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Former Dole staffer lands job at DHHS

A lobbyist and filmmaker who made an election-night video for Gov. Pat McCrory is the new brand and marketing manager at the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Aaron Mullins, 38, started the job Sept. 4. He makes $68,000 a year.

Mullins was a legislative aide to former U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Don Nickles of Oklahoma, who was the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1996-2003. Mullins worked for the lobbying firm Fetzer Stephens in 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and started his own firm, Mullins Federal Relations, the following year.

Mullins is one of several new staff members at state agencies with political connections. Ricky Diaz, who worked on McCrory’s campaign, is a spokesman at DHHS making $85,000. Heather Jeffreys, finance director for McCrory’s campaign, has a communications job at the N.C. Department of Transportation making $58,879.

The posting for the job says DHHS was looking for someone to be the lead strategist of marketing and communications, to supervise a staff of four to six people, and work to “achieve a unified brand and devise ways to positively communicate the department’s services to various audiences.”

DHHS spokeswoman Julie Henry said Mullins will work to improve the agency’s website and expand the department’s use of video and social media to inform residents about its programs.

“Aaron is an excellent addition to our team, and we’re glad to have him help us take on these challenges,” she said in a statement.

A graduate of Liberty University in Virginia, Mullins attended a film program in Washington, D.C., and received a certificate in digital film production in 2011. With a classmate, Mullins started Rubacam Media, a company DHHS described as “a creative group specializing in branding, entertainment and video production.”

McCrory’s election night video is on the Rubacam page of a video sharing site. McCrory’s campaign reported paying Mullins $7,000 for it.

Rubacam also worked on a Web series called “Hard Fix,” which Mullins described in a 2011 Q&A with his film program as “a political thriller/action story about an Irish pub owner in Capitol Hill who, through a series of events, is hired by the city’s political power elites to sweep their dirty laundry under the rug.”

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