Published 3:49 am Saturday, October 11, 2008
Promises to visit Belhaven on July 4, if he wins election
By TED STRONG
Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory said he made his first campaign promise Friday when he pledged, if elected, to attend Belhaven’s next Fourth of July parade.
He also promoted growth in the manufacturing sector, boosting public safety and creating a long-term strategic plan for N.C. Department of Transportation projects.
McCrory also pledged to help speed environmental vetting of expansion plans at PCS Phosphate’s Aurora facility, which is in what company officials hope is the final phases of a multi-year permitting process.
McCrory criticized what he called “a lack of customer service” in state government departments.
McCrory also said he wants state departments to work more efficiently with one another. Departments frequently are at loggerheads when they review each other’s projects, as when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources vets Department of Transportation expansion plans, he said.
McCrory said he has heard low-level state employees say they feel pressure to register as Democrats. He called the state’s existing government “corrupt.”
McCrory said he will look for the “best people” for appointed high-level jobs in Raleigh if he’s elected, not simply cram the halls of government with party insiders.
He said his opponent, Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue, had “embraced the mess” in Raleigh.
The state budget will likely be bleak in coming years, pruning government against its will, he said.
In order to add jobs beyond those at PCS Phosphate, North Carolina must exploit its natural advantages to lure manufacturing concerns to the state, he said.
Those natural advantages will lend different parts of the state to different types of development, but it’s all beneficial, he said.
He also said some regions must not rely solely on the tourism industry.
McCrory, the current mayor of Charlotte, said he has been working hard on to help that city’s economy in recent weeks as its largest employer, Wachovia, has been forced to sell out.
Recently, Citigroup yielded to Wells Fargo in the competition to buy up Wachovia’s banking operations, a move McCrory called good news.
More of the high-paying banking jobs Wachovia provided are likely to survive the acquisition than first expected, McCrory said.
He expressed hope the company’s investment operations — based in New York and Charlotte — will survive the current economic crisis.
McCrory cited his efforts as mayor to study the effects of illegal immigration on Charlotte’s education system, adding he would back a statewide study of the matter.
His Charlotte study convinced him illegal immigration carries many unseen costs as immigrants use local infrastructure, McCrory said.
And while he supports immigrants who have received benefits in the U.S. returning to their homelands to improve them, he believes many don’t return to their homelands, at great expense to taxpayers, he said.
He doesn’t approve of illegal immigrants attending the state’s community colleges or schools in the state’s university system. He called illegal immigrants in the university system an often-overlooked issue. He said community colleges should try to be more like technical schools and less like junior colleges.
McCrory said he would offer the federal government free land to construct facilities to house accused illegal immigrants in North Carolina as they await legal proceedings related to their status as illegal immigrants. There is no immigration detention center or immigration court in North Carolina, he said, claiming that situation puts an undue burden on county jails.