Governor Cooper Appoints New Members to State Boards and Commissions

RALEIGH

Governor Roy Cooper today announced 21 new appointments to various North Carolina boards and commissions, including the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the Early Childhood Advisory Council, and the Juvenile Justice Planning Committee.

“These appointees bring important experience and knowledge to key state boards and commissions,” Gov. Cooper said. “I appreciate their willingness to serve our state and look forward to working with them to build a better North Carolina.”

Gov. Cooper appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Industrial Commission:

  • Myra L. Griffin of Durham as a Commissioner representing employers. Griffin has served as the Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission for more than 13 years. Prior to that, Griffin served as an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Industrial Commission and as an Agency Legal Counsel in the Office of the North Carolina Attorney General.

Gov. Cooper appointed the following individual to the Early Childhood Advisory Council:

  • Kathy Higgins of Hillsborough as an at-large representative. Higgins is President and CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation and is Vice President of Corporate Affairs at BCBSNC. She was previously the Vice President of Community Relations at the Foundation.

Gov. Cooper appointed the following individual to the North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board:

  • Kelly McKinnon of Charlotte as a public member. McKinnon is a public school teacher at Harding University High School, a Math, Science, and Technology school in Charlotte. She is an active member in the National Educators Association and North Carolina Association of Educators.

Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Juvenile Justice Planning Committee:

  • Judge Beth Freshwater-Smith of Wilson as an elected official representing general purpose local government. Freshwater-Smith is a District Court Judge for Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties. She was previously the Senior Assistant District Attorney and served on the National Juvenile Prosecutors Network at the Center for Juvenile Justice and Reform.
  • Bruce Stanley of Raleigh as a representative of non-profit faith-based groups or community groups. Stanley is the President and CEO of the Methodist Home for Children. Stanley also serves on the Governor’s Crime Commission.
  • Chris Suggs of Kinston as a representative of a private non-profit agency working with children and families. Suggs is the founder and CEO of Kinston Teens, Inc. and the co-founder and chair of Black Youth Network, a national network with a mission of connecting and empowering young African-American leaders.
  • Derek Brown of Durham as a representative of youth workers in alternative programs. Brown is a ninth grade student attending Riverside High School and a varsity athlete.
  • Dianne Whitman of Sylva as a representative of local law enforcement and juvenile justice agencies. Whitman is the Chief Court Counselor for the 30th Judicial District. She previously worked as a Juvenile Court Counselor, a case manager for youth and families, and a child abuse investigator.
  • Judge Donald Cureton, Jr. of Charlotte as a representative of local law enforcement and juvenile justice agencies. Cureton is a District Court Judge in Mecklenburg County specializing in juvenile court matters. He also serves on the Children’s Justice Act and the Disproportionate Minority Contact subcommittees.
  • Grayson H. Cheek of Wilmington as representative of volunteers who work with delinquents or children at risk of delinquency. Cheek is a private criminal defense attorney. Cheek helped found the Leland Area Rotary Club chapter and has served as its Vice-President and President.
  • Grayson H. Rehm of Raleigh as a representative of youth workers in alternative programs. Rehm is a senior at Broughton High School who will graduate in June with academic and community service honors.
  • Sheriff James Clemmons, Jr. of Rockingham as a representative of a County Sheriff Department. Clemmons was elected as the Sheriff of Richmond County in 2011. Clemmons has more than thirty-five years of experience in law enforcement.
  • James W. Speight of Wilmington representing a program providing alternatives to suspension or expulsion. Speight is the Director of Juvenile Facilities Operations for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Speight also serves on the Governor’s Crime Commission.
  • County Commissioner James West of Raleigh as an Elected Official representing general purpose local government. In addition to serving on the Wake County Commission, West is a consultant.
  • LaMon Jones of Durham as a representative of youth workers in alternative programs. Jones works at David Jones Design and is an intern/editor at Durham Voice. He has been awarded the Durham VOICE Leaders in Diversity Award and is a participating member at Partners for Youth Opportunity.
  • Dr. Lorraine C. Taylor of Durham as a representative of public agencies concerned with delinquency prevention. Dr. Taylor is the Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Institute at North Carolina Central University.
  • Michael Becketts of Durham as a representative of public agencies concerned with delinquency prevention. Becketts led Durham County’s Department of Social Services from 2012 until he became the Assistant Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in 2017.
  • Richard E. Thompson of Hickory as an at-large member. Thompson served at the North Carolina Adult Probation/Parole Department for more than 30 years. In 2014, he was appointed to the Governor’s Crime Commission-Juvenile Justice sub-committee, where he served as Co-Chair and Chair.
  • Veronica Foster of Charlotte as someone from the state or local police departments. Foster is a 27-year veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
  • Wendy C. Sotolongo of Durham as someone from a non-profit victims' advocacy organization. Sotolongo is a Parent Representation Coordinator at the Office of Indigent Services as. She has practiced law for more than 30 years specializing in abuse, neglect, and dependency court.
  • William “Billy” Lassiter of Raleigh as a person with special experience relating to learning differences, emotional difficulties, child abuse, neglect and youth violence. Lassiter is the Deputy Secretary of Juvenile Justice in the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice.