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10 to Watch: Brandy Cook

Brandy Cook was an assistant district attorney for Cabarrus County until she landed her dream job in November when she was elected as Rowan County’s first female district attorney.
Cook lives in Salisbury with her husband Mark Schindelholz. She is a graduate of Catawba College, and has lived in Salisbury for 13 years.
Cook ran against Karen Biernacki, a former Rowan County assistant district attorney, and won the election with 64 percent of the votes.
Roxann Vaneekhoven, district attorney for Cabarrus, expects Cook to do well in Rowan.
“Brandy has the experience and motivations necessary to transform that office to meet the demands of the decade that we are in with case load and case age, and properly prosecuting criminals,” Vaneekhoven said.
She expects Cook will be challenged, but knows she can handle the new challenges before her as district attorney.
“I think she’s got a difficult task in the sense that Bill (Kenerly) was an excellent district attorney who had been there for years and years and years,” she said. “Just like our county (Cabarrus), when it’s new, it’s suspect, so any changes she’ll want to make, she’ll have some resistance at first.
“But ultimately, if that community will give her ideas a chance, ultimately I think they’ll see they’re good for the county, good for the criminals and good for the victims.”
Vaneekhoven said she expects Cook to take what she learned in Cabarrus to guide her through the transition to Rowan.
“I fully expect ideas she implements up there will be ideas I implemented in my office, and they’ll see that it works,” she said.
Brandy Cook will be sworn-in Monday.
— Shelley Smith
Name: Brandy Cook
Age: 34
Occupation: In 10th year as a prosecutor. Elected Rowan County district attorney on Nov. 2.
Favorite Book: Novels by John Grisham.
Music: Currently, I do not have a music collection; however, my husband and I enjoy listening to jazz when we have an opportunity.
Who will you watch in 2011 and why: State government and the legislature since the district attorney’s office is directly affected by their decisions. For example, our legislature creates and modifies criminal law which impacts the public.
Reaction to making the list: Humbled by being selected as one of the top 10 and excited about the opportunity to lead the district attorney’s office.

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