Under the Dome

Congressman Heath Shuler headed for Duke Energy post

November 26, 2012 

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler has landed a new job working for Duke Energy’s Washington office.

The three-term Democrat, who represents 15 western North Carolina counties, decided to retire from Congress after the legislature redrew his district to make it more Republican-friendly.

Shuler will become senior vice president of federal affairs for the Charlotte-based energy company on Jan. 4. He leaves Congress at the end of December. By law, he won’t be able to directly lobby his former colleagues for a year.

Shuler, a Blue Dog Democrat, has supported legislation to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, promote green energy and energy efficiency.

“Heath is well-known in Washington for working with leaders from both political parties and for bringing people together in his district,” Keith Trent, Duke’s executive vice president for regulated utilities, said in a statement. Shuler couldn’t be reached Monday.

Duke’s top federal priorities next year will include tax policies on corporate dividends, a key attraction for its investors, said spokesman Tom Williams. Duke will also be interested in resolving nuclear-waste issues and in “fracking” for natural gas, a fuel Duke has used more heavily as prices fall.

This will be Shuler’s fourth career. Before going to Congress, he had a real estate company in Tennessee. The Swain County native, a University of Tennessee football star, also was an NFL quarterback, playing for the Oakland Raiders, the New Orleans Saints and the Washington Redskins.

Holshouser endowment at UNC

UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government has raised more than $333,000 to create the James E. Holshouser Jr. Distinguished Professorship to honor the former North Carolina governor.

Along with state matching funds of $167,000, the professorship will total $500,000, which will be invested in an endowment. Proceeds will be used to supplement the salary of a top professor; the professorship could be used to promote a current professor or hire a new one, said Ann Simpson, the school’s associate dean for development.

Simpson said more than 125 donors have contributed in Holshouser’s name. The endowed chair is appropriate, she said, because Holshouser visits the school each year to talk to students in the master of public administration program.

“It’s been a wonderful thing for students who are going to be our new town managers, county managers and public-finance professionals to hear about his experiences in state government,” she said.

Holshouser, a Republican, was governor of North Carolina from 1973 to 1977. He is a member of the UNC system’s Board of Governors.

Womble charges dropped

Charges against state Rep. Larry Womble related to a deadly car crash last December have been dropped, reports the Winston-Salem Journal.

Womble, a nine-term Democrat from Forsyth County, had been charged with a misdemeanor after being involved in a wreck that resulted in the death of David Allen Carmichael and serious injuries to the retiring nine-term legislator.

Steven Arbogast, a prosecutor with the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, filed dismissal papers Monday in Forsyth District Court. According to the document, Arbogast said that “continuing investigation of the charged offense has developed additional facts and information such that the State does not believe it can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“A burden has been lifted so I can concentrate 100 percent on my recovery,” Womble told The Journal.

Staff writers Jane Stancill, Austin Baird and Charlotte Observer staff writer Bruce Henderson

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