Republican Gov. Jim Martin once called the replacement of the Department of Commerce with a public-private partnership "an incredibly dumb and dangerous idea.'' That was back in 1988 when Democratic Lt. Gov. Bob Jordan, his opponent in the governor's race proposed something very similar to what GOP Gov. Pat McCrory is now recommending.
At a rally on top of a downtown Charlotte parking deck, Jordan proposed creating a NC. Economic Development Corp which would be run by a panel of private citizens appointed by the governor.
"In the early 1980's, North Carolina was recruiting one out of every three new industries that located in the South,'' Jordan said. "But ladies and gentlemen, it is now 1988. Times are changing and now it is time for North Carolina to change as well.''
But Martin cited the state's No 1 ranking in industrial recruitment.
"I think he just wants to risk all of that simply to show that he has a new idea, that he has a different style, a different, what he calls hands-on, approach to mine," Martin said. "While we are seeing the kind of success, the kind of economic growth that North Carolina is experiencing right now, I would hope he would keep his hands off.''