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The Wilson Times - GOP Candidates Stump in Wilson

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The Wilson Times - GOP Candidates Stump in Wilson

Janet Conner-Knox

Close to 100 people came out Saturday for the opening of the local Republican Party Headquarters, located at 2404 Medical Park Drive.

But the real excitement was that the candidates running for two of the most powerful seats in North Carolina were on hand to shake hands and talk one-on-one with Wilson residents.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, who is running for re-election, and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who is running for governor, excited the crowd as they talked about the economy, and a way to bring jobs to eastern North Carolina.

Dole said while she is happy with the energy Gov. Sarah Palin has put into the Republican Party, she wants people to know about her record in the Senate.

She said as she travels around the state she is listening to people and helping them with individual problems, not waiting on people to come to her. Dole said she keeps a staff member with her at all times to write down the problems in detail, and then help citizens with breaking through red tape. Dole said she has been able to assist thousands of North Carolinians in the five years she has served.

"It's the joy of working in the Senate, to try and open doors for people," she said.

Dole said she is working on a plan to help law enforcement, through technology, know if an illegal immigrant has committed a crime somewhere else in the state. She said North Carolina is the only state in America that has a statewide plan.

Dole said she is extremely sensitive to the eastern part of the state and helping this region build industry and get grants to help generate economic growth here.

Dole said she is favor of offshore drilling and believes it will help the whole economy, particularly in North Carolina.

McCrory told the crowd that it's going to take a mayor's attitude in the governor's office, and he said he has big changes in mind for the state if he is elected governor.

He said the state needs someone who will get out of the mansion and outside of the beltline and into communities like Wilson to talk to the people of North Carolina.

"We need to change the power elite that controls Raleigh," said McCrory. "The power elite has implemented a mental health system that has been disastrous for the whole state. They build roads not where they are needed, but that just happen to be where powerful politicians live."

McCrory said under the present administration, the criminal justice system is broken. He said sheriff's departments and police do their job by arresting criminals, but the state does not do its job keeping criminals behind bars.

"We have a power elite that has been involved in corruption," said McCrory. "A culture of corruption and arrogance has got to change."

McCrory said his plans include changes in the way mental health is run.

McCrory said the way state mental hospitals are run is not acceptable and said he is concerned about mental health patients and where they will go when the hospitals are closed down.

"Those people will end up in the emergency rooms of Wilson, and in the jails of Wilson, and on the streets" he said.

To fix that problem, McCrory said he plans to develop a strategy to get good mental health workers, because he said there is a shortage. He also said he would not close Dorthea Dix Hospital, as it is planned now.

"To close that hospital and reduce the number of available beds would be a disaster," he said.

McCrory also criticized the work of his opponent, Beverly Perdue, in health care.

"Where has she been for eight years while people are dying and being turned down in emergency rooms, including right here in Wilson."

McCrory said as he travels around the state, the topic most people are coming to him about is the economy, and energy prices. McCrory said he wants North Carolina to play a leadership role in an energy solution, and he will immediately implement offshore drilling for natural gas and oil.

He said offshore drilling could create new jobs in Wilson and that the energy business is one of the best ways to create jobs in eastern North Carolina.

Hilda Parker, who is a business person in Wilson, said although she has been loyal to the Democratic Party, Republicans are saying what she wants to hear. She said she plans to continue listening to all of the issues, but that so far, Republicans are saying what she needs for her to cast her vote their way.

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