Jonathan Kappler is the Deputy Secretary for External Affairs and Chief of Staff at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, he advises the Secretary on key issues, leads special initiatives, and helps coordinate strategic efforts to improve the health and well-being of all North Carolinians. He joined the Department as Chief of Staff to then-Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and IDD, Kody Kinsley. Jonathan previously served as Executive Director of the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation (NCFREE), a nonprofit organization that provides the state’s business community nonpartisan political research and analysis.
Prior to his role at NCFREE, Kappler served as Interim Vice President of Federal Relations and Director of State Government Relations for the University of North Carolina System, where he represented the 17 institutions that comprise the University of North Carolina in business before the NC General Assembly, state agencies, the US Congress, and Federal agencies. Jonathan earned his undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Spanish, and holds a Master of Public Policy from American University's School of Public Affairs. Jonathan serves as the Co-Chair of the 2023 State Employees Combined Campaign, is a Past President of the Appalachian Alumni Association, a recipient of the Young Alumni Award from Appalachian State University, a Fall 2010 Fellow of the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership, and a member of Leadership North Carolina’s Class XXIII.