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The News & Observer - McCrory Promises More Access, Openness

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The News & Observer - McCrory Promises More Access, Openness

Mark Johnson, David Ingram and Ryan Teague Beckwith

Pat McCrory promises, if elected governor, to hold weekly or near-weekly news conferences and provide detailed copies of his schedule and access to his e-mail. He also said he would prohibit his staff from destroying e-mail.

Speaking to The News & Observer's editorial board, the Republican gubernatorial candidate pledged much the same kind of openness that he said he has practiced as mayor.

"I return your phone calls," he said to a group of reporters and editors Friday. "To me, that's customer service."

McCrory contrasted his promises with Gov. Mike Easley, a Democrat, who appears in public infrequently and often spends long weekends at his Southport home. Easley's public schedules include minimal information, and a group of news organizations has sued his administration for "systematic deletion, destruction or concealment of e-mail messages sent from or received by the Governor's Office."

McCrory promised regular Q&A sessions with reporters. He said he would make his e-mail available, with the exception of confidential information related to economic development projects.

"I do that as mayor," he said, referring to the Charlotte Observer's practice of regularly reviewing his e-mail.

He said state employees' work e-mail is a public record and should not be destroyed.

Munger has plan for roads

Libertarian candidate for governor Mike Munger has a decongestant prescription for North Carolina roads.

Stop shifting $170 million a year from the Highway Trust Fund, which helps pay for roads, to the rest of the state budget, Munger says.

"We don't need more taxes," he wrote via e-mail.

Both Democrat Beverly Perdue and Republican Pat McCrory agree, and the General Assembly started phasing out that annual raid on the road money this year.

Second, Munger says the state Department of Transportation has become a "retirement home for political go-fers and yes men." He wants hiring based on public service and expertise.

Lastly, Munger proposes a special road building commission that would generate an overall list of projects that the legislature could vote on but couldn't change. That way individual legislators couldn't secure pork for their district at the expense of statewide needs.

"Let's ... catch up on maintenance of those bridges and repairs on those roads, even in districts without powerful legislators," Munger said. "Those other folks pay taxes, too."

Gas crisis revisited

The gas crisis in Western North Carolina has Mike Easley thinking of the 1970s.

Long before the Democrat was elected governor, he was in law school in Durham. He drove a Ford Maverick and lived in a trailer park owned by people who also had a nearby filling station.

Like everyone else, Easley could get gas only every other day based on his license plate number.

"I'd study and peek out," he told The Charlotte Observer. "When it looked like the line was the shortest, I'd go get some."

Liberal brush strokes

The N.C. Republican Party's new mailer paints Kay Hagan as a liberal.

The mailer attacks the Democratic Senate candidate's record in the legislature over taxes and spending.

"Liberal Kay Hagan's Painful Tax Increases are a Train Wreck for North Carolina's Economy," it says above a sepia-toned picture of a train wreck.

Inside, the mailer cites Hagan's votes to increase the sales and income tax and delay a child-tax credit. It also notes that the unemployment rate has increased and manufacturing jobs have declined.

The mailer refers to her as "liberal Kay Hagan" repeatedly.

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