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Perdue pledges forceful education push, no lame-duck politics

Posted January 29, 2012
Updated January 30, 2012

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— Just 72 hours after the shocking announcement that Gov. Bev Perdue wouldn't seek re-election in 2012, she opened up to WRAL News in an exclusive interview Sunday about her decision to push for public education over politics.

"There were a lot of personal reasons involved in this decision that I'll never discuss in public," she said at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, in her first media interview since she announced her decision Thursday.

But she did have this message for the people of North Carolina: "Don't anybody dare tell me that I'm a lame duck.

"I will not go away. There are going to be people in this state, until the day I die, who will continue this conversation with me about education," she said. "This is a battle for the heart and soul of this state."

Perdue, a former teacher, plans to devote her final 11 months in office to pressing the legislature to pass a three-quarters of a cent sales tax increase for education. She said she has to remove herself from election politics to be an effective advocate for the children of North Carolina.

Gov. Beverly Perdue Perdue: 'Don't dare tell me I'm a lame duck'

"This is not going to be something that's going to become a political wedge issue in a campaign," she said. "This is something I'm passionate about."

On Saturday night, at the Democratic Party's Sanford-Hunt-Frye dinner in Greensboro, Perdue made her first public appearance since announcing her decision. She was greeted warmly by a cheering, chanting audience that raised "We Love Bev" placards into the air and praised her tenacity in taking on the Republican leadership in the General Assembly.

That relationship – between the Republican-controlled state legislature and the Democratic governor – has often been a contentious one, marked by frustration and anger.

In October, North Carolina lost its bid to bring a Continental Tire plant, with about 1,300 new jobs, to Brunswick County because state leaders couldn't agree on the fine print of a $100 million package in tax credits and grants for the company. Continental Tire took its $1 billion investment to Sumter County, S.C., instead, in a decision Perdue called "one of the darkest days for North Carolina."

Gov. Bev Perdue Web only: Perdue's exclusive interview with WRAL News

"I was furious. I was disgusted. I thought, 'How dare these people say they're leaders when they can't make decisions for the good of the state?'" she said.

Her re-election bid was showing signs of weakness before her decision to drop out. Her approval rating was low in various polls, and she faced a potential rematch against former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican whom she narrowly defeated in 2008 in the state's closest gubernatorial contest since 1972.

News that she would end her campaign broke on a Washington blog, prompting speculation that President Barack Obama, wanting a strong Democrat in office to help him win North Carolina, had asked Perdue to step aside.

Perdue dismissed the rumors and said she has a great personal relationship with the president.

"I've been with the president several times where we've talked about this. He was just as supportive of me as I of him," she said. "He would have never, ever doubted the fact that we could win this race together."

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  • photonog1 Jan 30, 2012

    Okey dokey Plenty:

    North Raleigh Christian Academy avg SAT Score: 1144
    Wakefield High School avg SAT Score: 1053

    Cary Christian Academy avg SAT Score: 1200
    Cary High School avg SAT Score: 1089

    Just a couple of quickies I looked up. And if you drill down on most of these private schools, the administration staff is less than a comparable public school.

    No they don't have to take all kids, but you are missing the point. They run their schools like business because, well, they are. There is accountability. There are consequences for poor performance.

    I have spoken my peace on this and I appreciate your efforts. In the end, this system will not get better until more and more begin to question the validity of the current policies which our public system operates. And for the record, I am sending my child to a public school. I just happen to admire the approach of a private school because I like a "get it done" mentality more than a "victim" mentality.

  • photonog1 Jan 30, 2012

    okey dokey Plenty....

    North Raleigh Christian Academy avg SAT score: 1144
    Wakefield High School avg SAT score

  • Plenty Coups Jan 30, 2012

    rebelbelle-"Those who feel that more taxes are needed for public schools can voluntarily donate $150-200 a year to the Department of Public Instruction."

    Everybody benefits from an educated workforce, 99% literacy rates, and fewer people who resort to crime. Your "compromise" could just as easily be "everybody who who doesn't want to pay for public schools should volunteer in schools or move out of every state and country that has public schools." (Good luck with that.)

    "Those who'd like to know where they're putting the money they're getting now could refrain from donating."

    Just another excuse.

  • Plenty Coups Jan 30, 2012

    photonog-"You know this stuff is accurate---it's common sense---it needs no pdf files to validate."

    No, I don't think its accurate. For it to be accurate, it would have to have proof. Denying evidence when it goes against what you want to believe is foolhardy.

    "and does not look to throw money at problems."

    Once again, 49th out of 50 speaks for itself. What worries me is your shortsighted attempt to try and justify it.

    "Having said that, people (in general) are more receptive to giving more when they see what they have been giving is being used wisely and responsibly."

    The never ending excuse. I'll support public schools when...(the usual conservative excuses go here)....(never)

  • rebelbelle Jan 30, 2012

    Perhaps we could have a reasonable compromise: Those who feel that more taxes are needed for public schools can voluntarily donate $150-200 a year to the Department of Public Instruction. Those who'd like to know where they're putting the money they're getting now could refrain from donating.

    I still haven't seen any reduction in political appointees. And isn't Perdue the one who appointed someone to compete with the elected superintendant at a rate of more than $250,000 a year???

  • Plenty Coups Jan 30, 2012

    photonog-"Look at private schools...they operate with quite a bit less overhead and have to meet the same "mandated criteria" for academic achievement."

    Really? They don't have the same criteria as public schools. They don't have to take all kids. They don't have to have "highly qualified teachers". And most importantly, when you adjust for student background, they don't outperform public schools.

    Sources: ( I know you don't want to believe it)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090226093423.htm
    http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006461.asp

  • eri815 Jan 30, 2012

    Let's put all the money that she's going to spend going around NC to have adult conversations about education, into the education fund... every little bit helps Bev!

  • CrewMax Jan 30, 2012

    Just heard more of her interview. Hilarious how she wants to blame decades of poor education stewardship on the republicans, who have only been in power for two years. Keep it up Bev. You are already a liability on your party.

  • photonog1 Jan 30, 2012

    Plenty Coups, I do applaud your passion--I truly do. Apathetic people scare me.

    But you know I am dead on with the "management" comment. Look at private schools...they operate with quite a bit less overhead and have to meet the same "mandated criteria" for academic achievement. They are run like a business with values like "accountability" and "performance based compensation." And they get results. Get rid of the fluff in the public system and you will see results. And, with all due respect, don't throw the "unsupported claim" thing around. You know this stuff is accurate---it's common sense---it needs no pdf files to validate. Business succeeds in economic downturns because it learns to do more with less...it lives and dies by it's own efforts (unless it is GM or Chrysler) and does not look to throw money at problems.

    Having said that, people (in general) are more receptive to giving more when they see what they have been giving is being used wisely and responsibly.

  • Plenty Coups Jan 30, 2012

    "Now, after Obamaflation it's probly more like $10k. How much should we be spending on "public education" when private schools are cheaper and get better results than liberal public schools?"

    Once again, you have nothing to back up your opinions. Get back to me when you do.

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