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Janet Cowell outlines a vision for the state in end-of-year note

State Treasurer Janet Cowell sent an end-of-the-year note to supporters and friends Friday that details how she "changed (and) evolved" in her first term.

One anecdote she offered: "I am incredibly grateful for those of you who have believed in me, advised me, worked alongside of me, and made me laugh along the way. One friend even told me he was going to tell people he was a senior advisor to the State Treasurer. “On fiscal matters?” I asked.  “No,” he replied, “on wardrobe.""

On a more serious note, Cowell, who many consider a rising star in the state Democratic Party offered a broader vision outside the confines of her current duties -- the kind of statement the party is looking to crystalize as it figures out its new role in the minority and one that will let prognosticators suggest she may seek higher office in the future.

Cowell debuts TV ads in re-election bid

Democratic State Treasurer Janet Cowell is debuting two new TV ads, according to her website.

The first focuses on education -- an issue with tenuous ties to her job description -- in which Cowell touts job training and college affordability. The second (see below) focuses on her accomplishments as treasurer and touts the state's AAA bond rating.

Morning Roundup: Goldman-Malone relationship detailed in police report

UPDATED: Wake school board members Debra Goldman and Chris Malone found themselves in a messy situation, which strained the rest of the board. Now it could affect the November election. Goldman is the Republican candidate for state auditor and Malone is seeking a N.C. House seat.

More political headlines:

--The race for lieutenant governor may be the highest office Democrats can win. Democrat Linda Coleman faces  Dan Forest, a conservative, tea party Republican. Meet the candidates.

--In case you missed it, here's a profile of GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, whose shifting politics has put him in the lead.

--Rob Christensen writes about the intersection of Bill Friday and politics.

Morning Roundup: State treasurer under fire for Facebook stock deal

State Treasurer Janet Cowell is coming under fire from state employees and retirees who are raising questions about the pension fund’s management after it invested in Facebook – which saw its value tank after its stock market debut. Cowell, a Democrat, did not respond to questions about the Facebook deal, but a spokeswoman downplayed the loss and defended the investment firm.

The law firm chosen to represent the state in its lawsuit against Facebook is also generating questions. Bernstein Litowitz Berger and Grossmann gave Cowell’s campaign more than $75,000 since her 2008 election to the post, according to state records. Read more here.

Political headlines:

--Could Tropical Storm Isaac soak the Democratic convention, too?

--American Atheists and Adams Outdoor Advertising are removing two Charlotte billboards slamming Christianity and Mormonism after the national atheists’ group said it received an outpouring of public anger and threats.

--Gary Pearce and Carter Wrenn, well known Tar Heel political strategists, map out the Obama path to victory for NPR.

Morning Roundup: Perdue, gubernatorial candidates promise action

North Carolina’s leaders – and those campaigning to take charge in the coming year – promised Wednesday to wake a sleeping government in order to stop businesses that misclassify employees as contractors and avoid paying taxes and buying workers’ compensation insurance.

Gov. Bev Perdue ordered a team of agency leaders to meet and figure out how to work together to crack down on cheating businesses. Both men campaigning to be governor – Republican Pat McCrory and Democrat Walter Dalton – said fixing these problems is at the top of their priority list. Read more here.

More political news below.

--An effort by state lawmakers to make the contracts for administering the State Health Plan transparent seems to have fallen short of its goal in at least one respect.

--Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan inspired a crowd of a several thousand people Wednesday afternoon with the message that GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has the experience and vision to fix the country. See a photo gallery from the event.

SEANC settles records lawsuit against Treasurer's Office

The state employees association announced today it has settled its lawsuit against the state Treasurer’s Office over a public records request.

The State Employees Association of North Carolina in 2007 had sought records after Forbes magazine published an article that asserted then-Treasurer Richard Moore, a Democrat, had a fundraising advantage in his campaign for governor thanks to investment managers who did or could do business with the state’s pension fund.

SEANC dropped its lawsuit and signed a settlement agreement on March 9 because current State Treasurer Janet Cowell has “sufficiently satisfied the association’s public records request,” according to its statement.

Conservative talk radio host joins state treasurer's race

Conservative talk radio host Frank Roche entered the race for state treasurer Wednesday, just before the filing deadline. He said he is a "trained financial market economist" with experience as a trader and analyst. He promised a "new vision" if elected.

The Cary resident is a former unsuccessful GOP Congressional candidate known for his fiery rhetoric. Roche spoke at a Orange County Republican event earlier this month and called Barack Obama a "post-American president," claimed the White House nudged aside Gov. Bev Perdue (which both sides deny) and said this election "is about no more Mr. Nice Guy."

One other Republican filed for the party nomination for treasurer: Steven Royal of Elkin. The winning candidate will face Demcoratic incumbent Janet Cowell, whose work has earned the praise of GOP House Speaker Thom Tillis.

North Carolina's chief investment officer resigns

North Carolina's chief investment officer Shawn Wischmeier announced his resignation Friday after the markets closed.

Wischmeier is leaving to take a similar position at the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies in Minnesota. He served in his role for less than two years, after replacing Patricia Gerrick who was fired amid questions about her expenses.

Janet Cowell gets prime time on Good Morning America

State Treasurer Janet Cowell appeared Friday on Good Morning America as part of an ABC segment on unclaimed money.

Cowell stood in a gymnasium at the Arapahoe Charter School with ABC's Elisabeth Leamy to present three checks from unclaimed property. (See the clip here. North Carolina's part starts at 3:20.)

Janet Cowell's supporters list includes big name Democrats, Republicans

Democratic State Treasurer Janet Cowell's campaign announced a list of supporters Tuesday that will help deter a serious Republican challenger

Cowell is one of two statewide elected officials not yet facing an announced challenger. Her list of supporters includes a number of top Democrats, including former Gov. Jim Hunt, Lillian's List founder Jan Allen, Harvey Gantt, Crandall Bowles and retired state Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry Frye.

But it also includes a few Republican donors, such as Fred Eshelman, a leader in the Real Jobs NC political group with Art Pope; Tim Clancy, a Raleigh builder; and former Wachovia Chairman John Medlin, who is politically unaffiliated.

"I am honored to have the support of so many individuals, from both political parties, that care deeply about North Carolina and have shown tremendous dedication to our state," said Cowell in a statement.

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