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January 15, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Anita S. Watkins, legislative counsel for the North Carolina League of Municipalities, has been named vice president for government relations of the multi-campus University of North Carolina. The appointment, effective January 26, was announced today by UNC President Erskine Bowles. Watkins will succeed Andy Willis, who recently resigned to become Governor Beverly Purdue’s senior advisor for governmental affairs.
Watkins Named Vice President for Government Relations of the University of North Carolina
In her new role, Watkins will serve as the University’s primary liaison to the North Carolina General Assembly, the Governor’s office, and state government agencies. She will also work closely with President Bowles, the UNC Board of Governors, and other senior staff to develop University policies and programs, and will lead University-wide efforts to build relationships and coalitions across all sectors of education, business, and government.
Watkins holds a law degree and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as undergraduate degrees in political science and Spanish from NC State University. After graduating from NC State in 1994, she served for three years as a research assistant in the office of NC Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, coordinating and conducting research and policy analysis for the Senate leadership. Shortly after earning her law degree and MCRP from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2000, Watkins was named senior policy analyst for the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. She represented DENR before the General Assembly and other government agencies until joining the NC League of Municipalities in 2003.
As legislative counsel to the League, Watkins has been the primary legal advisor to local elected and appointed officials on legislative issues affecting local governments. She also has been a key member of the advocacy team for legislative and regulatory matters impacting the League’s 542 member cities and has worked closely with the League’s Board of Directors to develop and promote its policy agenda.
Watkins is active in the North Carolina Bar Association and currently serves on the board of NC Professional Lobbyist Association. A member of 2008-09 class of Leadership North Carolina, she also serves on the Blount Street Advisory Commission and the YMCA Youth Legislative Program.
The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 215,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.