Thursday, April 18, 2024

NC Chamber responds to Cooper, saying claims are “meritless”

The N.C. Chamber of Commerce responded Sunday to Gov. Roy Cooper’s claims on Friday that it was lobbying against Black candidates for state courts, calling it “both meritless and beneath the dignity of your office.”

In a letter to Cooper, CEO Gary Salamido wrote that “being wrongly and arrogantly lectured to by the state’s chief executive with outrageous claims of racism is enormously hurtful and dispiriting. It was a moment our team will never forget and one we trust you will not repeat.”

Cooper blamed the failure of the General Assembly to confirm Black nominees for judgeships on the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, which he says is often consulted by state legislators on such decisions.

Salamido disputed that assertion. He wrote, “We are inclusive in every respect; our people are of the highest personal and moral character. Our work is tedious and tiring, but we are honored to do it on behalf of a best-in-class group of volunteer leaders, business owners, and the people of North Carolina.”

The Chamber’s leader noted that Cooper failed to acknowledge his role in the confirmation process and circumstances why some of his nominees were not confirmed.

Salamido’s letter notes that the nominee ultimately confirmed for the Board of Review was a black female and that the board now consists of two Blacks, and that all three of the board’s members are Cooper appointees.

He also pointed that that if a nominee for the Board of Review is not acted upon by the General Assembly within 30 days, it becomes null. “It would therefore probably be wise to invest time in discussing and vetting nominees prior to lobbing their names to Jones Street,” wrote Salamido.

He also noted that of Cooper’s last six nominations to the N.C. Industrial Commission, only two were Black, and there were supported by the Chamber and confirmed. And the Chamber opposed a Cooper nomination in 2018 that was a White male.

Regarding the N.C. Business Court nominations, Salamido says the governor “ignored out concerns and submitted the nomination of an individual whose positions have conflicted directly with those taken by the business community in numerous matters over the years.”

Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at

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