An anti-abortion activist has been hired as a senior policy adviser at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the latest in a string of politically charged hiring decisions made at the embattled state agency. Margaret "Mardy" Peal began work last month at an annual salary of $95,000. Records show Peal recently served on the board of the anti-abortion Carolina Pregnancy Center, a group that emphasizes Christian scripture and encourages abstinence. She was also an early organizer for the conservative Eastern North Carolina Tea Party and gave $1,250 to the 2012 campaign of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.
A great investigative reporter once said, “DOT is God’s gift to investigative reporters.” Make way for DHHS. Doesn’t anybody there realize how much political damage they are doing to Governor McCrory? Doesn’t anybody around the Governor? Or McCrory himself? He based his campaign for Governor on ending Raleigh’s “culture of corruption and cronyism” and fixing “broken government” and a “broken Medicaid system.” So you create a senior planner position paying $95,000.
Gov. Pat McCrory says the state will have an announcement with regard to the federal Affordable Care Act next week. During a news conference with reporters Wednesday, McCrory was asked about the state’s plans to reform the Medicaid health insurance system for the poor and disabled. "The immediate thing is in October the implementation, the beginning of the roll out of what is referred to as ‘Obamacare,’" McCrory said. The state, he said, was still trying to determine what the impact of the new health insurance program on individuals and businesses, he said.
Do you remember Aunt Linda, the eye-rolling Saturday Night Live character who rated movies somewhere between "Puuhleese!" and "What???"Given this latest story, I’m wondering where this ever-widening DHHS hiring saga ranks on your personal version of the Aunt Linda scale. Just to recap: There was the whole Dianna Lightfoot fiasco back in February.Then Sarah Ovaska noticed that a couple of 24-year-old McCrory campaign workers were making $85k-plus, and one of them was a "senior policy advisor."That got bounced around like a ping-pong ball and resonated, because it’s one of those easy-to-understand-microcosm-things when you’re freezing teacher salaries.Then there was this, which I still don’t quite follow, but paraphrases one of the aforementioned 24 year olds as declining "to say where the money is coming from."
Dear Governor McCrory,
I know times are tough for you right now. Your approval numbers are in free fall and your own party is overriding your vetoes. So I thought now would be a good time for a young North Carolinian to reach out and say a sincere "thanks."
Thank you for teaching me to never take my rights for granted. I used to rest on my laurels knowing that Governor Perdue would veto any bill that might remove the rights of vulnerable North Carolinians. There was no need to draft editorials and spread petitions while studying for AP exams. But because of you I know that democracy doesn’t mean anything if the people don’t participate when they see something immoral happening. Thank you for creating and engaging a new generation of southern activists. It is so inspiring to see so many young people coming out to protest. Don’t get me wrong, there have always been young activists, but it’s wonderful to see so many pre-teens having their first activist experiences at Moral Monday, all because of you.
Gov. Pat McCrory says he has full confidence in Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos despite a spate of recent stories questioning the credentials of those hired as contractors and senior administrative positions."I’m not going to get distracted into the detailed operations for which my secretaries are responsible," McCrory said Wednesday. Regarding Wos, he said, "I’ve never met a more dedicated harder working public servant in my 25 years of public service." Asked if Wos had his full support, McCrory said "absolutely."Recent DHHS hires that have been in the news have included: Margaret "Mardy" Peal, who will make $95,000 as senior planner despite having little by way of publicly verifiable public policy experience. Peal was a donor to the McCrory campaign and briefly involved in the start up of a tea party group. Joe Hauck, who records show the state health agency paid $228,000 for work done from late January through August to advise the secretary on "strategic planning. Hauck is a long-time employee of Wos’ husband. A pair of young former campaign staffers given high-paying and high-profile jobs within the department. Asked about Peal, McCrory said, "I don’t know Mardy. Well, I may have met her. I may know her, but I’m not sure if I do."
RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory said he had full confidence in state health agency leader Aldona Wos despite hiring decisions that have drawn calls for investigations and an audit.Wos and other cabinet secretaries are responsible for hiring in their agencies, McCrory told reporters Wednesday, and he cannot micromanage agency personnel decisions from his office.“I’ve given them instructions to make the best hires possible within the rules and procedures and guidelines,” he said. “They accomplish that and they continue to accomplish that. That’s why I have confidence in each of those secretaries, including Dr. Aldona Wos.”DHHS has hired a string of political donors and operatives to high-paying jobs at the agency. The latest is Margaret Peal, who is being paid $95,000 to work on new ways for the state to run Medicaid.
After three years of cajoling, finessing and occasionally strong-arming his fitful conservative majority, Speaker John A. Boehner waved the white flag on Wednesday, surrendering to demands from his right flank that he tie money to keep the government open after Sept. 30 to stripping President Obama’s health care law of any financing. Mr. Boehner knows that the plan he unveiled cannot pass the Senate, and that it may prove unwise politically and economically. His leadership team pressed just last week for an alternative. But with conservative forces uniting against him, he ultimately saw no alternative but to capitulate — and few good options to stop a government shutdown in two weeks.
The Republican Party is destroying America. Harsh words, yes. But inescapably true. It’s a bit of a murder-suicide. House Republicans’ willingness to lay waste to the country to satisfy their fringiest faction will ultimately guarantee the GOP irrelevancy as a national party, unless they change their ways. In the meantime, they seem determined to take us all down with them. There isn’t even a feint toward decency. In what has become a recurring nightmare, House Republicans are using budget negotiations to play chicken with the stability of the American economy. This time, they want President Obama to agree to defund his signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. If he refuses to strangle his own baby in the crib, Republicans are happy to retaliate. They’ll shut down the government. These are not people with whom one can work.
Everyone in Washington and on Wall Street is fixated on the potential for a government shutdown in less than two weeks.But those in power and closest to the situation say a debt default is a bigger threat. That’s the thinking at the highest levels of Congress as Washington dives headfirst into a contentious fall. Here’s the reality: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will eventually have to bring a funding bill to the House floor that keeps the government — and Obamacare — running. That’s the bill the House will most likely receive from the Senate shortly after Boehner’s chamber resumes work on Wednesday, just days short of an Oct. 1 government shutdown.
News and Observer: Randy Voller: Raleigh doesn’t know best
Like many mayors in North Carolina, I have become concerned about the continued power plays by Republicans in Raleigh to topple local control in our communities. From major metro areas to small towns, there is a clear effort to interfere with and seize our local assets. Because of Republican legislative action, small towns across the state are likely to lose access to needed financial resources for their water and sewer systems. If rural towns are unable to maintain and modernize their water systems, they may be forced to become candidates for privatization of their own assets, which could lead to higher rates, a lack of transparency and less democracy.
Larger cities usually land the annual state convention of the Democratic Women of North Carolina, but this year it’s going to the small town of Shelby.The three-day event, which opens Friday, will be held in the new state-of-the-art LeGrand Center on the campus of Cleveland Community College. It’ll be a chance to taste local foods like barbecue and livermush and also sample a homegrown musical tradition with songs penned by Cleveland County natives Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson.
About 200 women from across the state will also hear political leaders strategize ahead of the 2014 general elections. Speakers are scheduled to include Shelby native U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC.), N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.
One-stop early voting opens across North Carolina on Thursday for the counties and municipalities holding a primary or general election on Oct. 8.Anyone who missed the voter registration deadline can register to vote and then cast an absentee ballot at their county board of elections office during the early voting period, which ends on Saturday, Oct. 5.Some counties, including Wake, have alternate one-stop voting sites. Check your county’s Board of Elections website for details. Here are some of the key races for our area: Wake County: Voters will cast ballots on an $810 million school bond referendum, as well as four open seats on the Board of Education. Each of the seats is tied to a specific district and only those living in those districts will vote in that district’s race.
Huffington Post: Clintons Endorse Bill De Blasio For New York City Mayor
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have endorsed Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio for mayor of New York City. Spokesmen for the Clintons released the following statement on Wednesday: Bill de Blasio has been a friend to both President Clinton and Secretary Clinton for many years. They were proud to see him run a thoughtful, creative campaign about the issues, and they are behind him as he moves on to the general election as the Democratic nominee. De Blasio won just over 40 percent of the vote in the race’s Democratic primary on election day and officially clinched his party’s nomination when rival Bill Thompson conceded on Sept. 16. "Today, I’m proud to stand next to a great New Yorker and throw my support behind him," Thompson said. "I am proud to stand here today and support Bill de Blasio to be the next mayor of the city of New York."
Dome: Brunstetter might run for U.S. Senate
State Sen. Pete Brunstetter is considering joining the Republican fray to win his party’s nomination to run Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan next year. Brunstetter told The Associated Press that Senate leader Phil Berger – who is also considering running – asked him to think about it. Brunstetter, 57, said he wouldn’t compete against Berger. A spokesman for Berger said the Senate leader hadn’t decided yet, but if he doesn’t run he will be “supportive” of Brunstetter.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s anticipated entrance into an open-seat Senate race on Tuesday will bring the recruitment phase of next year’s competitive Senate landscape closer to its conclusion. Senate Democrats, who can afford a loss of no more than five seats in the 2014 midterms to retain a majority, are on the brink of filling the remaining few gaps on the party’s roster of candidates. With Tennant in and Lt. Gov. John Walsh potentially running in Montana, the party has just one vulnerable seat left where it is still searching for a candidate: South Dakota.
Infighting within the House GOP conference is threatening to spread to the Senate, where Republicans are now facing their own dilemma over a government shutdown. Republicans in the upper chamber must decide whether to bolster the House GOP’s standoff with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over a government funding measure. If Senate Republicans were to help Reid pass a clean stopgap spending measure, stripped of language to defund ObamaCare, they would be accused of undercutting the House. If they were to block the Senate Democrats’ version of the government funding bill, Democrats would accuse them of voting to shut down the federal government.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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