Robesonian - McCrory Stumps in Robeson
By Stephanie S. Beecher
Pat McCrory never thought that one day he would be running for governor.
That is, until the Republican candidate and Charlotte mayor grew tired of "the power elite running the state and making decisions without public discussion." McCrory says he is man to change that.
McCrory, who was campaigning in Lumberton on Wednesday, said that if he is elected he will get out among the people of North Carolina and move beyond the Raleigh Beltline where North Carolina politics has become centralized.
His campaign, which he says has gained "tremendous momentum," emphasizes the idea of "public accessibility" and the breakdown of Raleigh's "culture of secrecy." He says it is this secrecy that has resulted in what he says is the state government's poor customer service, inaccessibility, inefficiency and corruption.
McCrory spoke on several issues while in Lumberton, but he cited recruiting jobs, conserving energy and improving education as the most important.
By increasing the number of schools and colleges who offer vocational training, North Carolina can expect more jobs, he said. According to McCrory, employers have reported a lack of skillful people needed for trades, such as in mechanical and electrical work. Adding vocational training for students would give them the opportunities to fulfill these jobs, he said.
As far as admitting illegal immigrants into community colleges, McCrory said doing so makes no sense.
"Seats are taken from those who can be legally hired afterward," he said. "Why admit illegal immigrants in college if they cannot legally get a job?"
McCrory refuted suggestions that he wants to repeal the N.C. Lottery. He said he was initially opposed to the proposal, but now feels that there is too much money being made to change it. He said he only hopes the state can learn to spend the money more efficiently.
In addition to exploring alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind and nuclear power, McCrory says he supports offshore drilling "100 percent." The revenue from drilling, he said, could be used to offset budget deficits and improve state infrastructure. McCrory also believes that North Carolina's eastern shores would benefit economically from the drilling.
He said that the main issues affecting Robeson County are related to crime. But, he said, the state as a whole "needs to admit that North Carolina has a gang and drug problem. Our criminal justice system needs to take responsibility. They need to recognize a (criminal) the first time not the 20th."
He suggested hiring more police, initiating a curfew and mentoring children as additional strategies to curb crime.
McCrory has been the mayor of Charlotte for more than 12 years. He said that during that time Charlotte has added 200,000 jobs, and experienced a 20 percent population growth.
McCrory is running against Beverly Perdue, a Democrat who now serves as North Carolina's lieutenant governor, in the Nov. 4 General Election.