Under the Dome

State Senate’s lead budget writer leaving office

UPDATED: State Sen. Pete Brunstetter is leaving office next month, to accept a position as executive vice president and chief legal officer with Novant Health, which has hospitals in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina.

The departure of the Winston-Salem Republican leaves the legislature without one of its most knowledgeable budget writers.

Brunstetter, 57, said it was a “terrific opportunity” to join what he called “an innovative and cutting-edge health-care company.”

Brunstetter is in his fifth term and was the state Senate’s lead budget writer and negotiator. He flirted with running for the U.S. Senate next year, before turning down a statewide campaign. Brunstetter said at the time he wanted to focus on state issues.

“Pete Brunstetter is an outstanding public servant whose leadership and budgetary expertise were instrumental to closing the $2.5 billion deficit Republicans inherited and ensuring North Carolina’s long-term fiscal health,” Senate leader Phil Berger said in a statement. “As a champion of small business, Pete had a tremendous impact on reforming our state’s onerous regulatory environment and medical malpractice laws. He is a close friend and trusted adviser, and I know I speak for my colleagues – and his constituents – in thanking him for many years of service. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Brunstetter’s departure is effective Dec. 15.