Cope for governor?

Posted February 15, 2011 2:59 p.m. EST

Does SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope want to move into the Executive Mansion?

Moments before he lit into Gov. Beverly Perdue for her statement in Monday night's State of the State address, Cope opened a Tuesday morning news conference by telling state workers attending the event that he was presenting the Democratic response to Perdue's address.

Then, turning to reporters, he said, "I'm here today to declare my nomination for the Democratic nomination for governor."

The statement brought laughs and cheers from state workers, and Cope then quickly stated that the remark was a joke.

The 30-minute news conference that followed, however, made it clear that SEANC isn't pleased with Perdue and the way she wants to streamline state government and balance the budget.

While he outlined suggestions from state workers that he said would save the state $10 billion, he said Perdue and lawmakers need to make policy decision, not "political rhetoric for an election that's two years away."

The suggestions included raising the cigarette tax, keeping temporary sales and income tax increases in place for now, closing corporate tax loopholes and standardizing the way the state delivers health care to everyone from teachers to prisoners to Medicaid recipients.