President Joe Biden will nominate Erik Hooks, state Public Safety secretary, to be FEMA’s deputy administrator, the White House announced Tuesday.
Hooks has led Public Safety, which includes the prison system, juvenile justice, the state Highway Patrol, the NC National Guard, and emergency management, since Gov. Roy Cooper’s first term. Public Safety is the state’s largest department.
Hooks was a familiar face at hurricane and COVID-19 news conferences. He announced his retirement earlier this month, to be effective Aug. 1.
Civil rights groups sued Cooper and Hooks last year for the release of incarcerated people vulnerable to COVID-19, NC Policy Watch reported. In a settlement last February, the state agreed to release 3,500 people early.
Hooks would be the second member of Cooper’s cabinet to join the Biden administration. EPA Administrator Michael Regan was the state’s secretary of Environmental Quality.
Hooks received bachelor and master’s degrees from NC State University. Before he was appointed to run Public Safety, he worked at the State Bureau of Investigation.