Jack Cozort

One of North Carolina’s top government affairs professionals. A former judge, Jack has extensive experience representing clients before the North Carolina General Assembly and the US Congress, as well as federal and state boards and agencies.

He is frequently ranked among the most effective and influential lobbyists in North Carolina.

After completing his education at N. C. State and Wake Forest Law School, Jack worked for the State of North Carolina as Associate Attorney General and Counsel to Governor Jim Hunt. He served as Judge of the N. C. Court of Appeals for over 12 years and was Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. He was a partner at Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein and of counsel at Womble Carlyle before establishing Cozort Government Relations in 2010.

Jack has served on the N. C. State University Board of Trustees and on the Wake Forest University School of Law Board of Visitors.  He is counsel, secretary-treasurer, board member, and executive committee member of the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation, a research and analysis organization for the business community.

Jack lives in Raleigh with his wife, Kathy.

Contact Jack.


Ashley Perkinson

Ashley Matlock Perkinson’s long-lasting attorney-client relationships are rooted in open communication, team mentality and a sincere commitment to advancing each client’s mission. Ashley represents statewide and national organizations as a lawyer and lobbyist.

Ashley’s interest in government and policy began during her service as a legislative aide to then Speaker Harold Brubaker and Majority Leader Leo Daughtry. She also served as a West Wing Press Office intern to President Bill Clinton and Congressional intern to Representative Howard Coble.

Ashley currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Symphony, as vice chair of Community Workforce Solutions, and as a member of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Board. She is also the former president of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Wake County, chair of the Distinguished Guests Committee of the Junior League of Raleigh’s 2013 Inaugural Ball, secretary of the Wake County Bar Association, co-chair of the Wake County Bar Association Bylaws Committee, and legislative chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Constitutional Rights and Responsibilities Section. In 2011, Ashley was named by Triangle Business Journal as one of the Triangle’s 40 Under 40. She was also awarded the Wake County Bar Association’s President’s Award for service to the Bar.

Ashley is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and School of Law. Ashley completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program in 2007 and received her Duke Nonprofit Management Certificate in 2010.

A North Carolina native, Ashley resides in Raleigh with her husband, Sterling, and her daughters, Tess and Margot.

Contact Ashley.


Jackson Cozort

Jackson has been involved in North Carolina politics for over 10 years and has volunteered for many local and national campaigns.

Jackson graduated from Wake Forest University in 2008 with a degree in communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Organizational Rhetoric. Before joining North State Strategies in 2012, Jackson worked in Charlotte, North Carolina as a business manager and a marketing and sales manager.

While in Charlotte, Jackson was a frequent performer at music venues, primarily in the NoDa arts district of the Queen City.  He now makes his home in Raleigh.

Contact Jackson.


Gene Ainsworth

With more than 30 years experience as a government affairs professional, Gene Ainsworth brings a solid background of government service, corporate experience and lobbying
expertise to assist clients in North Carolina.

Gene spent much of his career at RJ Reynolds where he served as Vice President and Senior Vice President of government affairs. During his 26 years at RJR, he served on several management committees and represented the company with state and national trade associations.

Since retiring from RJ Reynolds, Gene has established an active North Carolina government relations and consulting practice. He represents a number of national clients before legislative, executive and regulatory agencies in Raleigh and Washington, DC.

Gene started his career as Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Sonny Montgomery (D-MS) and later served as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. He was a founding member of the Washington, DC government affairs firm of Timmons & Co. before joining RJ Reynolds.

Gene lives in Winston-Salem with his wife Joy. He served for several years as a trustee of his alma mater, Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.

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