Legislators elect next class to serve on UNC board

Mar. 20, 2013 @ 08:54 PM

RALEIGH — The General Assembly on Wednesday elected its next class of 16 people to serve on the University of North Carolina system's governing panel, including a former state lawmaker, several business executives and a Down East radio personality.

The Republican-led House and Senate held their separate, biennial elections to pick eight people apiece to serve four-year terms on the prestigious 32-member UNC Board of Governors starting July 1.

New board members include former state Rep. Laura Wiley of Greensboro, Hendrick Motorsports executive Scott Lampe of Davidson, Raleigh attorney Steven Long and Henry Hinton of Greenville, president of a company that owns four radio stations.

This is the second cycle in which GOP legislators have been able to place their imprint on the board, starting in 2011, during their first year in charge of both chambers in more than a century. The legislature picks all voting board members, so now all of them will have been elected under Republican rule starting this summer.

That didn't stop House Democrats and Republicans from arguing about the picks.

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, said it's a travesty that Republicans didn't support Democrats that his side wanted to win to promote board diversity. House members were directed to choose from eight of the 14 nominees. Three current board members — Walter Davenport of Raleigh, James Deal of Boone and Al Roseman of Wilmington — failed to get re-elected. Two of the three are registered Democrats.

When Democrats were in charge, according to Michaux, they would work to allow Republicans to have some board representation.

"You talk about reaching across the aisle," Michaux said. "This is in no way, shape or form or fashion reaching across the aisle."

House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, said no one would question that the board members elected Wednesday are well-qualified. But he pointed out the Republicans are in control after winning a majority of legislative seats in the November general election.

"We intend to elect Republicans and appoint Republicans, and we make no apologies for it," Starnes said. At least one person elected Wednesday by the House, however, isn't a registered Republican.

State law once required that certain UNC board seats be designated for minorities, women and members of whichever party was in the minority in the legislature. The quotas were eliminated in 2001 after a lawsuit was filed challenging them.

In addition to Wiley and Hinton, the House elected to the board Rodney Hood of Durham; Champ Mitchell of New Bern; Doyle Parrish of Raleigh; Roger Aiken of Alexander; Dr. Joan Templeton Perry of Kinston; and Jim Nance of Albemarle.

The Senate elected Lampe; Long; William Kotis III of Summerfield; Joan MacNeill of Webster; Therence Pickett of Greensboro; Bob Rippy of Wilmington; Harry Smith, Jr. of Greenville; and Craig Souza of Raleigh.