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Friday January 15th

Lobbyist to advocate for 5-year plan

Andrew Moretz is a new lobbyist for UNC. He is VP of State Government Relations at University of North Carolina General Administration.
Buy Photos Andrew Moretz is a new lobbyist for UNC. He is VP of State Government Relations at University of North Carolina General Administration.

Drew Moretz understands the intersection of higher education and politics.

Moretz was recently introduced as the UNC system’s vice president for government relations at the Board of Governors meeting earlier this month. The position entails lobbying legislators at the N.C. General Assembly on behalf of universities.

And next month, when the board votes on a new five-year strategic plan, Moretz will be in Raleigh trying to secure money for it.

The new role is a familiar one for Moretz, who has worked both as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C., and a lobbyist in Raleigh on matters that pertained to education.

“My current role is to build solid relations with all legislators in order to further the mission of the university (system),” he said.

Moretz, a native of Hickory, graduated from UNC-CH, but grew up an N.C. State sports fan since his father was an alumnus.

For three years, Moretz worked in the nation’s capital as a legislative assistant for U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C. His main focus was education policy, which gave him an opportunity to work with universities in the state.

After leaving Capitol Hill, Moretz worked for the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce as vice president of governmental affairs, where he established ties with the N.C. business community while maintaining contacts in Washington, D.C.

Moretz’s experience with lobbying in Raleigh and as a congressional staffer make him uniquely qualified, said Ed McDonald, spokesman for Coble.

“He’s been on both sides — both on the staffer side and lobbyist side,” McDonald said. “He understands both roles.”

“He was very thorough in doing the research and explaining to the congressman in clear and concise English the pros and cons of a particular piece of legislation,” McDonald added.

But even after Moretz left Coble’s office, he maintained channels of communication.

“We would see him in Washington on a regular basis,” McDonald said. “He would bring people from the N.C. Chamber to lobby.”

Moretz said his time at the chamber showed him how crucial the UNC system is to economic development in the state.

“Oftentimes the first stop of a (business) looking to expand in the Wake County area was the chamber of commerce, but the next stop was N.C. State,” he said. “It’s a huge power force for economics.”

Moretz has only been in his position since Dec. 10, but UNC-system spokeswoman Joni Worthington said he has been a valuable asset.

Moretz said he was always interested in the position and is pleased to work for universities.

“I would say it was mutual feelers,” he said. “Friends knew that it was open, and I certainly expressed an interest to friends who might have some connections.”

“I always had an affinity for the university (system),” Moretz said.

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