CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Citing North Carolina’s weak high school graduation rate, high unemployment and $2.8 billion debt to the federal government for unemployment benefits, GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory said Monday the state needs to rebrand for the future.
“We need a new vision for North Carolina right now,” said McCrory in a speech to about 200 Charlotte Chamber members meeting at UNC Charlotte Center City.
“Our brand is great, but we’ve lost a little bit of our luster, especially since we’re now the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country,” said McCrory. “…We’re better than that. We can do it together as a team.”
Referencing his 14 years as Charlotte’s mayor, McCrory said as governor he’d create a long-term economic development plan for the state – a strategy similar to what he did as mayor, he said.
“It is the private sector that’s going to get us out of this recession,” McCrory said.
McCrory did not mention his opponent, Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who spoke to chamber members earlier this month. In that speech, Dalton cited comments by McCrory suggesting community colleges should focus on technical training; McCrory has said Dalton misrepresents his stance on that.
In his own talk, McCrory spoke of the need for education reform, noting one in five students are not graduating from high school, and 60 percent of graduates need remedial math and English when they enter community colleges.
“This is my backyard. This is my home. We did not succeed here in my home back in ’08. We will in ’12.”
Said Schorr Johnson, communications director for the Dalton campaign: “Pat McCrory lost Charlotte and the state of North Carolina in 2008 because his ideas were wrong then, and they’re worse now.”