GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – With just one week until election day, the governor’s race between incumbent Pat McCrory and challenger Roy Cooper continues to heat up.
Although McCrory was born in Ohio, he quickly adopted North Carolina as his home after his parents moved the family to the state when he was young.
“I learned the values of North Carolina very quickly that you respect teachers, you respect police officers, you respect people who are senior to you and you call them yes sir and yes ma’am,” McCrory said.
During his first term in office, McCrory has had his fair share of challenges. He said it was diffcult, but also rewarding and humbling.
McCrory was heavily influenced by his parents, especially his father who was a city councilman in Ohio. During council meetings, McCrory would sit and take notes.
Without knowing it, McCrory’s father envisioned a political future for his son.
McCrory worked for Duke Energy before serving Charlotte as councilman and then mayor.
All of those experiences eventually set him up to become the 74th governor of North Carolina. Two big issues he’s once again running on for re-election are jobs and growing the economy.
“I brought ethics back to state government, we brought jobs back to the economy. Now instead of the 9.4 unemployment rate we’re down to 4.7,” he said. “We’ve reduced the income tax and corporate tax.”
McCrory was also able to pass a multi-billion dollar bond, passed overwhelming by the voters of the state. He believes that will also help spur economic growth in rural counties in the East, which have struggled over the years.
“Some of that money is going to go to water and sewer, and if you don’t have good water and sewer we’re not going to recruit industry or jobs to your area.”
Under McCrory’s administration, teacher pay has increased, going from 49th in the country to 41st. Despite criticism from Democrats, McCrory said those improvements will only continue.
“We’re now going to go to 32 or 33 by next year based upon us giving the largest pay increases in the United States of America to teachers,” he said.
But perhaps the biggest issue that has plagued McCrory’s run for re-election is the controversy surrounding House Bill 2, the Republican favored legislation passed in a special session that forces transgender people to use the bathroom associated with their biological sex.
His opponent, Roy Cooper, said since that law passed, millions of dollars have been lost, as the NCAA, ACC, NBA and others have pulled out events from the state.
McCrory said he won’t give into pressure, and will continue to stand for what he believes is right.
Another component of the law that has outraged some is what categories are protected against discrimination in places of public accommodation. As it stands now, the law covers race, religion, color, national origin, and biological sex, but leaves out sexual orientation.
McCrory said he wouldn’t be opposed of changing that.
“I personally don’t object to that at the federal level. I actually think the federal level, since gay marriage, we ought to have sexual orientation,” he said.
If re-elected McCrory said two key issues he would tackle is further funding for transportation, and improving care for mental health patients.