Jim Hunt gives UNC board a pep talk

11/07/2013 5:41 PM

11/07/2013 5:43 PM

Former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt, a Democrat, had an invitation and a little friendly advice Thursday for the UNC system’s Board of Governors, which is majority Republican.

Speaking at the new N.C. State University library that bears his name, Hunt invited the board to the Emerging Issues Forum in February, which focuses on recruiting, retaining and supporting “world-class” teachers for North Carolina’s public schools.

And he had a message about economic development in a post-recession North Carolina. The university system is the key to luring business and creating the jobs of the future, he said.

“Folks, I tell you, that’s the most attractive thing about this state. That’s the most important thing in building our economy,” he told the board. “It really is. Having excellence, having the best people.”

He said the board should raise its voice to the legislature to pump more money into the universities.

“I hope that you all will tell the folks downtown that we’ve had enough cuts,” he said. “It’s time now to increase the funding for the university system. I don’t want these other states – which are now beginning to do that more than we are – I don’t want them to get ahead of us.”

He got a standing ovation.

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