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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration has hired a North Carolina native and lawyer with extensive experience on Capitol Hill to become the governor’s chief advocate before the federal government.

McCrory announced Wednesday that Virginia Johnson is his new director of federal relations. She’s served as an attorney to the House armed services and ethics committees, as well as deputy assistant secretary of defense under then-Secretary Robert Gates.

Johnson grew up in Reidsville and attended Duke and Wake Forest universities. She returned to the state about a decade ago and ran unsuccessfully for Congress, winning the 2004 Republican primary but losing to then-Democratic Rep. Brad Miller.

McCrory’s office said the director’s position had been vacant.

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