Gov. Pat McCrory pitched his pro-business agenda to a receptive audience Friday morning: the annual meeting of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina at the State Fairgrounds.
His remarks were bookended by standing ovations and interrupted by applause three times, as he assured several hundred in attendance that their industry represented the kind of business people that he is trying to help.
He said he won’t support extending unemployment insurance benefits, because of the debt to the federal government the state finds itself in. He promised to help business by reducing costs through ferreting out government waste, such as was revealed in a state audit released Thursday.
McCrory also vowed to crack down on overzealous regulators that treat industries as adversaries instead of partners and customers. And he said that his remarks earlier in the week critical of the “educational elite” were meant to explain that he wants to provide an educated workforce to employers who can’t find qualified workers even with the nation’s fifth-highest unemployment rate.
The tobacco growers presented McCrory with the painting pictured here -- a watercolor by North Carolina artist Walter Creech entitled “Workday Waiting.” He promised it would be hanging in his office "within the hour."
Afterward, McCrory ducked into a waiting SUV without taking questions from reporters.
“We need to fix the system,” was his only remark as he left the Holshouser Building.