Governor Cooper announced two more cabinet picks today: Machelle Sanders to head the Department of Administration and Anthony Copeland to run the Department of Commerce.
Sanders, who has no previous experience in government, was previously a vice president
at Biogen in Research Triangle Park.
"When it comes to Department of Administration, we want someone who can help government run smoothly and can help government run effectively and efficiently," Cooper said during a press conference at the Executive Mansion. "And what we want to do is for taxpayer money to be invested wisely. Michelle will come exclusively from work in the private sector. She has decades of experience in quality control manufacturing operations and general management."
Copeland was previously the assistant secretary of commerce for business development under Governor Mike Easley, and most recently was a partner at Williams Mullen
in Raleigh. He has also been a consistent Democratic donor; since 1989, Copeland has donated $75,648 to Democrats running in statewide races and another $16,950
to North Carolina Democrats running at the federal level. In total, he's donated at least $90,000 since 1989. This includes, most recently, a $2,500 donation to Cooper's gubernatorial campaign.
Sanders has only made two donations, according to campaign finance records, totaling $750 to Attorney General Josh Stein's successful campaign this past fall.
"I'm ready to take on this task," Copeland said at the press conference. "I think my job description is pretty straightforward. It's to help you carry out the vision of building a better future for the ten million people who call North Carolina home. We're driven by the objective that we want to have middle-class and working-class people to be able to have more money in their pockets, without question."
Under the terms of HB 17, which was passed late last year in a special session
, both nominees will have to be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. Cooper indicated he may sue the legislature
over this provision, but he hasn't yet done so. The governor said more announcements would come tomorrow and next week.