Under the Dome

Dome: Hagan backs Hagel for Secretary of Defense

Staff writersFebruary 5, 2013 

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said Tuesday that she would support Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense.

The senator from Greensboro, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she made her decision after questioning Hagel.

“After several weeks of reviewing his qualifications, meeting with him in private, and participating in his hearing, I plan to support the nomination of Senator Hagel to become our country’s next Secretary of Defense,” she said in a statement. “During the hearing and in our meeting, Senator Hagel assured me that he would be a helpful partner in getting answers about water contamination at Camp Lejeune. He also expressed his strong support for the state of Israel, one of our most important allies, and he shared my concerns about the serious, negative consequences sequestration would have on North Carolina.”

Hagan, who is up for re-election next year, was one of five senators targeted in an ad earlier this month by Americans for a Strong Defense, a group trying to block Hagel’s nomination.

Celebrating 50 years

Gov. Pat McCrory will be back at the legislature Wednesday – this time to celebrate the building’s 50th anniversary.

Dome’s colleague, Teresa Leonard, who writes the Past Times blog, noted recently that the building’s first visitors marveled at its modern design.

Then Secretary of State Thad Eure predicted it would eventually be the show place of North Carolina, and said it would lead to “more visitors than ever before to the Legislature.”

For its part, the N&O reported that “The five copper domes atop the structure tend to give it a Far East or Oriental appearance.”

And a former scribe for the paper, Roy Parker Jr., had some suggestions for lawmakers:

“If lobbyists come at them too strong, North Carolina legislators can hide in the Schefflera.

“Irate constituents might be avoided by climbing the Florida Palms.

“A good hiding place if a controversial roll call is coming might be in the Cibotium Fern.”

Dressing for DHHS success

Dome isn’t sure whether this is part of the Republican takeover of state government or not. But on Monday state Department of Health and Human Services employees were given a departmentwide dress code for the first time.

The policy memo by Human Resources Director Kathleen Gruer informs DHHS workers, “Personal appearance and hygiene play an important role in projecting a professional image in the community and to DHHS’ customers.”

There’s also a long list of what not to wear, including provocative clothing, T-shirts, tube tops, mini-skirts, denim, underwear as outerwear, beach wear, eveningwear, hats or flip-flops.

There are a lot of employees in DHHS – about 17,000 – and they do a lot of different jobs. A spokeswoman said Tuesday the policy simply sets general guidelines for workers to use common sense.

But HQ isn’t taking it lightly. Violations can send an employee home on his or her own time to change, and can lead to two warnings and a third, fire-able offense.

State of the State gets a date

A Senate resolution introduced Monday puts the date of McCrory’s State of the State address to a joint legislative session at Feb. 18 – President’s Day. Both chambers must approve the invite. The Senate Rules Committee approved the bill Tuesday.

Staff writers Craig Jarvis, John Frank and Mary Cornatzer

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