Since Easley's re-election four years ago, he has focused the work of the Attorney General's office on the tobacco settlement and on consumer issues, such as predatory lending.
Education and the environment have also been on his radar screen, and those are two of the major issues of his current campaign.
"I've enjoyed being Attorney General, but enforcing environmental laws is one thing. Setting environmental policy is another," Easley says. "Defending the state on education is one thing, and I'm doing that in court now. But setting education policy is another."
"I'd say the top three priorities of any governor right now in this state would have to be education, education and education," Easley says.
To meet his goals of smaller classroom size and expanded preschool, he sees millions of dollars in a tax-free pot of gold calledthe lottery.
"I support, number one, people having the vote on it. Number two, I want the money to be in a non-supplantable fund that doesn't go to the legislature," he says. "Every dime for kids, not a penny for politicians."
Easley admits he likes the work of a public servant far more than the demands of a campaign, but the tradeoff is worth it.
"At the end of the day, we have to recognize that everybody counts," he says. "The way you go about that is you get out there and you try to help as many people as you can, as long as you're living. And if you do that, you'll be fine."
Wednesday, Pam Saulsby will begin WRAL's look at the Republican candidates.
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