Gov. Roy Cooper appoints more leaders, former staff to fill out team

A range of business experience and roles with previous Democrat administrations define top picks

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced at a press conference Thursday two more picks to lead top state government agencies as he continues to appoint key agency leaders and augment staff roles.Tony Copeland was named Secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce. Copeland, a native of Eastern North Carolina and alumnus of Duke University, served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce under then-Gov. Mike Easley (D), before founding a corporate consulting business and eventually becoming a partner at law firm Williams Mullen.Prior to his public service Copeland served as executive vice president, secretary and general counsel of BTI, a telecommunications company.”Tony Copeland knows what makes our state such a great place to do business and how to bring more good paying jobs to North Carolina,” said Cooper of his new Commerce leader.Machelle Sanders was named Secretary of the N.C. Department of Administration. Sanders, also an Eastern North Carolina native and a graduate of N.C. State University, previously served as vice president of manufacturing and general manager of biotechnology company Biogen’s Research Triangle Park operations.”Machelle Sanders has a long track record and will help us make our state government more organized, efficient and effective,” said Cooper of Sanders new leadership role.Cooper also announced this week the hiring of Jenni Owen from the SanfordSchool of Public Policy at Duke University to serve as his policy director. “Jenni brings a wealth of knowledge in public policy but more importantly cares deeply about the people of North Carolina,” Cooper said. “She’s a collaborator who can look at our challenges across issues to find smart, strategic solutions.”He also brought over two of his long-term Department of Justice staffers, Stephen Bryant and Julia White, to serve as co-deputy chiefs of staff. Bryant also worked for Gov. Jim Hunt and White for the North Carolina Senate, prior to joining Cooper’s DOJ staff. According to a press release from the governor’s office, White will oversee the policy, communications and budget area for the Governor, and Bryant will oversee intergovernmental issues, appointments, including Boards and Commissions, and constituent services. Joining Cooper’s press office is DOJ staffer Samantha Cole and Cooper’s campaign spokesmen Ford Porter and Jamal Little. Porter and Little also worked in communications for the N.C. Democratic Party over the past year.