In accepting the Charlotte Rotary’s top leadership award Tuesday, former N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory twice jokingly brought up last month’s Oscars flub, when presenters initially announced the wrong winner for best picture.
It was a self-deprecating reference to big-name past Rotary winners such as retired Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr. and former Charlotte Mayor John Belk. And an allusion to his close loss in November’s gubernatorial election to Democrat Roy Cooper.
“I’m just waiting for Warren Beatty to come up and say they had the wrong envelope,” said McCrory, referencing the actor who mistakenly declared “La La Land” the winner instead of “Moonlight.”
Speaking to a packed ballroom at a Charlotte country club, McCrory said that he is “not done yet,” despite losing his reelection bid in November – which he said was “almost like the Oscar awards, when they initially said I was the winner.”
Still a Charlotte resident, McCrory said he hasn’t ruled out work in the private-sector – the Republican has previously worked at Duke Energy, the Moore & Van Allen law firm and his brother’s consulting firm. He’s also open to a job in politics on the city, state or federal level.
“I’ve been approached (about federal government positions),” said McCrory, who also served as mayor of Charlotte for 12 years. “I’ve still got a lot of energy to lead and make a difference in our community and state, whether it’s in the public or private sector. I’m exploring a lot of options right now.”
McCrory spoke extensively Tuesday about the importance of teamwork in developing strong leaders, citing former Duke Power CEO Bill Lee, a mentor who helped McCrory network before he ran for Charlotte City Council in the 1980s.
“Our job now is to identify those 20, 30, 40 and 50-year-olds, Democrats and Republicans, black and white, regardless of where they come from, and say ‘Let me help you contribute,’ so that 20 years from now, they might get this award and transfer that skill set to another generation of leaders in Charlotte,” McCrory said.
Since leaving office in January, McCrory has kept mostly out of the media spotlight, save for occasional appearances like his February spot on NBC’s Meet the Press, during which he defended House Bill 2, the controversial measure he signed into law last year that limits the legal rights of LGBT individuals. Many argue the bill contributed to McCrory’s loss in November.
McCrory called the efforts underway in Raleigh to pass a repeal compromise to HB2 a “reasonable alternative.”
“I hope the mayor and the current governor do not block another effort to find resolution. That’s been my hope – I’ve tried two or three times to find resolution, and the governor and the mayor blocked those efforts through pressure and raising a lot of money keeping this issue out front,” McCrory said.