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November 27, 2012

N.C. Rep. Heath Shuler takes Duke Energy job

Rep. Heath Shuler will go to work for Duke Energy, heading its federal affairs team in Washington once his term ends in January.

Rep. Heath Shuler will go to work for Duke Energy, heading its federal affairs team in Washington once his term ends in January.

Duke said Shuler, a three-term Democrat who represents North Carolina’s 15 westernmost counties, will become senior vice president of federal affairs on Jan. 4. Shuler had announced in February he wouldn’t run for another term.

The fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrat serves on the House Budget and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. He’s supported legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, promote green energy and energy efficiency.

“Heath is well known in Washington for working with leaders from both political parties and for bringing people together in his district,” Keith Trent, Duke’s executive vice president for regulated utilities, said in a statement. Shuler couldn’t be reached Monday.

Shuler will replace vice president Beverly Marshall, who had led the federal affairs team. By law, he won’t be able to directly lobby Congress for a year after his term expires.

Duke’s top federal priorities next year will include tax policies on corporate dividends, a key attraction for its investors, said spokesman Tom Williams. Duke will also be interested in resolving nuclear waste issues as it weighs building new plants and in “fracking” for natural gas, a fuel Duke has used more heavily as prices fall.

Shuler first made his name as a football player. The quarterback emerged from his native Swain County to play at the University of Tennessee, where he was voted runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, and later played for three NFL teams.

After his football career, Shuler began a real estate brokerage firm and several other real estate companies.

Reach Bruce Henderson at bhenderson@charlotteobserver.com. Twitter: @bhender

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