Governor McCrory speaks out on Triad Today

by Jim Longworth

Last week Governor Pat McCrory stopped by the abc45 studio to tape a special edition of Triad Today.

It was McCrory’s sixth visit to the program. The unedited half hour discussion will air this weekend. What follows are highlights from my exclusive interview with the Governor.

JL: In light of the Charleston church massacre, would you be in favor of stricter gun policies such as a much longer waiting period, and upping the age limit for gun ownership?

PM: I don’t think we need any new laws, but I do think we shouldn’t weaken the laws that we currently have.

That’s one reason I want the State legislature to continue to allow the sheriffs to do background checks because it’s often our 100 sheriffs in North Carolina who know the background of someone who’s maybe involved in domestic violence, or has mental illness problems which federal background checks don’t always show…The guy who did this terrible crime in Charleston, not only was he a racist, but I also think he had some drug and mental health issues. … Everyone’s talking about the gun issue and the racial issues, but I think there’s some serious drug and mental health issues too.

JL: You’re in favor of banning the Confederate flag from license plates, but –

PN: The battle flag, and that’s from a State sponsored license plate.

JL: I understand, but is that really going to make a difference?

PM: For a shooting like this, no. But the battle flag has been hijacked for the last 50 years by the Klan and now by hate groups. I think we did the right thing by not allowing the battle flag on State sponsored license plates because of the signal it sends. But, at the same time, I think there’s an overreaction on the Left to take it out of war memorials and cemeteries.

JL: Speaking of racial divides, there have been a number of incidents in which a racist White cop shoots or assaults an innocent Black person, and it’s always in a city where Blacks are under represented on the force. Shouldn’t we require local police departments to hire according to the demographic make-up of that city?

PM: I’m not sure that would be legal because then you’d be making an employment decision based upon someone’s skin color …but I’m a firm believer in having a pool of candidates that resembles the community.

JL: Same sex marriage is legal in our State, yet the General Assembly overrode your veto of a bill that will now allow magistrates and register of deeds to opt out of serving same sex couples if it offends their religious sensibilities. Any comment?

PM: I’m conservative when it comes to marriage between a man and a woman, but I believe I was sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of North Carolina…and I don’t think a magistrate should be exempt from that… If you have a job and you swore an oath to the Constitution, you ought to follow it. And if you vehemently disagree with it because of whatever belief, then you ought to quit your job.

JL: The General Assembly is also trying to block you on bringing a bond referendum to the voters. Why do we need the bonds you’re proposing?

PM: I’m a firm believer that we have to invest in the next generation… We’re the ninth most populous State in America, and we haven’t had a bond referendum in fifteen years, and during that fifteen years, we BECAME the ninth most populous State. The first part of the bond is for transportation, and that would, for example, finish I-74 in Winston-Salem which is desperately needed. If we don’t pass the bond, then I-74 won’t be built for another decade. So are we going to prepare for growth, or are we going to react to growth?

JL: Senator Wade finally prevailed and the General Assembly has passed a law that will restructure Greensboro City Council, and essentially strip the Mayor of her power. As a former Mayor and now Governor do you think State government should meddle in local government?

PM: As a conservative I believe in local control, so the Governor and the State legislature shouldn’t meddle in Greensboro City Council business. If they want to do that, then go run for Mayor, go run for City Council. You were elected Senator, so do your job… For whatever reason when some people get power in one area they want to keep the power they might have had from where they lived.

The Governor and I covered a number of other topics during the half hour, including his revised approach to Voter Photo ID’s, the relationship between education and the private sector, and whether he would consider running as Vice President if asked by the party nominee. The full interview can be seen Saturday at 7:30am on WXLV abc45 and again on Sunday at 11am on WMYV MY48.

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11 a.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).