It will be Governor Roy Cooper on New Year’s Day, 2017. After more than a month of challenges and recounts, Gov. Pat McCrory conceded after it was determined that Cooper won by a razor-thin margin of just over 10,000 votes. Just as McCrory had his challenges with the General Assembly, Cooper will have even greater confrontations. Republican legislators have numbers to override any veto. Some senators privately commented this week that the leadership is committed to making Cooper a “one term governor.” Divided government appears to be in North Carolina’s future. And while the legislators have the votes and control of the budgets, the governor has the bully pulpit and access to the media with the power to speak out.
The governor has broad authority to appoint department heads and board members with jurisdiction to over election boards, environmental policies, education, and economic development. Business executives, including those in hosiery and textiles manufacturing, will be watching appointments and the structure for the Department of Commerce and its Economic Development Partnership.