McCrory reaffirms positions on unemployment, health care

Gov. Pat McCrory at the Emerging Issues Forum

Gov. Pat McCrory reaffirmed his positions on unemployment insurance and health care reform at the Emerging Issues Forum Tuesday.

McCrory said North Carolina would not expand its Medicaid system because “the system is broken,” he said. He also said North Carolina would join a federal health exchange as part of health care reform.

“Health care reform is the law of the land,” McCrory said. “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. There’s some misinformation out there that we can overturn health care reform. We will implement it.”

On unemployment, McCrory said he supported cutting back unemployment insurance and to start paying back the $2.8 billion federal loan for unemployment benefits. He said when he took office, he wouldn’t run state government on a credit card.

“I’m going to pay off that credit card,” he said.

The Senate took up unemployment insurance reform Tuesday, after the House approved it last week.

McCrory also said he would join Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and SC Gov. Nikki Haley on an outer continental shelf governor’s coalition to explore off-shore energy exploration. He said North Carolina needs to get into the energy exploration business in an effort to create jobs.

This comes on the heels of a new bill introduced in the Senate that would allow fracking permits to be issued starting in 2015.

Also at the forum, McCrory said the Commerce Department would hire a new assistant secretary of manufacturing. This new position will be the point person to work with North Carolina’s manufacturers, McCrory said, and help attract new industry to the state.

Watch the full speech here.

Lightfoot resignation brings questions of appointee vetting

Dianna Lightfoot

RALEIGH — The state director of child development and early education is stepping down only two days after she was appointed.

Diana Lightfoot was schedule to begin work next week in Raleigh. Her duties would include overseeing pre-kindergarten programs. She came under fire earlier this week over her past position as president of the national physicians center for family resources, an organization that opposes pre-kindergarten programs.

Lightfoot also received criticism over posts to her twitter account that some labeled offensive.

In a statement released Thursday, Lightfoot said she is stepping down to avoid becoming a distraction to the department.

Meanwhile, others raise questions about what type of vetting process political leaders are using.

Read more from Senior Political Reporter Loretta Boniti here.

Gov. McCrory addresses mismanagement of Medicaid funds

RALEIGH — A new Medicaid audit report reveals some disturbing news for taxpayers across the state. That’s what came out of Thursday’s news conference from Gov. Pat McCrory, N.C. Auditor Beth Wood, Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos and Medical Assistance Director Darol Steckel.

McCrory and Wood are calling for complete reform of the state’s Medicaid system. Wood said the audit’s findings include a lack of cost accountability and unplanned spending.

“This is taxpayer money,” said McCrory. “Every dollar that was mismanaged at DHHS for Medicaid is $1 less that is available for medical services, education or things like road and bridge repair.”

Medicaid provides medical care for about 1.5 million North Carolinians with low-incomes or disabilities.

Read more about this story here.

Educators react to McCrory’s comments about funding for education

GREENSBORO — Some educators are reacting to comments made by Gov. Pat McCrory.

On Tuesday, on a radio show hosted by Bill Bennett, the education secretary under Ronald Reagan, McCrory said he was frustrated about how higher education is funded and that he’s instructed his staff to draft legislation that would allocate money based on job creation rather than student population.

He also said the state’s universities shouldn’t focus as much on liberal arts.

Read the full story here.