Under the Dome

Former NC House Majority Leader will become a lobbyist

Former N.C. House Majority Leader Mike Hager, a Rutherfordton Republican who resigned from the legislature last August, says he’s launching a lobbying firm.

The firm will be called Hager Strategic Solutions, and for now it’s just the former legislator with no other lobbyists on staff. He said Thursday that he’ll officially register as a lobbyist in a few weeks once his six-month “cooling off period” ends. Under state law, elected officials must wait six months after leaving office before lobbying.

Hager said he isn’t ready to name his clients yet but has several lined up. He says he’ll focus on many of the same issues he tackled as a lawmaker, including deregulation proposals and public utility issues. Before entering politics, Hager was an engineer with Duke Energy.

“There’s still some work left on regulatory reform issues, and there’s still some good conservative issues out there,” he said.

Having led the House GOP caucus in the 2015 and 2016 sessions, Hager has strong relationships with legislative leaders.

“I think that will help, of course, but you still have to have a good issue that folks will want to work with,” he said.

Hager is the second former legislative leader to set up a lobbying shop for 2017. Former Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, who resigned a month before Hager, has launched a firm called Vista Strategies & Solutions Group LLC. His clients include Raleigh’s Rex Hospital, insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the N.C. Cable Telecommunications Association.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter