Gov. Cooper is building diverse Cabinet

Gov. Cooper is building diverse Cabinet
January 12
07:45 2017



Since he took the oath of office on Jan. 1, Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has wasted little time to make good on his promise to appoint a diverse Cabinet, and administration.

Last week, North Carolina’s

Announced his appointment of  State Bureau of Investigation veteran Erik Hooks as the new head of the N.C. Dept. of Public Safety, and environmentalist Michael Regan as secretary-nominee of the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality.

Both are African-Americans, and both will Gov. Cooper be subject to state Senate confirmation before they take office.

Secretary-nominee Hooks, 50, will oversee the State Bureau of Investigation, the state Highway Patrol and Alcohol Law Enforcement, in addition to the state prison system. Hooks, who began his law enforcement career with the SBI as a resident agent in 1989, is a former assistant SBI director, and is currently a special agent in-charge of the inspections and compliance division.

Cooper says he hopes Hooks can help bridge the gap between communities of color and law enforcement.

Hooks is a native of Spring Lake, and an alumnus of N.C. State University.

Michael Regan is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. and the Research Triangle Park until 2008. In February of that year, Regan served as National Director of Energy Efficiency and Southeast Climate & Energy Policy, and then associate vice president, U.S. Climate and Energy & Southeast Regional director, for the Environmental Defense Fund in Raleigh until July 2015.

In September 2016, Michael Regan founded M. Regan & Associates in Raleigh “to help organizations find transformational solutions for the most important energy, environmental and economic challenges.”

Regan hails from eastern North Carolina, and is an alumnus of N.C. A&T University in Greensboro.

“Michael Regan has the environmental background to know that protecting state resources is vital to our state’s health and economic climate,” Gov. Cooper told reporters. “He also has the government experience and diplomacy to understand that working together is the way to get things done.”

Regan pledged to build a good working relationship with state lawmakers and industry, as well as the environmental community, which hailed his appointment.

However, there are some Republican legislators who may have problems with Regan’s appointment, given that the Environmental Defense Fund and N.C. General Assembly have clashed in the past over laws that freed up many businesses from environmental regulation.

Objections to Regan’s past stances on environ-mental policy might be raised when the state Senate begins its confirmation process of Gov. Cooper’s incoming appointed Cabinet officers.

“Members of the Senate will look forward to reviewing the qualifications of Gov. Cooper’s cabinet nominees and exercising their constitutional authority to vet them during the upcoming long session,” said Senate President Pro tem Sen. Phil Berger [R-Rockingham] in a statement.

One Cooper administration appointee not needing Senate approval is Chief of Staff Kristi Jones, the first African-American woman ever to hold that position in North Carolina state government. Jones served in a similar capacity for many years under Cooper when he was state attorney general.

Jones previously served under Gov. Jim Hunt as his executive director of the North Carolina Initiative on Race. The Wilson native is an alum of North Carolina Central University, and graduate the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law with her juris Doctorate.

When Cooper won last November’s election, Jones helped to head up his gubernatorial transition team.

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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