Susi Hamilton named to Cooper’s cabinet

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The woman who represents much of Wilmington and northern Brunswick County has a new job in Raleigh.

Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Rep. Susi Hamilton to lead the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The department oversees state parks, the NC Zoo, NC Aquariums, as well as other museums, historic sites and more. The department also leads efforts for historic preservation.

At a news conference this afternoon at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, Hamilton said her first job was at the old Department of Cultural Resources about 20 years ago. Cooper also named Reid Wilson as Deputy Secretary of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Hamilton, a Democrat, just began her fourth two-year term representing District 18 in the NC House of Representatives after winning reelection in November. The district stretches across the north side of Wilmington west to the Brunswick-Columbus county line and down US 17 to Bolivia. She was the only Democrat elected to state office from New Hanover and Brunswick counties.

At today’s news conference, a reporter asked Hamilton about her controversial 2012 vote to help override then-Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a fracking bill and how it would impact her role now to protect North Carolina’s natural resources.

“That was a very controversial vote. That was not a vote for fracking. Never was a vote for fracking. It was a vote to regulate. It was a vote to send this issue to committee,” Hamilton said. “If I learned anything (in the legislature) it was that if it was a bad idea and you wanted to kill something, you send it to committee. And I’m glad to say that not one well has been drilled as a result of that bill.”

According to her campaign website, Hamilton is founder and CEO of Hamilton Planning, a consulting firm that offers business development services. She previously served as Executive Director of Wilmington Downtown, Inc. and before that as a Senior Planner in the Long Range Planning Division for the City of Wilmington.

By law, the local Democratic Party will nominate her replacement to be approved by Gov. Cooper. New Hanover County Democratic Party Chair Richard Poole says because Hamilton is from a split district, New Hanover and Brunswick Counties, a House District Executive Committee made up from two people from New Hanover County and two from Brunswick County hold the votes in the election of a replacement. Poole says there will be a need to move along quickly, so expect a replacement within weeks rather than months.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover