RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley has been named second among Southern Business & Development magazine's Top 10 People Who Have Made A Difference.
The Winter 2004 edition emphasized Easley's efforts to fight federal trade policies and expand North Carolina's top-rated biotechnology program.
In the face of trade policies damaging the state's manufacturing base, "Easley was a fighter in 2003," the article states. "He sent nine letters to Pres.George W. Bush in 2003 asking that federal trade policies be revisited to stop the exportation of jobs.
"He also spearheaded the movement of tobacco settlement money to the right places for a state such as the Tar Heel State. The largest state-funded biotech initiative in the South got its start in North Carolina in 2003, and Easley was the prime mover in the deal."
The state's biotechnology industry ranks among the nation's five largest, with more than 150 companies employing 18,500 people and generating $3 billion in annual revenues.
In 2003, Easley led efforts to use tobacco settlement money to fund a $64.5 million initiative to train workers to fill jobs in the biotechnology/biomanufacturing industry, which has grown by 10 to 15 percent in recent years. North Carolina is the only state in the country to invest in a statewide biotech job-training center.