Hall, Hamilton leaving Cabinet as Cooper preps for second term

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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By Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press

Two members of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet won’t remain in their posts as his second term begins next month, Cooper announced on Tuesday.

The Democratic governor said that Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Hall and Susi Hamilton, secretary for the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, are leaving their jobs in the coming weeks.

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Cooper nominated Hamilton and Hall  — both state House members at the time — to the positions early in his first term that began January 2017. Cooper didn’t immediately announce their successors, who like other Cabinet secretaries are subject to state Senate confirmation.

“I am grateful for their willingness to forgo other opportunities during that time so they could help lead the state during my first term,” Cooper said in a news release. “The beginning of a new term is a natural time for transition, and I know these public servants will continue giving back to North Carolina as they embark on their next ventures.”

Hamilton, who is from Wilmington, led the agency that manages North Carolina’s parks, protects natural areas and preserves the state’s history.

During her term, Hamilton helped develop the Hometown Strong rural initiative and led Cooper’s Advisory Council on Film, Television and Digital Streaming. Cooper’s office said Hamilton will continue to be the council’s chair as she begins what she calls “my next endeavor,” which will be unveiled soon.

“I feel called to specifically refocus my energy and my efforts to help expand opportunity in eastern North Carolina and make the region stronger and more resilient,” Hamilton said in Cooper’s news release.

Hall, a former House minority leader and Marine Corps veteran, helped complete the expansions of two state veterans’ cemeteries as well as locate federal funds for veterans’ nursing homes in Forsyth and Wake counties. The agency also help veterans access federal benefits.

“The focus on military readiness and family quality of life, transition and veteran support has truly paid tremendous dividends,” Hall said in the release.

Cooper also said the search for a permanent secretary of the Department of Information Technology has begun. Thomas Parrish, the acting secretary since August, will be considered a candidate, the release said.

The seven other members of Cooper’s Cabinet have served throughout his first term. Eric Boyette, one of the seven, switched from information technology to transportation secretary earlier this year.

Cooper won reelection last month by defeating Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest by 4.5 percentage points.



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