Hagan on Perdue’s decision

You may recall the two served together in the NC Senate. Another email:

GREENSBORO, N.C. — U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (NC) today commented on Governor Bev Perdue’s announcement that she would not seek re-election.

“Governor Perdue deserves the state’s sincere gratitude for her many years of public service. During times of extraordinary economic stress and budgetary pressures, she continues to vigorously pursue priorities near and dear to the hearts of generations of North Carolinians, including expanding and improving education at every level and a tireless pursuit of new businesses and jobs for the state.

“I am especially heartened to hear she will devote her remaining time in office fighting to ensure that the children of North Carolina receive the affordable, quality education mandated by our state constitution.

“The Governor’s office plays an important role in resisting those in Raleigh who wish to abandon North Carolina’s well-earned reputation as a state with its eyes firmly and pragmatically on the future. Whether the issue is access to the ballot box; a commonsense jobs-creating business climate; robust support for our military and veterans and their families; or the guarantee of a first-rate education, the Governor’s office often provides a critical moderating counterweight to the backward-looking forces of extremism elsewhere in state government. North Carolinians will surely keep this in mind as they choose the next governor in November.”

Hagan answers the call

Politico gives Kay Hagan props for taking phone calls as promised:

Kay Hagan picks up the phone

In what was a brave undertaking – and a lovely photo op – the North Carolina Democrat kept her word and answered the phones in her Washington office for about an hour and a half.

Kay, ya blew it

Really, you did.
You disappointed a lot of people who supported you in a way that they’re not likely to ever forgive. This was a vote on principle and you picked politics.
You’re on the wrong side of history. And you know it.

Another hurdle cleared for 4th Circuit nominees

This from Kay Hagan

Judges Jim Wynn and Al Diaz were both approved by the Judiciary Committee today — with the overwhelming support of both Democrats and Republicans. North Carolina’s nominees for the 4th Circuit have for far too long been held up by petty, partisan politics. North Carolina, the largest state within the 4th Circuit, has been underrepresented for the court’s entire 118-year history. When I came to Washington, I made the case directly to the President that North Carolina deserved more than one seat on the 4th Circuit, and the White House listened. Today, fair representation for our state is one step closer to a reality. I will work with my colleagues to ensure Judges Diaz and Wynn receive a vote in the full Senate as soon as possible.”

BCBSNC Blowback

A sizable number of legislators are asking for a probe of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s efforts against the public option.

As a corporation that claims to deliver innovative health care products and services to its members, BlueCross BlueShield appears to be engaging in a blatant political campaign utilizing the premiums paid by their customers. Even if there is no apparent violation of existing statutes, we think this is bad public policy that deserves further scrutiny.

In addition to mailings and robo calls, you may remember this WaPo story on a planned TV campaign.
Talking Points Memo gets confirmation of an inquiry.

But the probe the lawmakers are calling for appears to be underway already. “We received an inquiry from the AG’s office a couple weeks ago,” about whether the campaign violated laws, Lew Borman, a spokesman for BCBS of North Carolina, told TPMmuckraker. “We don’t believe we broke any laws,” Borman added.

Facing South has a wrap up and some backstory.

Text of the letter after the jump Read more

Hagan announces recs for federal positions

Lots of familiar names on the list of Kay Hagan’s recommendations for federal appointments for NC including Jim Phillips and Hampton Dellinger. Here’s the release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) today announced recommendations to President Obama for key federal appointments in North Carolina’s three federal districts. In a letter to the President, Hagan made recommendations for two federal district court judgeships, three U.S. Attorney and three U.S. Marshall positions. The full text of Senator Hagan’s letter is available here.

“In March, I convened a four-person, statewide panel, led by former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Burley Mitchell, to screen candidates for these federal appointments,” Hagan said. “My primary objective has been to find the most qualified, competent and fair-minded candidates, of whom all North Carolinians will be proud. I am proud to make these recommendations to the President, and will be in close consultation with the White house as the confirmation process moves forward.”

Senator Hagan has also pledged to ensure that North Carolina receives appropriate representation on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In addition to Justice Mitchell, the screening panel included Janice McKenzie Cole, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District and founder of the Cole Immigration Law Center in Hertford; Anthony di Santi of western North Carolina, the vice-president of the North Carolina State Bar and founding partner at di Santi, Watson, Capua & Wilson in Boone; and Jim Phillips of central North Carolina, a partner at the law firm Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard in Greensboro.

“Our committee chose a group of exceptionally qualified North Carolinians, and Senator Hagan made excellent selections from this group,” Justice Mitchell said. “The President cannot go wrong. Senator Hagan’s careful method of choosing these appointments, relying on our committee to do the initial vetting and then making the final selections, should be a model to other Senators.”

”I am happy to have had the opportunity to serve and honored Senator Hagan asked me to participate,” McKenzie Cole said. “I support how she has opened the process to allow all individuals interested in these positions to be considered. As a result of the panel’s screening and Senator Hagan’s final review, I believe the White House has been provided an esteemed list of candidates from which to make their final decisions.”

“I commend Senator Hagan for deciding upon the process she used to select candidates to recommend to President Obama,” di Santi said. “The process was very fair and open to any candidate who was interested in a position. I was honored to serve on the committee and pleased that Senator Hagan considered our recommendations. I think she has done excellent work and the state of North Carolina can be proud of her efforts.”

“The manner with which Senator Hagan opened up the process made many more North Carolinians aware of and interested in these positions,” Phillips said. “I am confident that the White House will find Senator Hagan’s recommendations to be highly qualified and well suited to successfully represent North Carolina.”

Hagan recommended the following individuals to serve North Carolina. The President will make the final selection from Senator Hagan’s choices.

U.S. District Court Judge Eastern District: Allen Cobb, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Hanover and Pender counties; Jennifer May-Parker, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District handing criminal appellate cases; and Quentin Sumner, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in Nash County.

U.S. District Court Judge Middle District: Catherine Eagles, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in Guilford County; Anita Earls, executive director for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham, who this week was named to the North Carolina State Board of Elections; and Edwin Wilson, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in Rockingham County.

As stated in Senator Hagan’s letter to the President: “As I have previously discussed with the Office of the White House Counsel, it is my belief that the current U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, George Holding, should be allowed to complete the ongoing investigations of public officials in the state. During my conversations with the Office of the White House Counsel, there was an interest expressed by the Counsel’s office to potentially appoint a separate individual to begin handling other matters not related to these investigations. Should you decide to do so, the following names are provided for your consideration.” Sen. Hagan made the following three U.S. Attorney selections for the Eastern District in the event the President chooses to select another U.S. attorney for all other matters not pertaining to Holding’s current investigations of former public officials.

U.S. Attorney Eastern District: Benjamin David, District Attorney for New Hanover and Pender counties; Hampton Dellinger, a partner in the law firm of Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson who has experience working with local, state and federal law enforcement; and Thomas Walker, a partner at Alston and Bird, LLP, concentrating on complex federal and state government investigations and white-collar defense.

U.S. Attorney Middle District: Lee Farmer, the Member-Manager for the law offices of R. Lee Farmer, who has an extensive background in civil litigation and the general practice of law; Ripley Rand, Special Superior Court Judge in Wake County; and Susan Taylor, Resident Superior Court Judge in District 20A and 20B.

U.S. Attorney Western District: Peter Anderson, a partner at Anderson Terpening, PLLC, who specializes in federal criminal defense, complex commercial litigation and corporate compliance counseling; Danny Davis, Chief District Court Judge for the 30th Judicial District; and Anne Tompkins, a partner at Alston and Bird, who served in 2004 and 2005 as one of four Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the initial Iraqi Regime Crimes Liaison Office in Baghdad, Iraq.

U.S. Marshal Eastern District: Richard Holden, who worked for the North Carolina Highway Patrol from 1969 to 2004, rising to become Colonel, Commander; Scott Parker, Commander of Nash County Sheriff’s Office of Narcotics; and Bronnie Quinn, Private Investigator specializing in civil cases for litigation at the law firm of Riddle & Brantley in Goldsboro.

U.S. Marshal Middle District: W.R. Stafford, who after 29 years of service, retired in 2004 as the Assistant Chief of Police of the Greensboro Police Department; Al Stewart, who as Contingent Commander of the U.S. Department of State in Beirut, Lebanon, helped establish a new Police Mission for the Lebanese Police in 2007 and 2008; and Becky Wallace, who served as U.S. Marshal for the Middle District from 1994 to 2003, overseeing 1,600 arrests in 1994 alone, and continues to serve as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff in Montgomery County.

U.S. Marshal Western District: John McDevitt, Sheriff of Burke County and 30-year law enforcement veteran; Kelly Nesbit, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal in the Western District; and Charles Peeler, Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Middle District, a position he has served in for 19 years.

U.S. Department of Agriculture positions in North Carolina

Senator Hagan also today announced her selections for Department of Agriculture positions in North Carolina. Her letter to President Obama is available here.

“I am confident that these individuals would bring the same passion and commitment to these positions as they have brought to their many years of public service in my home state of North Carolina,” Hagan wrote to the President.

For the USDA Rural Development State Director, she recommended William Hobbs, who worked for 20 years for the USDA Farmers Home Administration and is now the Director of the Multi Family Housing Programs at the USDA Rural Development; and Randall Gore, who has been working in rural development in North Carolina for 20 years, currently serving as Area Director for USDA Rural Development.

For the USDA Farm Services Agency State Director, she recommended Philip Farland, a Marketing and Outreach Specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture; and Walter Smith, who has served as a County Executive Director for the USDA Farm Services Agency since 1979.

MoveOn ads on Health Care

Word via TPM that MoveOn is going to take on Sen. Kay Hagan over the public option. I spoke with some folks in the Senator’s office yesterday and they explained that she could support a public option but is unwilling to commit to doing so until she sees what the plan looks like.
This will likely unfold over the next couple of weeks. Until then, expect a good deal of heat and, perhaps, some light.
Here’s an example of the ads MoveOn has been running in its health care campaign. This one aimed at influencing Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Hagan’s challenge

Editorial from this week’s paper:

About 16 years ago, the state of Florida passed health care reforms that promised at least a beginning for universal coverage offering both public and private options. Pushing through those reforms, which were touted at the time as a possible model for national reform, was Gov. Lawton Chiles.

Chiles grew up in agri-industrial Polk County, Fla., and he knew that those who toiled in the phosphate mines, orange groves and processing plants were not getting a fair shake in many ways, and in particular in access to quality health care.

As governor, he also was dealing with an aging population, exploding demand and soaring costs. Sound familiar? Like other states that passed similar changes, Chiles’ efforts in Florida were seen as a precursor to much more sweeping reform at the national level.

Fast forward to now, and we’re still waiting for that new-and-improved health care system. Meanwhile, the one we’re forced to live with is eating us alive.

The sticking point at this moment in history is the so-called public option. This debate is not new. It has lasted generations. Harry Truman first proposed a public option on his watch, but it wasn’t until Lyndon Johnson was able to pass Medicaid and Medicare over howling objections of “socialized medicine” that the promise started to become a reality.

As you may have noticed lately, the debate is hardly over, and if he were still around it might be interesting to hear from Walkin’ Lawton his thoughts on how his niece, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, is handling the issue.

Reports from our nation’s capital contend that Hagan is one of two Democratic senators on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (that’s right – HELP) blocking consideration of a public option in the latest health reform legislation. Blocking, as in the HELP committee’s Democratic leadership is so worried that Hagan will vote against the public option in committee that they’re reluctant to raise it and see it voted down.

The public option, as reported elsewhere on this page and in other media sources, is a check on the spiraling costs of the industry and a lower-cost option to help many of those now uninsured into a plan. In a replay of the battles from a generation ago, the scare tactics being employed warn that the latest attempt at health care reform is a government takeover of the industry and that rationing and scary, sterile waiting rooms with bureaucrats and ominous, foreboding music await us all.

Those tactics worked in the past and have prevented meaningful reform. Now, with 47 million Americans uninsured, costs spiraling out of sight and a broken, unequal system, the same old pitch is being heard. And that message is greased with millions in PAC cash.
To Hagan’s credit, she is not among the senators positively dripping in health care PAC money and reluctant to vote against the industry’s wishes as a result. That’s cold comfort though, as she does appear willing to vote with that industry and against the interests of the people who sent her to Washington.

Last year on the campaign trail, Hagan was unequivocal about the need for comprehensive change in our health care system. That helped win her the vote of 2,249,311 North Carolinians.

She was victorious in part because her views on health care appeared to differ dramatically from those of Sen. Elizabeth Dole. Now that real change is on the table, that difference is becoming harder to see. And daylight is growing more visible between Hagan and that son of the Florida heartland with whom she fondly claims kinship.