Local Politics

Perdue takes break while economic woes go unabated

Posted February 9, 2009 7:15 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— While the stimulus debate raged in Washington, D.C., on Monday and North Carolina's economic picture continued to look bleak, Gov. Beverly Perdue was out of state on vacation.

Perdue and her husband, Bob Eaves, have taken a weeklong vacation in an undisclosed, warm-weather location, spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said. The governor and her husband are paying for the trip.

"This was something that she had planned with her husband for some time now," Pearson said. "She couldn't cancel on him, so she decided instead to go ahead and leave town and take work with her."

Perdue remains in constant contact with her staff, Pearson said.

"Just because she's on vacation – this working vacation – doesn't mean this office stops working or falls silent, she said. "I suspect, though she may be in a warmer climate, she is still working just as hard as when she was here."

Perdue won praise during her first couple of weeks in office for making executive decisions on state schools and government accountability and for twice appealing to Congress for federal stimulus money to help erase the state's $2 billion budget deficit. But the timing of vacation raised questions among lawmakers and state residents about how hard she is working for them.

"I think it is bad timing, but I understand if this was planned well in advance," taxpayer Kathy Warren said.

"Let's give her a chance. We're behind her, but I don't think this is the time to be taking a vacation," taxpayer Herbert Moore said.

One lawmaker said it was better for Perdue to take her break now, before the General Assembly starts serious work on the budget and other issues, than later.

Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said he hopes she comes back relaxed and ready to work.

"I don't think it was a really good idea to (go on vacation)," Hunt said. "Having said that, she's been in a long campaign, (and) she's got a humongous task in front of her to come up with a proposed budget for us to consider. I'm prepared to give her a little slack."