Under the Dome

Once a powerful senator, Tom Apodaca lines up clients as a lobbyist

Tom Apodaca, the former Senate Rules Chairman, in 2015
Tom Apodaca, the former Senate Rules Chairman, in 2015 hlynch@newsobserver.com

Former Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca will be back at the Legislative Building this year as a lobbyist for several major companies and organizations.

Apodaca, a Republican from Hendersonville, was Senate leader Phil Berger’s top lieutenant until he resigned from the legislature in July. The early departure allowed him to begin the six-month “cooling off period” required of legislators who become lobbyists.

On Tuesday – a few days after the six-month period ended – Apodaca filed paperwork with the N.C. Secretary of State to serve as a lobbyist through his new firm, Vista Strategies & Solutions Group LLC.

Apodaca’s filings show he’ll be working for insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, tobacco giant Altria, the N.C. Wine and Beer Wholesalers Association and IGT, the company that provides lottery equipment and technology for the N.C. Education Lottery.

Filings show that Apodaca’s new firm also includes Jaime King Fuquay, who’d previously worked for the N.C. Education Lottery. The firm has offices in the Wells Fargo building, a few blocks from the legislature.

Apodaca’s old job as Senate Rules Chairman is being filled by Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport Republican.