New NC Pre-K director quits amid questions over background
Posted February 7, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — McCrory administration appointee Dianna Lightfoot now says she will not take the job leading the state's pre-kindergarten program.
Lightfoot's appointment was announced Tuesday. But questions were raised about potential conflict of interest because she founded and headed an organization that advocated against publicly funded early childhood education programs like NC Pre-K.
On Wednesday night, Lightfoot deleted her Twitter account, in which she referred to Hillary Clinton as a "butch" and questioned whether ultrasonic waves had caused the 2011 Japan earthquake. A Facebook account that remained online referred to gay rights protesters as "bigots."
A YouTube video also emerged of Lightfoot speaking at a tea party rally in the Stokes County town of Pinnacle in September, equating the Affordable Care Act with "enslavement" and urging the audience to rise up against it.
Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Julie Henry released the following statement shortly after noon Thursday:
"Dianna Lightfoot was scheduled to start at HHS next week as Director of Child Development and Early Education. Ms. Lightfoot informed Secretary (Aldona) Wos this morning that she does not wish to be a distraction to the department and will pursue other opportunities. Secretary Wos accepted this decision."
WRAL News also has learned that Lightfoot might have voted improperly in three North Carolina elections.
State law requires voters to register at the address where they live, but elections records show Lightfoot gave the address of a UPS store in Winston-Salem as her residence.
Lightfoot hasn't responded to requests for an explanation.
Likewise, DHHS and the Governor's Office haven't explained the vetting process they used to select Lightfoot – or other job candidates. The information about her background and social media posts was easily available through a Google search.