Cooper Takes Office As Governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has taken his oath of office minutes after midnight Sunday to get an early start amid bitter partisan politics.
The Democrat was sworn in as the state's 75th governor nearly a week before his public inauguration ceremony. A small group of family, friends and colleagues joined him.
State Chief Justice Mark Martin administered the oath in the short ceremony not far from where revelers gathered in downtown Raleigh to celebrate the new year.
A Cooper aide has said the governor wants to get started on gubernatorial duties following a transition period shortened by a protracted debate over vote-counting in his close race with outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
The state's GOP-controlled Legislature passed new laws during December special sessions that will limit Cooper's power.
Before leaving office, McCrory placed some of his lieutenants into influential posts where they'll continue shaping North Carolina's future.
McCrory announced late Friday his latest appointments include his top assistant, key legal adviser, former budget director and a physician who helped decide to reverse well-water warnings for neighbors of coal-ash dumps.
Dr. Randall Williams is an obstetrician who became deputy secretary of McCrory's health and human services department. McCrory named him to the state Oil and Gas Commission, which will oversee any future drilling of underground fossil fuels.
McCrory also named chief legal adviser Bob Stephens to the state community colleges oversight board. McCrory's chief of staff Thomas Stith and former state budget director Lee Roberts are joining an economic development body distributing $1 billion paid by cigarette companies.
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