Story by Brian Schmid. Photos by Hal Goodtree.
Cary, NC – Gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory visited the Cary Innovation Center on Wednesday, July 11, 2012. The former Mayor of Charlotte held a roundtable discussion with local business leaders and unveiled his seven point platform for economic recovery in North Carolina.
Pat McCrory at Cary Innovation Center
Cary Innovation Center (CIC) was buzzing all day Wednesday with preparations for the business roundtable with Pat McCrory, Republican candidate for Governor of North Carolina.
For me, as a rising senior at Cary High School, this qualified as a pretty exciting day in my summer internship at CaryCitizen.com.
Sheila Ogle welcomed Mr. McCrory, 7-time Mayor of Charlotte. She talked about his background growing up in North Carolina, working for Duke Energy, and his 14 years as Mayor of Charlotte.
Mayor McCrory began by talking about the problems facing the state and gave a short discourse on his ideas to reform NC government. “Our brand has been tarnished,” McCrory told the group at Cary Innovation Center. “The brand of North Carolina has to be number one.”
Mayor McCrory articulated his seven “guiding principles” for how he would run North Carolina:
- Make government more responsive to business – McCrory said we must evolve to a customer service model with regard to business in the state.
- Eliminate duplication of rules and regs at the municipal, state and federal level.
- Healthcare – McCrory said he was “afraid for the effects on business” of the new healthcare law. “I won’t criticize the intentions” he said, but would nonetheless “work with other governors across the region and the nation to overturn the law.”
- Modernize the tax code
- Business Incentives – McCrory said he supports some incentives to lure business to North Carolina, but “we must look at the return on investment.”
- Energy – Mayor McCrory said North Carolina was “sitting on the sidelines” while the new energy economy was growing in states including Ohio and Pennsylvania. He said his energy policy was “all of the above” including on-shore and off-shore development of energy resources, solar, wind, clean coal and nuclear power.
- Transportation – “We need a 25 year plan,” McCrory told the crowd at CIC. “That’s what I did as Mayor and that’s what I’ll do as Governor.”
He also said he sees opportunities to strengthen North Carolina’s current large industries, highlighting agriculture, export, trade and the military.
Speaking with Businesses
Pat McCrory then opened the floor to his audience at CIC for questions.
One of the most interesting exchanges concerned education. He said NC education needs to be reformed and invigorated. McCrory said we have to ask ourselves “how can we do better, because there’s no new money.”
The candidate also pointed out on several occasions the dangers of our statewide “unfunded liabilities” and the threat they pose to our future.
Finally, Bill Warner of CIC asked the former mayor how the state could provide more support for small and emerging businesses. McCrory said the Governor could have a “coordinating role” in building a capital resource. “Entrepreneurs go where the capital is.”
Pat McCrory consistently used the language of business (terms like ROI and customer service), but also showed a sophistication about government based on his 14 years as mayor of the state’s largest city.
“Our competition is not just next door in South Carolina and Tennessee. It’s across the nation and around the world.”
All-in-all, it was an exciting afternoon at the Cary Innovation Center.
Brian Schmid with Pat McCrory at CIC in Cary.