House Speaker Thom Tillis pledged to keep North Carolina a union-free state in his opening address at the legislature Wednesday.
The Cornelius Republican said the Republicans in the super-majority "will continue to be the least unionized state in the United States," spurring applause from Republicans and blank looks from Democrats.
Tillis started his remarks after formally being sworn-in as speaker telling Democrats "we will work together and at times that we disagree we will ensure civil respective discourse." But he soon outlined his vision for the state, saying lawmakers need to consider overhauling the state's education system by giving teachers more flexibility, revamping the tax code and cutting regulations. "Regulatory reform is truly the key ... to job creation and economic development," he said.
In an interview afterward, Tillis acknowledged he is interested in putting a so-called right-to-work provision against collective bargaining in the state constitution. "We want businesses in North Carolina make no mistake about it -- we will continue to be a right-to-work state," he said.