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McCrory introduces transition team, fields questions

Pat McCrory traveled to Raleigh on Thursday to set up his transition office, meet with Gov. Bev Perdue and hold his first news conference.

The governor-elect promised to “instill in state government a culture of customer service,” and vowed to work with Democrats and run an open administration.
“We will be accessible, extremely transparent and, most of all, extremely ethical,” McCrory said.

About two dozen members of McCrory’s transition team lined up behind him at the news conference in the Albermarle Building in downtown Raleigh. Among them was conservative financier Art Pope, who has the title of co-chairman overseeing operations.

McCrory singled out his transition director, former Durham city councilman and onetime candidate for lieutenant governor, Thomas Stith, who is currently with the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC-Chapel Hill. McCrory called him “my CEO.” Continuing the corporate theme, he introduced deputy director John Baldwin, who has been chief of state for the state Department of Labor, as his chief operating officer.

“The campaign is over and now it’s time to lead and govern,” McCrory said.
Dozens of Republican politicians, former politicians turned lobbyists and other politicos crowded into the event, which was also attended by his wife, Ann. McCrory said Perdue and Ann McCrory had already begun talking about the details of moving into the Executive Mansion.

UPDATE: Here's a complete list of the team, as provided by McCrory's staff:

 
Serving as Honorary Chairmen and Key Senior Advisors to the Transition:

  • Governor Jim Holshouser: North Carolina’s 68th governor, serving from 1973 to 1977, and the first Republican governor elected in the twentieth century. Governor Holshouser has served on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors since 1979.
  • Governor Jim Martin: Served as governor from 1985 to 1993. Prior to, Governor Martin represented North Carolina for over a decade in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Lt. Governor Jim Gardner: Elected in 1989 as North Carolina’s 30th Lieutenant Governor and the first elected Republican Lieutenant Governor since 1901. Lieutenant Governor Gardner also served from 1967 to 1969 in the U.S. House, where he chaired the House Committee on Agriculture.
  • Congressman Charles Taylor: Represented North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District from 1991 to 2007. Congressman Taylor also served in the N.C. General Assembly representing Transylvania County from 1967 to 1975.
  • Ambassador Aldona Wos: Served as United States Ambassador to Estonia from 2004 to 2006. A native of Warsaw, Poland, Ambassador Wos earned a medical degree from Warsaw Medical Academy.
  • Robert J. Brown: Chairman and CEO of B&C Associates, Inc. Recognized with numerous awards for his contributions to the private sector and service to the community, Robert Brown serves on the boards of a several universities, including High Point University.  He was also a Special Assistant to President Richard Nixon.
  • Speaker Joe Mavretic: First elected in 1980, Speaker Mavretic served 15 years in the North Carolina General Assembly, including two as House Speaker from 1989 to 1990.
  • Jack Hawke: Former Chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, Jack Hawke previously served as President of the John W. Pope Civitas Institute, and has a wealth of past state government experience, including as Special Assistant for Policy to Governor Martin, and Deputy Secretary of Transportation for Governor Holshouser.  

 
Serving as Chairman Overseeing Operations of the Transition:

  • John Lassiter: President of Carolina Legal Staffing. Lassiter is a former at-large member on the Charlotte City Council and spent 10 years on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.

 
Serving as Co-Chairs Overseeing Operations of the Transition:

  • Ed McMahan: President and CEO of the Little-McMahan Group in Charlotte. Former member of the N.C. House, where he served on education and transportation oversight committees.
  • Art Pope: CEO and Chairman of Variety Wholesalers Inc. and Chairman and President of the John William Pope Foundation. Pope served four terms in the N.C. House of Representatives and as Special Counsel to Governor Jim Martin in 1985.
  • Mike Smith: President and Chief Operations Officer of Kane Realty Corporation. Smith’s professional experience includes working in the Political Affairs Office of the White House and serving as former Chair of the Wake County Economic Development Department Board. 

Serving as General Counsel to the Transition:

  • Johnathan Rhyne: Partner at the Jonas Law Firm practicing civil litigation and family law. Rhyne served six terms in the N.C. House of Representatives and as House Minority Leader from 1989 to 1992. He also served as a member of the Advisory Budget Commission from 1989 to 1990.

 

Transition Team Staff 

 
Transition Director

  • Thomas Stith: Program Director for Economic Development for the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC-Chapel Hill. Stith’s past positions include co-founder and President of the Michael Thomas Group and Vice President of the John W. Pope Civitas Institute. His public service includes three consecutive terms on the Durham City Council. 

Deputy Transition Director

  • John Baldwin: Chief of Staff for the N.C. Department of Labor since 2001. Former Chief of Staff to House Speaker Harold Brubaker from 1994 to 1999 and assistant to former Governor Jim Martin between 1987 and 1993.

Policy Director

  • Kelly Nicholson: Vice President of Health Policy at UNC Health Care System. Former Senior Policy Advisor to N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, Medicaid Policy Advisor for the State of South Carolina, and Health Policy Analyst for the National Governors’ Association.

 
Assistant Policy Director

  • Matthew McKillip: Most recently served as Policy and Research Coordinator for Governor-Elect McCrory's campaign and a policy research assistant at American Enterprise Institute. Graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in English. 

 
Economic Development Director

  • Tony Almeida: Retired vice president for Duke Energy’s Large Business Customers, U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas organization. Former vice president of business relations and economic development for Duke Energy Carolinas and former sales representative for Procter & Gamble. Graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and economics.

 
Director of Human Resources

  • Charles Duckett: Director of Boards and Commissions in the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis. From 2005 to 2011, Duckett served as Human Resources Director in the Office of the State Auditor. His past experience includes a post as Deputy Director of Personnel Appointments in Governor Jim Martin’s administration.

 
Communications Director

  • Chris Walker: Former Regional Communications Advisor for Mitt Romney for President. Walker previously served as Press Secretary for Senator Richard Burr and as Senior Advisor/Communications Director for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.


Deputy Communications Director

  • Ricky Diaz: Most recently served as Press Secretary of Governor-Elect McCrory's campaign for governor. Former statewide e-Campaign Director for Chris Christie's campaign for governor in 2009. In 2010, Ricky served as Deputy Communications Director for U.S. Senator Richard Burr's campaign before joining the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's administration as the Director of Media Affairs.

 
Scheduler

  • Meredith McCullen: Clayton native and graduate of Appalachian State University and Suffolk University with a Masters in Political Science. Most recently served as Scheduling Director for Governor-Elect Pat McCrory's 2012 campaign.

 
Legal Counsel

  • Lindsey Wakely: Former Legal Counsel for Variety Wholesalers, Inc. A 2011 graduate of the UNC School of Law, Lindsey previously worked as a paralegal and as a law clerk for the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law. 

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