McCrory touts record; Cooper says NC needs new leadership

Posted August 18, 2016

— Candidates for North Carolina's governor's office traded time Thursday morning pitching their plans for the state to Raleigh business leaders.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic rival Roy Cooper spoke at a candidate forum in Pinehurst sponsored by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Cooper was critical of McCrory's record, while the governor defended his position on recent controversial laws.

Cooper derided the "Carolina comeback" often touted by McCrory, saying North Carolinians are working harder, for longer hours and less money than before the economic recession in 2008. But the state is primed to move forward, Cooper said, as long as it has the right leadership.

"I think people are hungry for those (leaders) who can emerge from these kinds of partisan fights, ignore the personal barbs, ignore as much as possible the politics and then sit down, roll up their sleeves, get something done (and) find common ground," Cooper told the Chamber crowd.

McCrory said he had provided business-oriented leadership that his political predecessors never did, such as privatizing economic development efforts, focusing on job training instead of paying out unemployment compensation and finding ways to boost government efficiency and customer service.

"This is the stuff that makes a difference – changing the things that aren't working and strengthening the things that are," he said.

McCrory boasted about the numbers his administration achieved: He said North Carolina's unemployment rate is down, corporate and income tax rates are down and teacher pay is up – and rising – since he took office. The drop in income and corporate taxes, he said, make the state competitive for jobs not just in the Southeast, but around the world.

Cooper said he wouldn't call for raising taxes, but he doesn't think corporate taxes should be cut further. Businesses would benefit more, he said, by the state investing more in education to deliver a trained workforce.

Cooper also called House Bill 2 "a problem" for business by scaring off economic development prospects and painting the state as one that discriminates and isn't welcoming.

"Right now, we have a governor who is putting partisan political ideology above the best interest of jobs and schools and economic development," he said. "People across the country are looking at this governor's race as a signal for who north Carolina is. Who are we?"

"Are we the state that wants to be open and welcoming to all kinds of people to make sure that we can move forward? I believe that's who we are," Cooper continued. "And I think, this November, it's going to be critical for us to show the rest of the country that."

McCrory responded by saying he had never heard of a problem with gender identities and bathrooms until the "political left" brought it up.

"It's a change in our basic culture, values and norms," he said, calling the U.S. Department of Justice's inclusion of gender identity in the federal definition of sex discrimination "government overreach."

In addition to defending House Bill 2, he said he also supports the state's recently overturned voter ID law.

"​I'm going to fight for those values because that's what makes us even stronger," McCrory said. "This is common sense north carolina, and we cannot lose those basic values and I'm going to fight for those values, because I'm running for governor of North Carolina, not governor of New York."

McCrory also swiped at New York's state boycott of North Carolina over House Bill 2, a boycott that has so far cost the state some conventions and basketball games.

"When Governor Cuomo says we're going to boycott North Carolina, what difference does it make?" McCrory asked the audience, pointing to census figures on in-migration. "Half of New York has already moved here."


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  • Aiden Audric Aug 22, 10:31 a.m.
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    If an ID is such a great idea that everyone supports, then why do both major political parties not want a national voter ID? Instead we have a mishmash of laws that vary by state where your ID would work in one state, but you move to another and you have to get a different ID that they approve of! It's not that IDs are bad - it's that they aren't without bias.

    The irony is that the accepted IDs vary based on who's in power when the laws were written - what was supposed to fix a nearly-non existent problem has created an even larger real one!

    Transgender people are found under "We the People".

  • Carol Smith Aug 20, 6:13 p.m.
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    Mc rory walked into an already rebounding economy. He exaggerates his "accomplishments." By the way, what are they?

  • Carol Smith Aug 20, 6:12 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    why should cooper defend discriminatory laws and bigotry. I applaud his decision.

  • Jim Bradshaw Aug 19, 4:04 p.m.
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    Only the Liberal Judges on the court have found fault. We shall see how the Voter ID law turns out in the long run. The majority of the public understand and support the idea of having an ID when voting. Even the Attorney General's office requires a picture ID to get into the office. Ironic isn't it? As for HB2, find where transgender is mentioned in the US Constitution for me...I will wait for you to search aimlessly. And no, it doesn't apply under the 14th amendment since the use of the gender appropriate (biological evidence) restrooms is not prohibited.

  • Eric Hammond Aug 19, 1:26 p.m.
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    McCrory is taking credit for economic improvements which are more directly linked to the improved national economy - under the direction of president Obama - forgetting (so very conveniently) that N.C. (unless you happen to be in the top 10% of income earners...which I'd be willing to bet you are not) is lagging behind the rest of the nation thanks directly to the NCGOP's poor choices!

    In response to the claim that Cooper "...failed to fulfill his oath to defend the laws of the state." Why on earth waste tax payer dollars defending patently un-constitutional laws passed by the ANTI-Constitution radical right? They (HB2 and the anti-voting rights law) are indefensible and directly contrary to the law of the nation! Oh, and to the comment "One would have thought he had been taught that in Law School" -
    I'd have thought you would have learned the Bill of Rights in GRADE SCHOOL!

  • Jim Bradshaw Aug 19, 12:22 p.m.
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    I agree we need new leadership in the Attorney General's office. Roy Cooper has failed to fulfill his oath to defend the laws of the state. It isn't up to him to decide whether or not he agrees with the law. One would have thought he had been taught that in Law School.

  • William James Aug 18, 3:20 p.m.
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    McCory's strategy is to distract the less educated voters with non-sense like the voter ID and HB2 which will disappear shortly after the election season because it won't stand up to legal challenges. Next, the average teacher pay went to $50,000, but the key is the avg teacher is fairly old and very far into their career. McCory is also failing to mention that the Unemployment rate is simply the % of people drawing UI benefits, not the actual number of people no longer working, so the stats are meaningless for real life purposes. To Fix NC we need to attract new businesses to the rural areas of the state, it can't be only 4 counties getting the jobs. We need real trade schools because its criminal that we are pushing our youth into huge amounts of college debt getting non-sense degrees, which aren't even marketable. Its not like lic Trades people are out of work, but plenty of liberal arts majors waiting tables.