Under the Dome

Lanier Cansler

Office District Status
Health and Human Services Sec'y Statewide Appointee
Party In Office Since Term Ends
Republican 2009
Level of Government  
Date of Birth Birthplace Now Lives In
July 17, 1953 , Raleigh, NC


Lanier Cansler is the secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and a member of Gov. Beverly Perdue's Cabinet. An accountant and medical company owner, he served in the state House of Representatives for four terms before becoming deputy secretary of health and human services under Gov. Mike Easley. He then started a consulting firm that helped clients who work with the department. He is the only Republican serving in Perdue's Cabinet.



Marital Status
Four daughters

Lanier Cansler is the secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and a member of Gov. Beverly Perdue's Cabinet.

Early Life and Education

Lanier Moose Cansler was raised on a farm near the town of Newton in Catawba County.

He earned a bachelor of arts in business administration from Lenoir-Rhyne College (now University) in 1974.

Professional Career

After graduating from college, Cansler worked for a public accounting firm, making his way to manager of the Asheville office.

In 1981, he co-founded his own accounting firm in Asheville, focusing on health care providers. 

In 1994, he founded Partners Medical Management, serving as president. 

Political Career

Cansler was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives in 1994, serving four terms.  

A Republican who frequently worked on public health issues, he broke with his party by championing the expansion of Medicaid in 1998.  

In 1999, Gov. Jim Hunt appointed him to the N.C. Institute of Medicine

In April of 2001, he was appointed deputy secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services. He served as a numbers-crunching counterpart to his boss, Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom.

He left the department in 2005.

Cansler then started a consulting and lobbying firm, Cansler Fuquay Solutions, working for clients that did business with the department.

He was the registered lobbyist for Computer Sciences Corporation, a Virginia company that won a $265.2 million contract to build and run a Medicaid bill-paying system for the state. 

Cansler later said he registered as a lobbyist strictly out of caution and did little more than introduce his clients to lawmakers. 

A registered Republican, he worked with unsuccessful GOP primary gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith on his health policies and mental health position paper and contributed $1,000 to Smith's campaign. 

Perdue Administration

On Jan. 6, 2009, Gov. appointed Cansler secretary of health and human services.

He was the only Republican in the Democratic governor's Cabinet. 

Research and reporting by Ryan Teague Beckwith and Lynn Bonner. 


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