Gov. Pat McCrory sat down for a Q&A with businessman and alternative education entrepreneur Bob Luddy at the Conservative Leadership Conference dinner on Friday night. The governor echoed familiar themes without bending them to fit the varied agendas of those gathered at the two-day event in a North Raleigh hotel.
Relying again on his favorite phrase about not being afraid to step on toes, McCrory told the crowd of several hundred, “Some of the toes might even be some of the people in this room.”
Still, it was an enthusiastic crowd that responded with applause several times. Here are the highlights:
McCrory: “Well I’ve got to be frank: With Duke Energy’s coal ash spill it wasn’t a perception issue, it was reality. I’m not going to beat around the bush. That needs to be dealt with. We also have to understand that all energy has a negative impact and a positive impact, and we’ve got to balance each one of those, and that’s a fine line we’re all walking.”
McCrory said he hopes to get legislation passed in the short session allowing experimental drilling to test the feasibility of fracking (which received hearty applause), and he also wants to begin testing offshore drilling.
McCrory said the state has to keep up with innovation in education, school choice is good, raising standards to provide more qualified employees and better teachers is also good.
McCrory also said he wants to change the state personnel policy so he can transfer employees more than 35 miles from their current assignments when necessary. “I have political appointments from 15 to 20 years ago I can’t get rid of,” he said.