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Kinston Free Press - Trying to Change the Status Quo

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Kinston Free Press - Trying to Change the Status Quo

McCrory back in Kinston

Charlotte mayor and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Pat McCrory swung through Kinston once again Thursday in an effort to "change the status quo."

McCrory first met with fellow Republicans at the Chef and the Farmer for a round-table meeting.

The seven-term mayor answered questions from the dozen or so men and women present and talked about his plan for the state.

He said earlier Thursday he had talked to farmers who told them they were hard hit from the energy crisis.

"It's having a tremendous negative impact," McCrory said.

Governors, McCrory said, need to take the lead in solving the energy crunch by cooperating with each other.

"Since Washington's paralyzed, why shouldn't the governors (pick up the slack)?" he said.

Part of his solution includes off-shore drilling, an issue he and his Democratic opponent Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue differ on. Perdue has said she wouldn't allow off-shore drilling if she is elected in November.

McCrory said he would take part of the millions of dollars generated by the drilling and put it back into coastal communities to help with their particular concerns, such as dredging and infrastructure.

The Charlotte mayor also noted the problems faced by law enforcement all across the state and especially in Eastern North Carolina. He said gangs are a major concern for police and sheriff's deputies, along with the state of the court system.

"Your sheriffs are overwhelmed because of a broken criminal justice system," McCrory said.

This makes it difficult to bring businesses into the state, he said, especially when there are visible signs of criminal activity, such as bars on windows.

One of the Republicans present, Vernon Hill, asked McCrory how Pitt County Memorial Hospital, in Greenville, could get more state funding for an oncology center.

"We don't have a Duke in this area," he said, citing the state's premier cancer hospital.

McCrory said different parts of the state need to concentrate on what they're good at.

"It helps the whole area when you go after your niche," he said.

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