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Rural Center report calls for McCrory to create manufacturing council

The state's Rural Economic Development Center issued a report Monday calling for Gov. Pat McCrory to create a North Carolina Manufacturing Council that would develop policy for the state.

The council would examine the labor needs of the manufacturing sector, identify markets for the products produced here, and identify factors that are keeping North Carolina from being more competitive.

The council would also work with government and industry to come up with policies and practices to accelerate growth in manufacturing. The Rural Center report says the council should be established by May and deliver an agenda by May 2014.

Morning Memo: Manufacturing in the spotlight; what will Obama tell NC

TODAY IN POLITICS: The role of manufacturing in the state and how to revive the state's old economy takes center stage Monday and Tuesday at the Emerging Issues forum in Raleigh. The conference is hosted by former Gov. Jim Hunt. U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr will brief the audience Monday morning. And Gov. Pat McCrory will attend a lunch and award ceremony Tuesday. Other top N.C. officials will take part throughout the event.

In the legislature, the House and Senate convene at 6 p.m. for skeleton sessions. The real action starts Tuesday when budget committees begin to meet in public. A House committee will consider the controversial Medicaid bill Tuesday, as the full Senate considers a measure to curtail unemployment benefits. McCrory has no public events Monday, but he speaks to N.C. Department of Natural Resources employees Monday morning.

***Welcome to the Dome Morning Memo, the source for political news in North Carolina. Much more below. ***

Obama to discuss new job growth plans at Cree

President Barack Obama is scheduled to arrive in the Triangle this morning, hoping to find ways to accelerate job growth in an economy where high unemployment continues to be a drag on the recovery.

The president is scheduled to meet with his 26-member Jobs and Competitiveness Council – a group of mainly high-powered business executives – where he is to receive a “progress report”  for speeding up job creation.

The group is expected to release a set of recommendations today on how to spur both short-term and long-term growth in such sectors as manufacturing, construction, clean energy, health care and tourism.

“We have had 15 straight months of private sector job creation and seven straight quarters of growth” Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the president, said in a briefing with reporters. “We are moving in the right direction. But the president is not satisfied with the pace of job creation."

Obama will visit Cree in Durham during Triangle tour Monday

Cree, the LED lighting company based in Durham, will host President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House announced today.

Obama will tour the company and make remarks to workers at Cree, again. Obama made a similar stop at Cree in May 2008 when the Democratic presidential candidate was stumping for votes in North Carolina.

During his visit to the Triangle on Monday, he's also scheduled to meet with his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which he appointed this winter. The council is made up of private-sector industry leaders, including General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly and Intel CEO Paul Otellini.

Senators urge restraint in regulating brick kiln emissions

Both of North Carolina's U.S. Senators are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ease up on the nation's brick and clay industry as the EPA sets pollution limits for brick kiln emissions.

Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr say North Carolina could bear the brunt of the new regulations, as the Tar Heel state has more brick manufacturers than any other state, representing some 1,300 employees.

The two elected officials are part of a 15-member Senate coalition concerned that EPA regulation could cause economic harm to an industry that's already struggling in the wake of the real-estate meltdown. The group on Monday wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Jacob Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, saying the Senators are seeking to strike a balance between protecting jobs and protecting public health.


Earmark Watch: Textile research

An earmark from eight North Carolina Congressmen would fund two textile research consortiums.

The funds would go to the National Textile Center, a consortium of eight universities including N.C. State University which develops new materials and promotes textile research and education, and a Cary-based industry consortium, the Textile/Clothing Technology Corp.

Rep. Brad Miller sought $16.5 million for both groups; Rep. David Price, $16.5 million; Rep. Mel Watt, $16.5 million; Rep. G.K. Butterfield, $20 million; and Rep. Heath Shuler, $3.5 million.

Meantime, Rep. Bob Etheridge requested $13 million just for the National Textile Center, and Rep. Howard Coble sought $13 million for the National Textile Center and $3.5 million for the Textile/Clothing Technology Corp.

Rep. Larry Kissell also requested $3.5 million for the Textile/Clothing Technology Corp.

All stressed the economic benefits of the research.

"The research conducted through these two programs plays a major role in helping to enhance the competitiveness of an industry that is a primary supplier of employment to women and minority workers, with many of these jobs located in depressed areas," Butterfield wrote in his request.

Price also noted the benefit to women and minorities.

"These two research consortiums are critical components of the US textile industry’s ongoing effort to remain globally competitive," he wrote. "Their groundbreaking textile research helps offset job losses in the U.S. textile sector, which is a primarily supplier of employment to women and minority individuals, and prolong the vitality of the U.S. textile manufacturing base."

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated Coble's earmarks and left out Kissell's earmark.

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