Under the Dome

Janet Cowell adds staff, plans larger role as a leading Democrat

State Treasurer Janet Cowell is preparing to play a more prominent role in helping Democrats push their message amid complete Republican control of the lawmaking process.

Cowell, a second term Democrat, is adding staff and planning to expand her portfolio. "I do feel more incumbent to take a broader policy role," she said, given the dearth of prominent Democrats. "I sit on the school board --that's an area where when I was one of more Democrats I didn't have to take as much interest or carry the water where I may be having to do that now."

Cowell hired Kendra Cotton to help develop more expertise on education policy and retained former Democratic Party spokesman Walton Robinson as a communications strategist on a contract basis for now.

To help navigate the Republican supermajority in the legislature, Cowell hired former state Rep. Bill McGee, Clemmons Republican, to serve as one of her lobbyists. McGee, a retired stock broker, tackled many legislative issues for the treasurer's office during his five terms in the House.

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