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Dianna Lightfoot is facing more questions, after a Winston-Salem news outlet discovered she’d registered to vote using an address of a UPS store.

Dianna Lightfoot

Dianna Lightfoot

Lightfoot, 61, of Winston-Salem, resigned yesterday morning after being appointed two days earlier by new N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos to heading the state’s pre-K and child development division. Lightfoot’s resignation (more about that here) came after comments and positions she’d taken  criticizing government-run early education programs and Tea Party-related causes surfaced. Those comments included a comment from her now-deactivated Twitter account in which she referred to women appointed in the Obama Administration as a “butch bunch.” Lightfoot Tweet

The news about the voter registration issues was first reported Thursday morning by the Camel City Dispatch, a relatively new independent, non-profit news website in Winston-Salem that found Lightfoot registered to vote in the spring of 2012 using the address of a UPS store at 353 Jonestown Road, a UPS store where Lightfoot has an address. State elections law requires that individuals use their residential, and not mailing address, when registering to vote.

Providing false or misleading information on a voter registration form can lead to a lower-level felony charge.

The news was later picked by the Winston-Salem Journal, which ran a story today that included an interview from Lightfoot’s mother who said Lightfoot had been devastated by the intense media attention this week.

DHHS has not chosen a successor to Lightfoot.

UPDATE (added since original publication): Robert Coffman, the director of elections in Forsyth County, said he will refer to matter to his three-member board, who can then ask for the state board of elections to look into the matter, or the local district attorney. Prosecution over voter registration address matters are rare, he added, and his office is waiting to see if the voter, Lightfoot, contacts them to change her voter registration to her residential address. That hasn’t happened yet.

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One of Western North Carolina’s keenest and, frequently, most biting political obervers is Jerry Williamson of the blog Watauga Watch. This week,Williamson has been taking the measure of North Carolina’s new governor as he completes his first month in office. The verdict: He is not, to say the least, overly-impressed.

“It took just three days for Pat McCrory to go from promising, young, forward-thinking Republican governor of North Carolina … to a bumbling cypher, ignored by his own Republican super-majority in the General Assembly and led into public blunders by operatives smarter than he.”

Read both of Williamson’s posts on this matter by clicking here: Part I. Part II.

 

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Adam Searing has an important op-ed today over on the main Policy Watch site about the bogus attacks leveled against the state Medicaid program last week by Governor McCrory, HHS Secretary Aldona Wos and State Auditor Beth Wood.

Critics of North Carolina’s Medicaid program – the publicly-funded health insurance program for adults and children of low income – made some headlines in recent days by touting a new state audit that supposedly showed a large and previously unreported budget deficit. The critics, who included Governor McCrory and his State Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos, claimed that Medicaid had gone $375 over budget with state dollars and more than $1 billion over budget when federal dollars are included.

At the Governor’s news conference announcing the audit, DHHS Secretary Wos, lectured the Medicaid section of her agency: “Cost overruns will not be tolerated and will not be acceptable …There’s a budget for a reason.”

Conservatives are also using this audit as a reason for the state not to expand the Medicaid program to cover a half-million uninsured people as made possible by Obamacare (even though the expansion would be financed almost completely by the federal government).

There’s just one problem with McCrory and Wos’ conclusion: It’s bogus.

Read the entire column by clicking here.

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Pat McCrory 4Any notion folks may have had that North Carolina’s new governor would be playing a leading role in crafting the state’s policy agenda this year seems to have already been partially dispelled on the first day of the 2013 legislative session.

Right out of the box, without any apparent involvement of Governor McCrory (or even a nod in his direction), Senate and House leaders have seized the initiative by introducing major, hard right proposals on such subjects as Read More

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According to Raleigh’s News & Observer,  this morning, Governor McCrory made the following rather embarrassing statements to right-wing talk show host, “morals” crusader and and high-rolling casino patron Bill Bennett:

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs.”

“If you want to take gender studies that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

He also promised to advance legislation to make higher education appropriations “not based on how many butts [are] in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs.”

He went on to say that “Right now we pay based on how many students you have, not how many jobs you are getting people into.”

This afternoon, UNC President Tom Ross issued the following classy and common sense statement in response:  Read More