Governor praises Bizzell, Hill for Kinston, Lenoir County advocacy
Gov. Roy Cooper addresses the media Tuesday at Lenoir Community College while, from left, N.C. Sen. Don Davis, N.C. Rep. George Graham, Rob Bizzell, Kinston Mayor Dontario Hardy and Stephen Hill look on. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News
Gov. Roy Cooper may have been at Lenoir Community College on Tuesday to promote his new “Finish Line Grant” program, but he took time to celebrate the efforts of two prominent Kinston businessmen.
Along with local politicians, LCC administrators and other business leaders, Rob Bizzell and Stephen Hill were on hand for the press conference at LCC. Bizzell was recently reappointed to the chairmanship of the Marine Fisheries Commission, while Hill was named in March 2017 as the chair of the N.C. Arts Council.
Cooper heaped praise on the duo, especially about their advocacy for Kinston and Lenoir County.
“Stephen Hill and Rob Bizzell have been leaders for years in Lenoir County but they’re also North Carolina leaders,” Cooper said. “They come to Raleigh, leading their various commissions and working for North Carolina. But you’ll always hear about Lenoir County – that’s the first thing that comes out of their mouths, about what is happening in Lenoir County.
“They’re strong advocates for this part of the state and I value their service.”
Bizzell, the founder of Realo Discount Drug Stores and the co-founder of Carolina Home Medical, has also served North Carolina as the president of the N.C. Pharmaceutical Association, along with several tours of duty on the Marine Fisheries Commission under previous governors Mike Easley, Bev Perdue and Pat McCrory. He was also the chairman of the Marine Fisheries Commission under Perdue and McCrory.
His first meeting back with the commission as its chairman is Wednesday.
“I’m excited to be back on the commission,” Bizzell said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need to make sure our public trust, marine and estuary resources are sustainable. That means we’re not overfishing them and that they are given the tools they need to grow and reproduce and almost be on autopilot. If we set the proper regulations and don’t have crazy environmental circumstances come along, we expect them to flourish.”
Hill is the co-founder of Mother Earth Brewing and all its entities and serves as director and vice president of Hillco, Ltd. He is also one of North Carolina’s leading advocates for art. He said he is proud to be an advocate, not only for the burgeoning art community in the Tar Heel State, but for Kinston and Lenoir County, as well.
“I travel all over the state for the Arts Council, so I’m always talking about Kinston and Lenoir County,” Hill said. “I would call myself a quiet advocate for Kinston and Lenoir County – I tell everyone to come and see what we’ve done. That works miracles right there.”