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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory says he supports the head of North Carolina's massive health agency in her decisions to hire politically connected aides and that news reports about their backgrounds may prevent good people from taking state jobs.

McCrory said Wednesday he backs state Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos despite criticism she has surrounded herself with aides with strong Republican ties and little experience.

McCrory said he worried news reports about the backgrounds of Wos's hires might dissuade outsiders who want to join state government to shake it up, then leave after a couple of years.

News organizations reported Tuesday that Wos hired an anti-abortion activist as a senior adviser after more than a decade away from the health policy field at $95,000 annually.

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