Under the Dome

Former lawmaker, former Raleigh mayor among nominees for UNC board

Then-state Sen. Bob Rucho, right, a Republican, holds a press conference outside the N.C. Board of Elections building in Raleigh along with Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, on Nov. 30, 2016.
Then-state Sen. Bob Rucho, right, a Republican, holds a press conference outside the N.C. Board of Elections building in Raleigh along with Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, on Nov. 30, 2016. cseward@newsobserver.com

Ten people have been nominated in the Senate for six seats on the UNC Board of Governors.

Nominees include Nigel Alston, executive director of the N.C. Black Repertory Company in Winston-Salem; Tom Fetzer, a Raleigh lobbyist, former state Republican Party chairman and former Raleigh mayor; Frankie Jones, Sr., CEO of a farming operation in Alamance County; Randall Ramsey, president of a boatbuilding company in Beaufort; Bob Rucho, a retired dentist from Matthews and former state senator who left office last year after 16 years; and Dr. Laura Staton, a retired medical consultant from Chocowinity.

Several have higher education experience. Alston is a former administrator at Winston-Salem State University. Jones served on the boards of visitors at High Point University and Wake Forest University. Ramsey is a trustee at N.C. State University. Rucho was on an advisory board at UNC Charlotte’s business school. Staton is chair of the Beaufort County Community College trustees.

Also among the Senate nominees are four current UNC board members seeking re-election: Marty Kotis, a real estate developer from Greensboro; Scott Lampe, a motorsports executive from Charlotte; Steve Long, a lawyer from Raleigh; and Harry Smith, Jr., a business executive from Greenville.

The legislature recently acted to downsize the board from 32 members to 28 in 2017, making this year’s race for board seats more competitive. The board will be reduced to 24 members in 2019.

The Board of Governors, which oversees the 17-campus university system, is one of the most sought-after appointments in the state. There will be significant turnover this year – eight current members either were not nominated, did not seek re-election or were not eligible for another term.

Last week, House members put forward 14 nominees. Also last week, the Senate elected school choice advocate and N.C. Central University trustee Darrell Allison to the Board of Governors. He will fill the remainder of an unexpired term created when former board chair John Fennebresque stepped down in 2015.

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