Senator Fred Smith hosts 77th county barbecue

Published 2:36 am Monday, January 28, 2008

By Staff
Meets with clergy, local officials
Special to the Daily News
On the way to his 77th barbecue N.C. Senator Fred Smith, R-Johnston and Republican candidate for governor, said he wasn’t going to be “one of those candidates that’s only on TV.”
Smith vowed at the start of his campaign to hold a barbecue in each of the state’s 100 counties. This was his Beaufort County stop, hosting a pig pickin’ Sunday afternoon at Washington High School.
Smith had a full day in Beaufort County, meeting local clergy and elected officials, followed by a private fundraiser and the public barbecue.
The barbecue was attended by more than 90 citizens and local politicos, including county commissioners Stan Deatherage and Hood Richardson, Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal, Greg Dority, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, and Joe McLaughlin and Dean Stephens, both candidates for Congress.
Smith opened his talk to the barbecue attendees telling them a political campaign “ought to be a conversation with the people.
Smith said he believes residents are disappointed with the state’s educational process that North Carolina has “gone from a good road state to a poor road state” and that it has the “highest tax rate in the southeast United States.”
Smith proposed a $4 billion good-road/safe-bridge bond to be distributed per capita — approximately $400 per N.C. resident — to counties to build infrastructure. He said it can be accomplished without raising taxes if the transfer of funds from the highway trust fund to the general fund is stopped.
Smith called for equipping sheriffs and police departments to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration; for accessible and affordable health care and relief from the costly practice of defensive medicine by physicians; for a constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between one man and one woman; and for the protection of private property rights and the limit of eminent domain.
Jessica’s Laws punish sex offenders — especially those who offend against children. One such law introduced in last year’s session of the General Assembly failed to pass.
Smith said informal polls at his barbecues have shown that the number-one thing people are concerned about is honest government. “They want us to execute with integrity,” he said.
Smith has carried his personal motto: “The difference between good and great is little extra effort,” routed on a wooden plaque, with him for 50 years.