Under the Dome

Fetzer, Rucho to join UNC Board of Governors

Former Sen. Bob Rucho, a Republican from Matthews, and former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer, now a lobbyist from Wilmington, are among six people elected to the UNC Board of Governors Wednesday by the N.C. Senate.

Others elected to the UNC system’s policy making board were: Marty Kotis of Summerfield, a real estate investor and restaurateur; Steve Long, a Raleigh attorney; Randall Ramsey, owner of a boat building company in Beaufort; and Harry Smith, a Greenville business executive.

Kotis, Long and Smith are current members of the UNC governing board who were given a second four-year term. Another current member, Scott Lampe, a motorsports executive from Charlotte, was not re-elected.

Rucho held leadership roles in the legislature, where he served for 17 years before deciding not to run for re-election last year. He was a chief architect of tax changes and redistricting in the Republican majority Senate. Fetzer, a former three-term Raleigh mayor and former chairman of the state Republican Party, is regarded as one of the most influential lobbyists in Raleigh.

Earlier this year, the legislature acted to reduce the board from 32 members to 28 this year, and to 24 members in 2019, leaving each chamber six regular-term seats to fill. The House has not held its election but has nominated 14 people.

The Board of Governors, which oversees the 17-campus university system, is one of the most sought-after appointments in the state. Democrats who opposed downsizing the board argued that fewer members would mean less diversity and less representation for the state’s historically black universities. Among the Senate’s 10 nominees were one woman and two African American men.

Earlier this month, the Senate elected Darrell Allison to fill the remainder of an unexpired term on the board. Allison, who is African American, leads a school choice organization and has served as a trustee at N.C. Central University. He will be sworn in Thursday at NCCU.

In a statement Wednesday, Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said: “The University of North Carolina system has long been one of the top institutions of higher learning in the entire country. My Senate colleagues and I commend these individuals for their willingness to serve and explore innovative ways to keep our public universities among the nation’s most accessible, affordable and committed to student success.”