discussions” with views from the panel of 60.

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In identifying the 60, the newspapers asked those chosen to name the biggest challenge facing North Carolina leaders. Hubbell’s response:

The single greatest challenge is for our elected leaders to overcome their differences, tone down their rhetoric, and put aside partisanship in order to secure a better future for all North Carolinians.

For them to succeed, we too must put aside our differences, whether they are geographic, economic, social or political. We must demand that our leaders seek the common welfare in areas such as health, education, the environment, criminal justice and economic opportunity.

Pie in the sky, perhaps, but North Carolina is equal to the challenge.

Hubbell, 70, an Arkansas native and former Little Rock mayor and Arkansas Supreme Court justice, had to quit a top job in the Clinton Justice Department shortly after going to Washington in 1993 when he was indicted for overbilling clients at the Rose Law Firm. Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr indicted him two more times, convinced Hubbell could provide information damaging to Clinton. Hubbell got one set of charges dismissed and finally got a probationary sentence on a minor charge in the third. He’s worked since for a criminal justice think tank and an insurance company and then moved to Charlotte, where he writes novels.

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