Tom Fetzer

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Thomas Harrison Fetzer (born April 25, 1955) served three two-year terms as Mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina from December 1993 to December 1999. He was elected the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party on June 13, 2009, and served until January 15, 2011.

Early career[edit]

A graduate of Wake Forest University, Fetzer began his career in politics with appointments as Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources and Chief Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation in the administration of North Carolina Governor James G. Martin, as well as executive assistant to Senator John Porter East (both Republicans). After entering the private sector, Fetzer was a marketing executive.

Mayor of Raleigh[edit]

During Fetzer's terms as mayor, city expansion continued,coupled with lower taxes. Police substations strategically placed throughout Raleigh helped bring about a decrease in the overall crime rate. He opposed a replacement for the city's Convention and Conference Center, preferring instead a modest renovation and expansion, but was instrumental in the relocation of the Hartford Whalers to the area as the Carolina Hurricanes and the construction of the RBC Center. Fetzer's administration also oversaw recovery from Hurricane Fran.

Fetzer favored tax cuts and thought that public art was a waste of taxpayer funds as mayor.[1]

While elections in Raleigh are nonpartisan, Fetzer was the first mayor in modern times who was known to be a Republican.

Later career and political activity[edit]

After choosing not to run for a fourth term in office, Fetzer served as a teaching fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and director of the Center for Local Innovation at the John Locke Foundation.[2] He then accepted a position with the United States Tennis Association in New York City before returning to Raleigh several years later.[1] He re-engaged in state and local politics, although not as a candidate but as a political consultant.[1]

In 2009, he ran for chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.[3] He was elected chairman on June 13 on the second ballot at the party convention.[4]

Fetzer led the Republican party to victory for the first time in over 100 years in the State of North Carolina. Fetzer chose to leave the post of NCGOP Chairman five months before his term expired, and was replaced by former Congressman Robin Hayes on January 15, 2011.[5]

Fetzer became chairman for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign in North Carolina in December 2011.[6]

In January 2011, Fetzer started a governmental relations, media strategy, and survey research firm, Fetzer Strategic Partners. Fetzer was voted second most effective lobbyist in the state in 2012.

In March 2017, Fetzer was elected to the UNC Board of Governors by the N.C. Senate. [7]

Family life[edit]

On October 17, 2009, Fetzer married Kate Spina.[8] The couple has five children and reside in Wilmington, NC.

See also[edit]


Preceded by
Avery C. Upchurch
Mayor of Raleigh
December 1993– 1999
Succeeded by
Paul Coble