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Sen. Pete Brunstetter to leave General Assembly

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N.C. Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — N.C. Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, is leaving the N.C. General Assembly next month for a top position at Novant Health.

Brunstetter announced today he is retiring from the N.C. Senate on Dec. 15. Shortly afterward, Novant announced it had hired Brunstetter as its new executive vice president and chief legal counsel.

Brunstetter was not immediately available for comment, but in a statement praised Novant for being “committed to its communities and to its patients.”

“I’m excited to rejoin the organization at a time when it is accelerating its focus and commitment to making health care remarkable,” Brunstetter said. “With an eye to the future, Novant Health is one of the most innovative and exciting health care companies in the country ensuring at all times that the patient remains at the center of health care.”

Brunstetter replaces Larry McGee, who recently retired from Novant.

Novant’s president and chief executive, Carl S. Armato, issued a statement suggesting that Novant considers the timing right to hire Brunstetter.

“Pete comes to Novant Health at a time when the health care industry is facing unprecedented change and challenge,” Armato said. “His knowledge of our organization and the regulatory environment will be a great asset to Novant Health.”

Brunstetter was appointed to the board of trustees when Novant Health was formed in 1997 and continued to serve in various capacities for the board for the next 10 years. He was chairman of the board for three years.

Novant operates in four states and has 24,000 employees, including 1,100 doctors at more than 450 locations. Novant operates 14 medical centers and three hospitals, along with hundreds of outpatient centers and clinics.

Brunstetter’s announcement that he was resigning included a statement from Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, in which Berger praised Brunstetter’s “leadership and budgetary expertise.”

“As a champion of small business, Pete had a tremendous impact on reforming our state’s onerous regulatory environment and malpractice laws,” Berger said. “He is a close friend and trusted adviser, and I know I speak for my colleagues — and his constituents — in thanking him for many years of service. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

In September Brunstetter had ruled out a run against U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., saying he didn’t want to engage in a 15-month campaign for the job.

Brunstetter is considered one of the most influential members of the N.C. Senate. His ranking for effectiveness among North Carolina lawmakers went from 22 to 4 among Senate members in 2011, following the Republican takeover of the General Assembly in 2010.

An attorney, Brunstetter was appointed to the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners in 1991 and was elected thereafter until his 2006 appointment to the N.C. Senate to serve out the term of the late Sen. Ham Horton.

By Wesley Young/Winston-Salem Journal

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