A Raleigh-based government relations expert has been chosen to lead North Carolina's community college system. The last president resigned after a little more than a year on the job.

Peter Hans was elected Tuesday by the state community college board, a board on which he served a six-year term starting in 1997.

Hans has been an advisor to three United States senators, including Republican Richard Burr. More recently, he chaired the UNC system's Board of Governors. Since 2016, he has served as a consultant to UNC System President Margaret Spellings.

Hans's predecessor, James Williamson, was hired away from South Carolina's technical college system. He resigned as president of the state's community college system abruptly last summer, and later claimed he was forced out. Jennifer Haygood, who previously served as chief of staff for the system, acted as interim president following his departure.

The North Carolina Community College system serves nearly 700,000 students at 58 different campuses.

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