Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Conservative’s Viewpoint
An Early Peek At The Governor’s Race

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

The citizens of North Carolina will be electing a new governor in November of ’08 and most of the candidates are beginning to sharpen their talking points as they attempt to develop a message that will resonate with the voters. The Democrats have had a virtual lock on the governorship since post - Civil War Reconstruction and would thus appear to have a distinct advantage in holding onto the executive reigns for another term. Campaigns can be very revealing and we may be getting our first glimpse of what to expect of each if elected governor.

Two term Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue is the Democratic front runner. She is striving to be the first woman to be elected governor in North Carolina’s history. A native of Virginia, she represented Craven County in the N.C. House and Senate, rising to chair the powerful state Appropriations Committee. She is a member of the party faithful and under her administration North Carolinians should expect little change from the leadership of incumbent Governor Easley. Perdue’s political past indicates she is not likely to rock the boat and would be inclined to continue to support Easley’s policies. She recently appointed as her chief of staff Don Hobart, a former member of the state Department of Commerce who has been referred to as the “commerce king of incentives.” This appointment would seem to indicate that corporate incentive programs like the Goodyear/Firestone give away will continue in her administration

North Carolina State Treasurer Richard Moore is challenging Perdue for the Democratic nomination. Moore has been state treasurer for seven years and as part of his job, oversees North Carolina’s $75 billion pension fund. Of all of the candidates running for governor, Moore and Perdue are in favor of continuing the recent annual practice of transferring $170 million from the state’s Highway Trust fund to the General Operating fund. They both acknowledge that transportation needs more money but not at the expense of reducing the general fund, which could negatively impact money appropriated for other areas like education. Provisions to cover the shortfall would be needed, Moore says. Richard Moore and Beverly Perdue have no real ideological differences. Moore is a former federal prosecutor who is being packaged as a new type of Democrat and not a product of the old party establishment. He currently trails Perdue in the polls 29-39, while 32 percent of Democratic voters remain undecided.

Perdue’s campaign reports its contributions are coming from sources within the state. She claims that Moore is raising some of the monies for his campaign from individuals outside of North Carolina - from financial contacts he has established while administering the state’s pension fund. Moore has questioned Perdue’s resume, in particular her claims to have once been a teacher. This primary could get very nasty.

While Perdue and Moore go after one another, the three announced Republican candidates are carefully watching and planning their own strategies. All three Republican candidates oppose the continued raiding of the Highway Trust fund.

Bob Orr is a conservative who is a former State Supreme Court associate justice. He is a bull-dog advocate for small business and is opposed to state corporate incentive packages. He believes in less regulation, a free market and getting government out of the corporate arena and back into the business of governing. Orr believes government should not decide which businesses need to be financially propped up. Nor does he believe that the state has any business subsidizing individual private corporations.

Fred Smith is a state senator from Smithfield who is marketing himself as a CEO, which he is, running for the CEO of the state. Smith has written a book “A Little Extra Effort,” which describes growing up in an orphanage to become an entrepreneur, owning businesses in the state that employ in excess of 600 people. This book describes his life, warts and all, and how he has dealt with and overcome adversity. Smith is establishing himself as the candidate for governor with executive experience and a strong moral compass. Smith would propose the state issue $2 billion worth of bonds to improve our transportation system, leaving the $170 million currently being transferred out of the Highway Trust fund there to pay for the bonds. All this with no increase in taxes, Smith says.

Bill Graham, no relation to evangelist Billy Graham, has been leading the polls for months. This 47-year old founder of the board of directors of the Community Bank of Rowan, and partner in the law firm of Wallace and Graham of Salisbury, jumped into the spotlight last year when he successfully mobilized 75,000 citizens to oppose an increase in the state gasoline tax, saving state taxpayers an estimated $159 million this year. Graham has been struggling to find a message that will be as effective. He is strongly in favor of immigration reform in North Carolina.

With so many difficult issues facing our state we need an individual who can lead. From lowering taxes to controlling spending, from improving education to cleaning up corruption, from immigration reform to improving the state’s transportation system, changes are needed to make North Carolina state government more efficient. It’s not too early for all of us to start paying attention.

This is going to be the most interesting Governor's race in the history of the State of North Carolina. With the growth of socialism rampantly out of control in our Democrat dominated legislature, nothing but the election of a fiscally responsible, free enterprise oriented Governor has the chance to avoid the coming economic disaster. Nation after nation and state after state have discovered that the road to socialism cannot be sustained. It ultimately leads to a situation where bureacrats tell everyone how they will live and how they will spend their money. It has long been known as tyranny.

Europe is currently in a revolution against the excessive oppression that socialist bureaucrats have fostered in their countries. It would be a shame if at the very moment Europe is fighting to throw off the yoke of socialism, North Carolina should keep going down that road without expecting the same consequences they have suffered.

Only one quibble with Bob's comment about who is leading the Republican polls. In the last two weeks Senator Fred Smith has gained significant momentum in the Governor's race, even getting recognized by one of the leading Democrat Party web sites, BlueNC spoke of Fred's surge as being the first serious movement of any candidate since the announcements by the major players earlier in the year and it has left him in a vitrual tie with Graham.

Some of that movement is attributable to the enthusiastic endorsement of Senator Smith by Lee Greenwood, a man some call America's number one patriot. Greenwood is famous for his song, God Bless the USA.


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