GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Former North Carolina state Sen. Jerry Tillman, who served in the General Assembly for over 17 years with an emphasis on promoting school choice and tax relief, died Saturday at age 82. Tillman, a Randolph County Republican, died at Camden Health and Rehabilitation in Greensboro from natural causes, Andrew Cumby with Cumby Family Funeral Service said Monday. Tillman was a retired public schoolteacher, administrator and coach who was first elected to the Senate in 2002 after several years as Randolph’s GOP chair. He rose to prominence in the second half of his legislative career as Republicans took control of the General Assembly. He served as a Senate majority whip, education budget writer and finance committee co-chair.