Under the Dome

Homeless lt. governors, next on Oprah?

Walter DaltonLt. Governor-elect Walter Dalton doesn't have a home office yet.

The state's new No. 2 doesn't know where his permanent office will be.

The lieutenant governor now works out of the 127-year-old Hawkins-Hartness house on Blount Street north of the governor's mansion, but those digs, which include a 92-foot veranda, are slated to be turned into a private home. The area around the offices, including several other historic homes, is being renovated into a ritzy neighborhood.

The state Department of Administration has not yet secured a new location for the lieutenant governor's offices, according to spokeswoman Jill Lucas.

There may not be a rush. The renovation of the house may not start for several months, giving Dalton some breathing room. The historic house, by the way, once included a backyard windmill to pump water in the years before Raleigh built a public water system. A 6,000-gallon rainwater cistern filtered drinking water for both the Hawkins-Hartness house, built in 1881, and the nearby governor's mansion, built ten years later.

Also left unanswered is whether Dalton will have an office in the capitol itself. Then-Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker was given the prime real estate of one of the building's four corner offices by then-Gov. Jim Hunt from 1993 to 2001. Gov. Mike Easley, however, booted Lt. Gov., and now-Gov.-elect, Beverly Perdue from the capitol when he took office eight years ago.

"Lt. Gov.-elect Dalton is more concerned about how he can use his office to help the people of North Carolina," said Scott Falmlen, Dalton's political consultant and a transition adviser, "than where his desk is."

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