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Easley Shares His Thoughts On State Budget, Lottery

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Gov. Mike Easley
RALEIGH, N.C. — As North Carolina House and Senate negotiators continue to hammer out differences in the budget, Gov. Mike Easley spoke Wednesday with WRAL about the budget, the prospects of a lottery and if he has his sights set on a higher office once finished with his term.

The fiscal year is coming to an end and lawmakers are trying to come up with a budget. Easley just received a briefing from legislative leaders and liked what he heard.

"It was a great meeting, a lot of progressive ideas -- good spirit of cooperation -- progressive ideas with a commitment to fixing some of the shortfalls in Medicare for our blind, aged and disabled. And I think you're going to see a really good budget once it's done," Easley said.

As for the lottery, Easley said he is confident a lottery will pass, but maybe not his lottery plan.

"The odds are good we could pass a lottery," he said. "That's not the problem. The problem is passing a lottery for the right reasons, for the right purposes, and I don't want just a lottery. A lottery is a means to an end -- a good end, and it has to help the kids who need it to make sure the class sizes are manageable so teachers can teach and kids can learn."

Education was Easley's big campaign topic during both runs for governor.

Easley also said he was not sure what he will do once his term as governor ends, but he said he did not see a run for Congress in his future.

"I really don't see me going to Washington," he said. "That's not something I have a desire to do -- certainly not at this point. I kind of like this job a lot better."

Shortly after the November elections, Easley's name appeared on a couple of presidential watch lists for 2008. A statewide Elon University poll in November showed about one-third of North Carolinians supported the idea.

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