Gov. Roy Cooper’s accusations that the N.C. Chamber of Commerce was lobbying against Black candidates for state courts were met with a strong rebuttal on Sunday by the organization’s CEO, Gary Salamido. In a letter to the governor, Salamido disputed Cooper’s claims, calling them “meritless and beneath the dignity of your office.”
Cooper had blamed the failure of the General Assembly to confirm Black nominees for judgeships on the N.C. Chamber of Commerce, which he claimed was often consulted by state legislators on such decisions. However, Salamido denied this assertion, stating that the chamber was inclusive and made decisions based on merit and qualifications alone.
The Chamber’s leader also pointed out that some of Cooper’s own nominees were not confirmed due to circumstances beyond their control, such as timing issues or conflicts with other appointments. Salamido noted that if a nominee for the Board of Review is not acted upon by the General Assembly within 30 days, it becomes null and advised that it would be wise to invest time in discussing and vetting nominees prior to lobbing their names to Jones Street.
Regarding Cooper’s last six nominations to the N.C. Industrial Commission, only two were Black and supported by the Chamber and confirmed. Additionally, Salamido pointed out that in 2018, his organization opposed a White male nominee for this position who was not supported by the business community due to concerns about his positions taken in matters over time.
When it came to Cooper’s nominations for the N