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Sun Journal - McCrory Opposes Free Tuition, Repeats Support for Offshore Drilling

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Location: New Bern, NC

Sun Journal - McCrory Opposes Free Tuition, Repeats Support for Offshore Drilling - Sun Journal

Nikie Mayo

Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory took aim Friday at "the culture of secrecy" that he said exists in state government and promised to be a governor in touch with local officials.

McCrory spoke to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, which is holding its annual convention at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center downtown. His opponent, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, was scheduled to address the association later Friday.

"You will see me again after the election," McCrory said. "Let me repeat that. You will see me again. I'm not just coming here to campaign."

McCrory cited a recent poll by the conservative Civitas Institute, which indicates he and Perdue, the Democratic nominee, are close competitors in the race for the governor's mansion.

"I feel confident being in my opponent's region and doing so well here," he said.

McCrory said serving 12 years as the mayor of Charlotte has taught him that state government must work with local leaders.

"I will not support an effort to transfer state road responsibilities to county government," he said. "You've got enough to do."

That remark garnered an ovation from the crowd.

He said the state Department of Transportation is operating on an "if you pay, you play" strategy.

"We've got to take the politics out of DOT," he said.

McCrory said he does not favor two years of free college education for North Carolina students.

"I'm going to say something that's not politically correct. ... But let me remind you, it's not free," he said. "There's no strategic approach behind it ... and the people who will pay for it are you and me."

McCrory again spoke in favor of drilling for natural-gas reserves off North Carolina's coast, a position that he talked about during a previous trip to New Bern.

"I'm 100 percent in favor of offshore drilling," McCrory said Friday. "I learned what that means at Ragsdale High School," he said, referring to the Jamestown school where he served as student president. "That means I'm all in favor of it, no exceptions."

McCrory said he accepted the association's invitation to speak because he thinks gaining the support of local officials is vital to his gubernatorial bid.

"They are state government's bosses, not the other way around," he said. "They deserve respect."

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