North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory was selected by national Republican leaders to give this week's GOP response to President Barack Obama's weekly radio address.
Party leaders often use the weekly response to give national exposure to up-and-coming politicians, from governors to members of Congress. Last week's address was offered by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-PA.
Before McCrory, the last governor selected to offer the response was Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, one month ago.
For governors, the address is generally less a response to the president's speech than an opportunity to plug their own programs. McCrory followed that model, touting his efforts to reform education, create jobs, and improve customer service in North Carolina.
In his address, McCrory called on the president to approve his waiver requests required for his push to privatize Medicaid:
"I hope the President – and I urge the President – to approve this unconventional, but common sense reform, so we can take care of our Medicaid patients in a caring, comprehensive manner while at the same time reducing costs to the taxpayer."
And he also asked the president to take action to allow exploration and drilling off the state's coast:
"In February, I asked President Obama directly to expand offshore leasing off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. He told me the issue needs more study. With all due respect Mr. President – the time for study is over. It’s time to get off the sidelines and allow the states to exert the leadership that will create thousands of jobs – reduce America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil and protect the environment. States must be empowered to decide what’s in the best interest of their citizens and the environment in which they live."
Geologists say it's highly unlikely that there are any significant oil deposits off North Carolina's coast, although there could be some natural gas.
Other North Carolina Republicans tapped to give the weekly GOP address include Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (NC-2) in 2011, and Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Sue Myrick (NC-12) in 2009.
The complete transcript of McCrory's address is below:
“Hello, I’m Pat McCrory, Governor of North Carolina.
“Like you, when I look to Washington, I see entrenched gridlock and an immediate need for executive leadership. Fortunately, Washington bears no resemblance to states where strong Republican governors are using their leadership skills to improve the daily lives of their citizens
“For example, here in North Carolina, we’re concentrating on reforms in three fundamental areas: the economy, education and efficiency.
“Since the day I took office in January, putting people back to work has been our top priority. Because of a stagnant national economy and ineffective policies of the past, private sector job growth has been at a standstill.
“To get job creation moving again, we launched the ‘Partnership for Prosperity’ initiative which will provide a central point of contact for business. The private sector’s ground-floor involvement is critical to this new venture. Their expertise will allow us to cut red tape and respond quickly and effectively to the needs of job creators so more North Carolinians can get back on the payroll.
“But getting businesses to open and expand is only half the job. That’s where education comes in. Employers need job-ready workers who have the technical and critical thinking skills that are mandatory in today’s workplace. Too often, employers tell me they can’t find enough qualified applicants. To close what I call, the skills gap, my budget prioritizes engineering, vocational and technical training—areas where there is immediate demand for qualified workers.
“I’ve been asked how we can start new initiatives without asking the taxpayers for more money. The answer is efficiency. Here’s what I mean. Today’s smartphones are much more efficient and cost effective than earlier models of mobile phones. There is no reason why government can’t be as customer friendly and cost effective as a smartphone. Ultimately, interacting with government should be as easy as checking the latest scores on the internet or shopping online.
“Unfortunately, there are only so many innovations the states can create on their own. In issues such as health care and energy, we need Washington to grant us independence and flexibility.
“For instance, we’re working on an innovative reform for Medicaid. It centers on the patient’s wellbeing—not just their physical needs. Mental health, substance abuse and other social service needs will also be covered so that we can get patients healthier sooner and away from emergency rooms, where the most expensive form of health care is delivered.
“To implement this holistic approach, we’ll need a waiver, or essentially permission from the White House. I hope the President – and I urge the President – to approve this unconventional, but common sense reform, so we can take care of our Medicaid patients in a caring, comprehensive manner while at the same time reducing costs to the taxpayer.
“The President also needs to grant governors the ability to develop energy resources on our lands and off our shores. In February, I asked President Obama directly to expand offshore leasing off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. He told me the issue needs more study. With all due respect Mr. President—the time for study is over. It’s time to get off the sidelines and allow the states to exert the leadership that will create thousands of jobs—reduce America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil and protect the environment. States must be empowered to decide what’s in the best interest of their citizens and the environment in which they live.
“Medicaid reform and energy are just two issues where Republican governors are exerting visionary leadership. I urge the President to join us in North Carolina where we’re working to make government a partner—not an adversary to progress.
“Working together, we can get this nation back on the right track by simply unleashing the unlimited potential of the American people. This formula has worked before. I guarantee it will work again
“And finally, I invite people across the nation to visit North Carolina as we make our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
“Thank you for listening and God bless the United States of America.”