Dan Blue became North Carolina's newest state senator Tuesday.
Blue, a former House Speaker, was sworn in to fill the seat of Sen. Vernon Malone, who died last month. He received a hearty welcome from his new colleagues after a swearing-in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker and attended by family members.
Several House members slipped into the back of the Senate chamber to watch.
Blue served two terms as speaker in the early '90s. He left the House to run for the U.S. Senate in 2002. He returned to the House in 2006 when he was appointed by Wake County Democratic Party officials to fill the seat of Rep. Bernard Allen, who died in office.
On Tuesday he answered the etiquette question of what to call him. "Senator" is his current title, but as a former speaker, he's still entitled to be called "Mr. Speaker."
"I'd prefer that," he said.
Although he just stepped into a new job, Blue would not rule out getting another one. When he was asked if he might run for the U.S. Senate next year, he responded: "I'm interested in serving the people of North Carolina and have been for three decades."