State Government
Director of State’s Broadband Infrastructure Office Appointed PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 20 December 2021 13:40

N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) Secretary James Weaver today announced Angie Bailey’s appointment as director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office within the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity. The division was created in July 2021 to prioritize closing the digital divide in North Carolina.

Bailey has served as interim director since August 2021 and has focused on planning for infrastructure investments utilizing American Rescue Plan dollars that were recently appropriated by the N.C. General Assembly and planning for subsequent broadband infrastructure funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“Angie’s wealth of broadband knowledge will aid the Broadband Instructure Office in its work to expand affordable, high-speed internet access to all North Carolinians,” said Secretary Weaver, who is also the State’s Chief Information Officer. “With her leadership, the office is well positioned to can begin awarding grants to bring critical broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas of the state as quickly as possible.”

Bailey previously served as director of N.C. Broadband within the N.C. Department of Commerce and has more than 20 years of experience in broadband planning and development in North Carolina. She worked for the state’s original broadband commissions, the Rural Internet Access Authority and the e-NC Authority, on broadband infrastructure, adoption efforts and multiple grant programs. In 2015, Bailey assisted in transitioning the N.C. Broadband work to the current Broadband Infrastructure Office within NCDIT. She re-joined the Broadband Infrastructure Office in 2018 as assistant director, after two years with a consulting company focused on building dark fiber open access networks. She has an extensive expertise in broadband policy issues, rural and community development, coordination of statewide programs, and partnerships with North Carolina’s broadband providers.

Bailey holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Guilford College. She is a graduate of Leadership North Carolina and the Rural Economic Development Institute and received the Empower Award from MCNC for her work in broadband.


Cooper Appoints ABC Chair PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 07 December 2021 13:16
Governor Roy Cooper appointed Hank Bauer to be the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (NC ABC Commission) Chairman .
“Hank Bauer has over thirty years of valuable experience in the industry,” said Governor Cooper. “He will be an asset to the ABC Commission and I am grateful for his willingness to serve.”
Hank Bauer is a former General Manager at Empire Distributors, where he also served as the Director of Sales and On-Premise Director. He was previously the North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia District Manager for Boston Beer Company and a District Manager and Sales Representative for Blue Ridge Beverage. Bauer earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Western Carolina University.
The NC ABC Commission controls the sale, purchase, transportation, manufacture, consumption and possession of all alcoholic beverages in the state.
Representative Susan Fisher Announces Retirement PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 01 December 2021 11:04

Representative Susan Fisher of Asheville will officially retire from her elected office effective December 31, 2021. Representative Fisher has served in the NC House for 18 years, representing NC House District 114. 

Representative Susan Fisher has served in the NC General Assembly since 2004 and is currently Minority Whip in the NC House. “It has been the honor of my life to have served the people of District 114,” said Rep. Fisher. “I wanted folks to feel that they were connected to what was happening in Raleigh and the decisions being made. I hope that my constituents felt included and less isolated during my tenure as their House member.” 

Constituents and supporters’ express gratitude for Rep. Fisher’s many years of service. 

  • Asheville educator Jamie Ross: “Susan’s journey from volunteer mom to school board chair to North Carolina legislator has been inspiring. The school children of North Carolina have had no better friend than Susan Fisher. She has never compromised the compassion and integrity that I witnessed when I first met her in the 1980s as parents at Vance Elementary. We are fortunate to have had her represent us in Raleigh.” 
  • Asheville attorney Kerry Friedman: “I am so proud that Susan brought strong mountain values to her service as NC State representative, and her experience with League of Women Voters, Asheville City School system and countless other community roles served her, and her constituents, well. Susan has always been a deal maker rather than a deal breaker, while holding true to her progressive and thoughtful positions on the issues of the day. She has done an outstanding job over these 18 eventful years for our state. As a leader in the NCGA House Democratic caucus, Susan’s efforts on so many fronts - education, justice, health care - have made our families, our children, and our communities better off, because she answered the call to service” 
  • Asheville entrepreneur and philanthropist Mack Pearsall:This state and especially WNC are better for your many years of selfless legislative service to the common good during which Susan listened and led.” 

Before being elected to the NC House, Susan served on the Asheville School Board for eight years, as Chair for four of those years, and worked as Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Kids Voting.

During her time in the NCGA, Rep. Fisher says, “I have been a strong voice for women, for increasing the minimum wage, for labor and better conditions for public education. I have been most proud of the fact that I was able to be instrumental in changing the laws of NC around Health Education and Education in general. This is where my focus has been throughout my career.” She adds, “When I arrived in Raleigh 18 years ago, we were known as an ‘abstinence only’ state in terms of what we could teach our students about their sexual health, that is no longer the case. But we should not assume that the state cannot return to such an attitude. Everything we have fought for is at risk without concerted public involvement and progressive leadership.” 

I will be forever grateful to my constituents for allowing me to serve Buncombe County in the North Carolina House.The rewards of helping others are immeasurable. While the decision not to run again has been difficult and in many ways sad, it is comforting to know that there are energetic folks who are ready with their ideas and strong vision, to run for election and serve the people.” 

Thank you to every supporter who donated to my campaign over the years, to all of the volunteers who made phone calls, knocked doors, and stuffed envelopes, and to every voter who placed their trust in me by voting for me. I am humbled and grateful for the trust that our community invested in me over the past 18 years.” 

Representative Fisher will be leaving office on December 31, 2021. “My plan for now is to just let life unfold and get back to enjoying time at home in Asheville, and as we come out of the pandemic to see more of my family including my grandchildren in Japan,” she says. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 December 2021 11:52
HHS Secretary Cohen To Step Down At The End Of The Year PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 01 December 2021 09:34
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. will be stepping down from the agency after 5 years of service to the state. Governor Cooper has appointed Kody Kinsley, current NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Health and lead for COVID operations, to succeed her beginning January 1st.
“Mandy Cohen has shown extraordinary leadership during her tenure and she has worked every day during this pandemic to help keep North Carolinians healthy and safe,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We are stronger because of her efforts and I am enormously grateful for her service. She has built a remarkable team of talented people including Kody Kinsley, and I know he will continue the strong legacy of competence, effectiveness and efficiency as he takes over as Secretary.”
Secretary Cohen, an internal medicine physician, was appointed by Governor Cooper in January of 2017 and has served as Secretary of DHHS leading the state during some of the most challenging times in North Carolina history. She has led the state’s response to COVID-19 and served as Governor Cooper’s chief advisor and strategist on beating the pandemic.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this state at such an important moment in history,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen. “I am grateful for Governor Cooper’s leadership, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished to improve the health and well-being of the state over the last five years. There is much work still to do, and I am so pleased the Governor selected Kody Kinsley to take the baton to run the next leg of this race.”
Under Dr. Cohen’s leadership, North Carolina has been a model for best practices to provide equitable access to COVID-19 testing and support to families so that they could safely quarantine and isolate; been recognized as best in the nation for data quality for vaccinations by race and ethnicity; and eliminated a vaccination gap between Hispanic and non-Hispanic North Carolinians and narrowed the gap for Black/African American communities.
Secretary Cohen has been lauded for her outstanding leadership during the COVID crisis. In September of 2020, Secretary Cohen was awarded the Leadership in Public Health Practice Award from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She was named the 2020 Tar Heel of the Year by the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper and Dr. Cohen was also elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021.
In addition to her COVID response leadership, Secretary Cohen and her team successfully launched Medicaid managed care, receiving national recognition for the state’s innovative approach to whole-person care, including the integration of physical and mental health and using Medicaid to address drivers of health such as housing, transportation, and employment. Under Secretary Cohen’s leadership, NCDHHS hired its first Chief Health Equity Officer and has focused on reducing disparities in opportunity and outcomes for historically marginalized populations. In addition, North Carolina implemented the first-in-the-nation statewide coordinated care network, NCCARE360, to electronically connect those with identified needs to community resources. This private-public partnership has been a key feature of NC’s COVID response and backbone to the innovative Health Opportunities pilot authorized under North Carolina’s 1115 Medicaid waiver.
Dr. Cohen is leaving DHHS in a strong position to continue to carry out its mission, Cooper said. Dr. Cohen plans to spend more time with her family while exploring new opportunities to carry on her work improving the health and well-being of communities.
Kody H. Kinsley, a native of Wilmington, NC, currently serves as the Chief Deputy Secretary for Health at NCDHHS and Operations Lead for NC’s COVID-19 pandemic response. During his nearly four years of service at NCDHHS, Kinsley has overseen the state’s response to the Opioid Epidemic; increased investments in services and supports for individuals with behavioral health needs and developmental disabilities; created strategic interventions to transition justice-involved populations to care; and has been a driving force behind the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response, including North Carolina’s vaccine distribution efforts.
Kinsley returned home to North Carolina after serving as the presidentially appointed Assistant Secretary for Management at the U.S.  Department of the Treasury where he led operations and finances for the cabinet-level agency, a position he held during both the Obama and Trump Administrations. He has also held roles at the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Kinsley is a recipient of SEANC’s Unsung Hero Award, the Alexander Hamilton Award, and is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brevard College in Brevard, NC and a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School at the University of California at Berkeley.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 December 2021 09:37

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