Under the Dome

State Treasurer Janet Cowell to work with refugees in Jordan

Outgoing State Treasurer Janet Cowell will resume her life as a private citizen by traveling to Jordan in January to work at a Syrian refugee camp.

Cowell, whose term expires at the end of the year, was honored Thursday at her last meeting as an ex officio member of the State Board of Education. Cowell was asked by her colleagues to share what she will be doing when she leaves for Jordan on Jan. 2.

"The focus will be education and mentorship of a lot of the children and young adults in those camps that are looking for opportunities and looking for a better life," Cowell said. "For three weeks at least you get to bear witness to challenges that other people are facing and hopefully make a difference on education there."

Cowell was also pressed into service Thursday to present the Order of the Long Leaf Pine to outgoing State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson.

Cowell has been an elected official since 2001, when she was elected to the Raleigh City Council. She was elected to the state Senate in 2004 before first being elected state treasurer in 2008.

As treasurer, Cowell oversees the state's $90 billion pension fund and is the financial advisor to the state and to local governments. Her office also oversees the state health plan.

Cowell, a Democrat, decided not to run for a third term. Dale Folwell, a Republican, was elected to replace Cowell in November.