McCrory more settled in second year in office

Posted June 20, 2014

— Seventeen months into his administration, Gov. Pat McCrory is more comfortable in the job and with challenging state lawmakers.

Seen as a moderate Republican when he was elected in 2012, McCrory was swept along with the conservative tide in the General Assembly last year. The only two vetoes he cast were easily overridden.

This year, he has spoken out against Senate plans to cut funding for teaching assistants to pay for teacher raises and to halt his efforts to reform the Medicaid program, as well as lawmakers' attempts to repeal the national Common Core academic standards in North Carolina schools. The House responded by keeping money for teaching assistants and Medicaid reform in its budget, although a final spending plan still needs to be hammered out.

"I'm very proud of 80 percent of the work that's been done and realize we only differ in 20 percent. That's a pretty good record," McCrory said Friday in an interview with WRAL News.

That 20 percent does raise some hackles, however.

When asked about the Senate's desire to shift Medicaid from the state Department of Health and Human Services to a new agency, McCrory said it's not up to them to decide.

"We're looking at this, but I don't think two or three legislators should be making decisions for the executive branch of government. That's the job of the governor," he said.

He is quick to cite what he sees as his accomplishments this year, from working with lawmakers to support a raise for teachers and state employees to opening the state to natural gas drilling to moving job recruitment from the Department of Commerce to a public-private partnership.

But he's also aware of his critics.

The protesters at the weekly "Moral Monday" demonstrations have been growing in number and volume in recent weeks, although the numbers arrested pale in comparison with last year. McCrory met with 20 ministers who have participated in the protests and expressed disappointment that state NAACP President Rev. William Barber didn't join them. Barber has said he was never invited, but McCrory insisted Friday that his chief of staff called Barber about the meeting.

McCrory expressed irritation that some environmentalists essentially blamed him for a February coal ash spill in the Dan River, saying his administration has been trying to address the dangers posed by the toxic ash ponds.

"An environmental group spent $600,000 on a political ad that was really bad instead of spending $600,000 on the environment," he said.

He also said he was disappointed by some of the actions of Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democratic who is widely seen as a potential opponent to McCrory in the 2016 gubernatorial race. Even though McCrory "personally likes" Cooper, he said the attorney general has become more outspoken on issues such as gay marriage and voting rights that pose conflicts of interest with his job.

"His role is to be the chief legal counsel for the legislature and the people of this state and the executive. Instead, he's sending out fundraising letters on issues where he disagrees with the state," McCrory said. "If that were happening to you, you would want to fire that lawyer."


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  • Bill of Rights Jun 24, 2014

    A lot of liberal butthurt here. So much butthurt.

    Plenty of industry is coming to North Carolina under McCrory's leadership. Industry that is creating all sorts of pesky jobs. I know ... who would want that.

    He's got my vote in the next election.

  • Greg Boop Jun 24, 2014
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    I would urge you to take a more complete look at North Carolina history. There were many Democratic governors who were far more corrupt than Easley.

  • Billy Smith Jun 24, 2014
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    Easley was the most corrupt governor in NC history and led during the most corrupt time. He is NC's Richard Nixon.

  • Matt Wood Jun 23, 2014
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    By calling Easley "do nothing" you reveal your ignorance of NC history. He was, after all, the one who got our education system up from the bottom to middle-of-the-pack. Perdue had to deal with the Great Recession and then a Republican GA that overruled her at every turn (including all the times she tried to raise teacher pay).

  • Michael Hart Jun 23, 2014
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    Puppet or lame duck....hmmmmmmmm?
    I'll take lame duck for 100 Pat!

  • Tony Snark Jun 23, 2014

    More settled, but just as evil.

  • shemontay Jun 23, 2014

    increased taxes; lowerd teachers pay; polluted land; Yeah on of the worst governors the state has ever seen. Cant wait until his one and only term is up.. and keep your eye on his friend Tillis as well. What one doesnt destroy the other will try to finish.

  • Carol Smith Jun 23, 2014
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  • bareftndncin Jun 22, 2014

    One year closer to getting rid of him. Worst Governor NC has seen. Our land is going to be ruined and our water is going to be poisoned, but at least we can attempt to fix some of what's made us the laughing stock of the country without him.

  • miseem Jun 21, 2014

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    They wanted to have people wait until next year to realize what their tax savings are because it will be after the election. Then, all the state employees and teachers who did not get any raises will see the few bucks they saved compared to the prior year were more than eliminated by other tax and fee increases, including widening the items sales taxes are charged on. Since state employees and teachers got no pay increases, this comparison will be simple. Or they will find state tax savings will be eaten up by increased local tax because the NCGA decided to cut state payment for services and shifted those down to the local governments. By then, the current crew of legislators will be back in their seats, coming up with more of these "savings" for the middle class.