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Morning Memo: Who is McCrory? We still don't know

McCRORY REITERATES CAMPAIGN THEMES: In his first State of the State address, Gov. Pat McCrory, who has been in office six weeks, offered the broad outline of a legislative agenda that includes lower income tax rates, a revamped education system that uses technology in the classroom and a streamlined government that makes customer service its mission. “Achieving these goals will not be easy. ... But we will do it. We must do it,” said McCrory, who entered through the 11-foot golden doors into the House chamber. Republican lawmakers gathered for the joint legislative session frequently interrupted the 45-minute speech – the first by a GOP governor in 20 years – with applause and even hoots and hollers, giving the speech a pep rally feel at moments.

WHO IS McCRORY? WE STILL DON'T KNOW: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s public image has yet to come into sharp focus during his first weeks in office, even as he presented his program Monday night to a joint session of the legislature, columnist Rob Christensen writes. Is he Charlotte Pat, the centrist mayor of North Carolina’s largest city who campaigned as someone able to work across party lines? Or is he more in line with the deep-seated conservatism that dominates the legislature and much of the Southern GOP? “The public hasn’t formed a really hard impression of Gov. McCrory yet,” said Andrew Taylor, a political science professor at N.C. State University. “He certainly campaigned as a moderate, pragmatic-oriented, problem-solving executive-type who understands the importance of government-business partnerships.

Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- the State of the State edition. More analysis of the governor's speech below and a preview of today in politics.

Morning Roundup: The N.C. political year in review

While North Carolina experienced a predicted blockbuster political year in 2012, the details weren't as anticipated by some.

Charlotte hosted North Carolina's first-ever major party national convention. A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in North Carolina passed by a whopping 22 percentage points. And although it wasn't shocking that former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory was elected governor, the ease of his victory was surprising, as was his Democratic rival - Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, not Gov. Beverly Perdue. Read AP's political year in review here.

More political headlines below:

--North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which has spent nearly $1 billion to clean up polluted waters and protect untainted ones, will face a dicey future as legislators convene in January.

--The N.C. House’s new Republican majority whip believes he has the votes to stop North Carolina’s green-energy mandate – the first in the Southeast when it was enacted in 2007 – in its tracks. Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County views the mandate as the government unfairly “picking winners and losers” in the marketplace. As chairman of the Public Utilities committee, Hager would like to freeze it at the current 3 percent level.

N.C. coast ripe for wind power, report says

North Carolina could have the most viable offshore wind power on the East Coast, with the ability to bring power to hundreds of thousands of homes and generate up to 20,000 new manufacturing jobs, according to a new study by the National Wildlife Foundation.

The state has “great potential” for offshore wind power, thanks to its shallow waters, lengthy coastline and excellent wind speeds, according to a report released this morning by the National Wildlife Foundation.

That’s based on studies from the Department of Energy and UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Department of Energy’s “20 percent by 2030” report predicts that five to 10 gigawatts of energy could come from the Tar Heel coastline. The state could gain 10,000 to 20,000 manufacturing jobs, according to the report, “Offshore Winds in the Atlantic.”

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