News: Quick Takes

Cooper nominates former House members for state Transportation Board

An aerial photograph of Interstate 77 at Exit 31 in June 2015 shows rush-hour traffic. (CJ file photo)
An aerial photograph of Interstate 77 at Exit 31 in June 2015 shows rush-hour traffic. (CJ file photo)

Cullie S. Tarleton of Watauga County and Daniel McComas of New Hanover County, both former members of the state House, were among 10 appointees nominated by Gov. Roy Cooper to serve on the North Carolina Department of Transportation Board.

Cooper submitted the nominees for four-year terms to the General Assembly for a 30-day comment period. The Transportation Board represents statewide transportation needs and oversees the North Carolina Highway Trust Fund, an account created by the General Assembly to fund new road construction efforts.

Meanwhile, the state Senate is gearing up to have confirmation hearings for Cooper’s cabinet picks. The process was stalled while the governor’s lawsuit to block the process wound through the courts.

“Since the court has removed all barriers to the legislature moving forward with confirmation hearings on the eight appointees that Gov. Cooper has sworn in as acting department secretaries, we expect the Senate to announce a revised schedule soon,” said Cooper spokeswoman Shelly Carver.

Berger’s office anticipates Cooper will provide the names for his nominees to lead the departments of Revenue and Information Technology by May 15, the final date by which that can occur.

Tarleton, a two-term Democrat, represented Ashe and Wautauga counties in the General Assembly from 2007 to 2010, when he was defeated by Republican Jonathan Jordan. He is a retired senior vice president and general manager of WBT, WBTV, and WCCB-TV. He has served on the State Lottery Commission, and various boards of directors for nonprofit and charitable organizations. He will represent the 11th Division.

McComas, a Republican, represented New Hanover County from 1994 to 2012, when he resigned to become chairman of the State Ports Authority Board of Directors. He has been president and CEO of MCO Transport, Inc. since 1985. He was appointed to an at-large seat representing ports and aviation on the DOT Board.

The other eight nominees are:

Michael S. Fox of Guilford County, who has more than 25 years of legal experience, including in land use and zoning. He previously served on the Transportation Board from 2010 to 2013. He will represent the 7th Division.

Grady Hunt of Robeson County has practiced government, education, and real estate law for more than 25 years. He has served as legal counsel to several rural communities, including Hoke County, the Town of Pembroke, and the Town of Maxton. Hunt will serve as an at-large member representing rural issues.

Valerie D. Jordan of Wake County has more than 20 years of experience in development, account services, and project management. She works as the IBM Global Alliance partner account manager at Cisco Systems in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. She will represent the 5th Division.

Anthony T. Lathrop of Mecklenburg County is a partner with the law firm of Moore & Van Allen PLLC in Charlotte, specializing in commercial litigation, zoning, land use, and dispute resolution. He has been a member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission since 2011 and its chair since 2014. He will be an at-large member representing government-related finance and accounting issues.

John R. Pope of Catawba County has worked with Cargo Transporters since 1985 and has served as chairman of its board since 2005. He sits on boards of directors for the Truckload Carrier Association, American Trucking Associations, North Carolina Trucking Associations, the YMCA, Catawba Chamber of Commerce, and other nonprofits. He will represent the 12th division.

Nina Szlosberg-Landis of Wake County has been involved in communications and civic engagement for more than 25 years. She has served on the Triangle Transit Board of Authority, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Hillsborough Street Partnership. She served three previous terms on the Transportation Board. She will serve as an at-large member representing environmental issues.

Michael R. Wells Sr. of Forsyth County has more than 40 years of legal experience specializing in estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, elder law, real estate, and general litigation. He has sat on boards of directors for various non-profit organizations in the Triad. He will represent the 9th Division.

Landon G. Zimmer of New Hanover County is a partner at the law firm of Zimmer and Zimmer, LLP. He is a commissioner on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and a member of various professional, civic, and social organizations. He will represent the 3rd Division.

Dan E. Way (@danway_carolina) is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.