Gov. McCrory to Deliver State of the State Address on Wednesday

RALEIGH — The last time Gov. Pat McCrory joined state lawmakers to deliver the biennial State of the State address was in 2013. At the time he was less than two months into his tenure and still new on the state political scene. Now, two years later, political experts say Wednesday’s State of the State platform is likely to serve as a launching pad for his re-election bid.

“We can’t take the election lens off this particular speech,” said David McLennan with Meredith College. “It is the last time he will do a State of the State before he runs for re-election. Not that people will recall the speech itself when it comes to November 2016. But they will have an impression of where the governor wants to take the state.”

The governor was invited to speak before a joint session of the legislature by the lawmakers. As a fellow Republican, there are several issues he is expected to discuss that will appeal to a majority of the legislators. But analysts say there are other issues where he may not see eye to eye with some other leaders.

“And the biggest issue that we are sort of waiting to see, is does he talk about Medicaid?” said McLennan. “He had the meeting with President Obama where he explored getting some exemptions. But the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina, very few people in the General Assembly within the Republican caucus who are interested in doing that.”

Time Warner Cable News sat down with the governor in December to discuss his goals for 2015. At the time, he said fixing Medicaid is amongst them.

“If we do not, we are going to have problems with education and other parts of the budget,” McCrory said in December. “Because we’ve got to stop this escalation of money that is uncontrollable.”

While it is expected McCrory will discuss jobs, transportation and education, when he was asked what his top priorities are for 2015, he indicated there is another area he wants the state talking about.

“I want to get into the energy business,” he said. “To bring more money to education, and healthcare and mental health and to roads.”

Time Warner Cable News is bringing you special coverage of Gov. Pat McCrory’s State of the State address Wednesday evening.  Live coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with a special edition of Capital Tonight. Gov. McCrory’s address begins at 7 p.m., with the Democratic response immediately afterward. 

– Loretta Boniti

Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Gov. McCrory

RALEIGH—The group Progress NC Action has filed a formal ethics complaint against Gov. McCrory.

It seeks a formal investigation into McCrory’s holdings of stock in his former employer Duke Energy and payouts he received from a Charlotte-based mortgage broker where he was a board member.

The complaint states he has shown a clear pattern of deceptive omissions of income, stock ownership and simple membership and affiliation with private corporate interests.

The Associated Press recently reported that the governor failed to disclose more than $185,000 worth of income and dividends from

The governor has said he did nothing wrong and that the AP stories are inaccurate.

McCrory Meets With President At White House

WASHINGTON — “A very serious conversation, at time debates and a lot of listening, too on both sides.”

That’s how NC Gov. Pat McCrory described his Tuesday meeting with President Obama at the White House.

McCrory and other members of the National Governors Association had the president’s ear for about an hour in the Oval Office.

The governor says he was personally involved in conversations about three issues, including ways to maintain and improve the states roads and bridges.

“We made a commitment to work with the president and the Secretary of Transportation to try to develop new plans we can present to Congress,” McCrory said.

Exploring what kind of oil and gas resources lie off the North Carolina coast.

“I actually thanked the president for Secretary Jewell’s support of our seismic testing off the coast of North Carolina — to give us permission to do that,” McCrory said.

And the governor also raised his potential proposal for expanding Medicaid in North Carolina under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid is the state’s health care program for the poor and disabled.

The governor wants a federal waiver that would allow North Carolina to craft its own Medicaid plan. But McCrory said President Obama told him he was concerned about the precedent it would set.

“We did not get assurances, but I thought we got a pretty good response,” McCrory said.

The governor says he still hasn’t made up his mind about expanding Medicaid. But he said he would first want to revamp the program to control costs … and potentially limit its reach.

“We want to encourage people to continue to explore job opportunities and training opportunities to get people jobs …to become independent of government. Not dependent on government,” McCrory says.

While McCrory is leaving the door open to expanding the program, he’ll have to convince the state legislature to go along with him.

Nearly 320,000 low-income North Carolinians would be covered under the program.

And if he’s to move forward, McCrory says he wants a North Carolina plan not a Washington plan.

– Geoff Bennett

What Can You Expect From The GOP Lead Legislature in 2015

RALEIGH — Republicans have had control of the full North Carolina legislature for four years now. For the past two years, Republicans have also had the seat in the governor’s mansion. This means they have been able to set the agenda for the state and only have to work out differences within their own party.

As the state heads into 2015, many of the officials leading the state will be the same, but a new speaker of the house is set to be elected. Republicans have said that person will be Tim Moore of Cleveland County. He says Medicaid, from re-organization to cost efficiencies, will be at top priority in 2015.

“We have to find a way to get the Medicaid spending under control,” says Moore. “First and foremost, we have to make sure that the services are delivered to the population in need. That we are providing medical services, but we need to do so in a manner that is efficient. That cuts through the waste. That cuts through the fraud.”

This is also expected to be one of the most difficult debates of the year with the house and senate separated on how they believe it should be addressed. But Governor Pat McCrory says tough or not, it is an issue that needs to be resolved in 2015.

“If we do not we are going to have problems with education, infrastructure and other parts of the budget,” says McCrory. “Because we’ve got to stop this escalation of money that is uncontrollable.”

McCrory also has ideas on how to find funding for other areas of the budget. He says this year he would like North Carolina to concentrate on energy issues.

“We’ve sat on the sidelines in North Carolina for 30 40 years while other states are benefitting from these incredible oil and gas reserves,” says McCrory. “North Carolina is just taking it from other areas. I want to begin sesmic testing off the coast of North Carolina. See what we have. Try to make a deal with the administration and share some of that revenue if we have it.”

McCrory and legislative leaders say taxes, education, and jobs will also be tops priorities for the year.

– Loretta Boniti

Gov. McCrory Shuffles NC Business, Environment Heads

RALEIGH—RALEIGH—Gov. Pat McCrory is shuffling the heads of two state agencies that report to him.

The governor was emotional as he announced that his Secretary of Commerce, Sharon Decker, will be stepping down at the end of the month.

Decker is being replaced by John Skvarla, who has headed the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the first two years of McCrory’s four-year term.

Gov. McCrory said he sees this as a logical transition and movement within his cabinet.

“I did make sure when I put our team together that the members of the team would be interchangeable. And as I look for John’s replacement I will be looking for talent that is also interchangeable and are natural leaders in moving policy, operations and strategy,” said McCrory.

While speaking to the media Tuesday morning, Gov. McCrory pointed to accomplishments such as lowered unemployment rates, rural development, and the private economic partnership organization as steps forward under Decker’s watch.

Decker and Gov. McCrory are long time friends and are both former Duke Energy executives. She said she is taking a new job with a media company based near her western North Carolina home.

Skvarla is a Raleigh businessman who described the environment agency’s role as being a “partner” to those it regulates, which he described as “customers”.

Gov. McCrory said he’s looking at internal and outside candidates to become the new head of DENR.

– Loretta Boniti

NC Economic Development Group Gets New CEO

CARY, N.C. — North Carolina’s newly formed public-private partnership formed to lead the state’s corporate recruitment efforts has a new leader.

Christopher Chung was named Monday as the chief executive officer of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, which began operations in October. The partnership was created by Gov. Pat McCrory and state lawmakers to take over corporate recruitment efforts previously housed in the N.C. Department of Commerce.

The 38-year-old Chung previously launched the Missouri Partnership, a similar public-private entity. He will replace interim CEO Richard Lindenmuth, who will still work for the North Carolina partnership as a consultant.

The non-profit partnership is set to receive about $17.5 million a year in state funding. Chung will be paid an annual salary of $225,000, of which $120,000 will come from public funds.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

– Associated Press

McCrory ‘Extremely Concerned’ About Impact of Immigration Reform

RALEIGH — After President Barack Obama’s address on immigration reform, Gov. Pat McCrory issued a statement criticizing the move.

It reads:

“With this latest executive order, President Obama is making new law by bypassing Congress. I’m already discussing with other governors a long-term solution to immigration reform as well as an appropriate legal response to this unconstitutional overreach of the White House. North Carolina is not a border state, but it’s impacted by illegal immigration. I’m extremely concerned about the potentially negative impact of this executive order on our public schools, health services and public safety.”


McCrory Announces 1,000 in 100 Workforce Development Initiative

RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced a new workforce development initiative Thursday morning.

1,000 in 100 is part of the new N.C. Works program. The goal is to help workforce development teams better understand the skill sets the state’s economy demands.

This morning the two spoke at DB Global, a software company in Cary.

They launched their initiative to sit down with business leaders statewide and find out the type of talent employers are looking to hire.

McCrory says this plan is aimed at streamlining education on all levels with the skills needed to land a job.

“If you’re a company that only reacts to change, you’re going to lose your competition. The company that anticipates that change and influences that change are going to be the strongest in the future. I feel that way about N.C.,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.

The initiative will also addresses the need to attract more venture capital for start-up companies.

The two also had in stops in Charlotte and the Triad to announce the plan.

They’ll visit 1,000 business throughout the state’s 100 counties in a 100 days to find out what community colleges and universities can offer to better prepare students for jobs.

– Linnie Supall

Gov. McCrory Travels Across NC to Deliver Transportation Vision

WILMINGTON — Gov. Pat McCrory is traveling around the state Wednesday delivering a “25-year vision” of transportation initiatives.

State leaders presented what they’re calling the road map for North Carolina’s future.

Gov. Pat McCrory and transportation secretary Tony Tata are traveling the state unveiling their long-term transportation plan.

They spoke in Wilmington and Greenville Wednesday morning. The governor said the plan is meant to improve safety and congestion, as well as create jobs. McCrory said the plan addresses traveling to and from Charlotte to Wilmington.

The governor said as it stands at the moment it is easier to get from the port in Charleston to Charlotte than from the port in Wilmington.

McCrory said in order for the plan to work, it will be important to consider private-public partnerships and will ask the legislature to approve a $1 billion bond.

“So we can get those projects off the drawing board. They are literally stagnant right now getting cobwebs around them and it’s costing us a lot more money by not building them now and we need to take advantage of the low interest rates now and free up that money as soon as possible,” said McCrory.

The governor said the projects funded by the bond would create between 40,000 and 50,000 jobs.

His trips also include an appearance at Smith-Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem and a stop in Asheville. The governor’s camp said each stop focuses on specific ideas for that area.

– Breanna Walden

McCrory Will Not Call General Assembly Back for Special Session

RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory will not call the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session, he announced in a video released Friday.

In McCrory’s video, he said he will only call the legislature back if there is a major economic development project in the works.

“It would counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted,” McCrory said. “And after a lengthy session, they need a break, and, frankly, I need a break from them.”

There was speculation the governor might do so to reauthorize economic development funds set to expire this year. The state house and senate did not reach an agreement on renewing the funds before ending the session in August.

McCrory also said he will bring back several issues to the General Assembly when it reconvenes in January. Among them is his career plan for teachers, a new program for preserving historic buildings and tougher regulations on puppy mills.