Pat McCrory

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Pat McCrory
Pat McCrory July 2012.jpg
74th Governor of North Carolina
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 5, 2013
Lieutenant Dan Forest
Preceded by Bev Perdue
53rd Mayor of Charlotte
In office
December 7, 1995 – December 7, 2009
Preceded by Richard Vinroot
Succeeded by Anthony Foxx
Personal details
Born Patrick Lloyd McCrory
(1956-10-17) October 17, 1956 (age 57)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Republican
Residence Executive Mansion
Alma mater Catawba College
Religion Presbyterianism[1]
Website www.governor.state.nc.us Governor website
www.patmccrory.com Campaign website

Patrick Lloyd "Pat" McCrory (born October 17, 1956) is an American politician and the 74th Governor of North Carolina. He previously worked for Duke Energy and served a record 14 years as the 53rd Mayor of Charlotte from 1995 to 2009, and as a city councilman from 1989 to 1995. McCrory also received a presidential appointment by president George W. Bush to serve on the United States Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) from 2002-2006.

McCrory was the Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina in the 2008 general election and was narrowly defeated by then-Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue.[2][3] After the 2008 election, McCrory returned to the private sector.[4] On January 31, 2012, he launched his second campaign for governor.[5] While mayors of Charlotte have had trouble winning state-wide office,[6] McCrory became the first mayor of Charlotte to win the state's highest office, as well as the first Republican elected Governor since 1988.

Early life, education and business career[edit]

McCrory graduated from Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, North Carolina. He attended Catawba College in Salisbury, NC where he received degrees in Political Science and Education. McCrory was active in the Student Government Association and was part of a conservative backlash to the growing "hippie" culture at Catawba in the mid-1970's. McCrory lost an initial bid for Student Body President before retooling his message to win on a second run. [7]

In 2001, McCrory gave the graduation ceremony keynote address at his alma mater, Catawba College. The college then awarded him an honorary doctorate of legal letters.[8] He currently serves as a member of Catawba College's Board of Trustees.[9]

In January 2007, he retired from Duke Energy after 28 years with the company, to run full-time for governor. In January 2009, McCrory was named a Partner with Charlotte-based McCrory & Company, a sales consulting firm.[10] In January 2010, McCrory was named a Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives for Charlotte-based law firm Moore & Van Allen PLLC. McCrory will continue to participate as a partner with McCrory & Company.[4]

Political career[edit]

Charlotte City Council, 1989–1995[edit]

McCrory began his political career in Charlotte in 1989 when he was elected as an At-Large City Councilman. Public safety was among the priority issues he focused on early in his political career. He was re-elected in 1991 and 1993, and served as Mayor Pro Tem from 1993–1995.

Mayor of Charlotte, 1995–2009[edit]

In 1995, he was elected the city of Charlotte's mayor, succeeding Richard Vinroot, who ran unsuccessfully for the 1996 Republican gubernatorial nomination. At the age of 39, he was the city's youngest mayor.[11] McCrory was a very popular, affable mayor, despite the fact that he was a Republican in Charlotte, where Democrats and independents outnumber Republicans three to one.[12] From 1995 to 2007, he never won under 56 percent of the vote, and won 78 percent of the vote in 1997. In the 2007 mayoral election, he defeated seven-term Democratic state Rep. Beverly Earle, 61 to 39 percent.[13]

McCrory Mayoral Electoral Success.jpg

McCrory announced in late 2008, shortly after his gubernatorial campaign, that he would not seek an eighth term. McCrory is the city of Charlotte's longest serving mayor.[14][15]

Transportation[edit]

McCrory helped develop Charlotte's 25-year transportation and land use plan.[citation needed] By working closely with the help of U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, McCrory made efforts to secure $200 million in federal funds for the city's new Lynx Light Rail system. This plan help expand bus service in Charlotte and brought light rail to the city.[16] McCrory's biggest achievement as mayor was the light rail line.[17]

Despite the criticism, the light-rail proved to be financially successful, and there are currently 15 stations in the system, which carries an average of 20,000 passengers per day (2009). Future expansion includes plans for light rail, commuter rail, streetcars and bus rapid transit along the five corridors in the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan adopted in 2006 by Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC). Build-out of the entire system is presently estimated for completion by 2034.

Economy[edit]

From 1995-2009 (McCrory's tenure), Charlotte's population grew by 20%, and the population of Uptown Charlotte increased to over 13,000 people. McCrory led the effort to recruit such companies as TIAA-CREF, General Dynamics Armament, The Westin Hotel, and Johnson & Wales University. He was also instrumental in the development of the new Charlotte Arena and the U.S. Whitewater Center. In 2005, Money magazine listed Charlotte in its Top 3 Best Places to Live and Reader's Digest named it one of the 20 Cleanest Cities in America.

National involvement and Homeland Security[edit]

McCrory is involved in many national organizations, including service as: Past-president of the Republican Mayors and Local Officials (RMLO) organization; chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Committee for Housing and Community Development; the past six-term Chair of the USCM Environmental Committee; and founder and inaugural Chairman of the North Carolina Metropolitan Coalition. McCrory was also the only elected official to serve on the national board of the Afterschool Alliance and was a featured Mayor in Harvard University's Faith-based Executive Session.

Since the September 11 attacks in 2001, McCrory has been heavily involved with Homeland Security efforts. In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed McCrory to the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council alongside Mitt Romney, Sonny Perdue, and Lee H. Hamilton.

NASCAR Hall of Fame[edit]

Mayor McCrory spearheaded the effort with local business leaders, local officials and NASCAR teams to bring the Hall to Charlotte. On March 6, 2006 Charlotte beat out Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Kansas City, and Richmond, Virginia to be home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.[18] The hall, designed by world renowned architecture firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, held its grand opening on May 11, 2010.[19] Former Mayor McCrory, and current Mayor Anthony Foxx joined Charlotte-area dignitaries and representatives of NASCAR's past and present on a stage outside the Hall for the hour-long opening ceremony. On May 27, 2012 Mayor McCrory was the honorary starter for the Coca Cola 600 race.

Awards and local involvement[edit]

McCrory established a Residential Tree Ordinance in 2004, which required developers to save 10% of the trees in every residential development, the establishment of a Sidewalk Policy that requires sidewalks in every new subdivision and provides funding for sidewalks in neighborhood without them. He also worked to integrate bike lanes in the City's transportation policy, establishing 42 miles of bike lanes throughout the city.[20]

In 2003, McCrory was the recipient of the national Home-ownership Hero Award recognizing his work in leading Charlotte to have one of the highest home-ownership rates in the country.

McCrory founded the Mayor's Mentoring Alliance in 1995 and has personally served as a Mentor to two youths. In 2005, Charlotte was named in the 100 Best Communities for Youth by America's Promise. His Mayor's Mentoring Alliance has grown to include 40 youth-serving and mentoring organizations, including Time Warner Cable's "Time To Read" program. An additional partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department initiated "Gang of One," an after-school gang-prevention and intervention program that works to keep children from joining gangs or helps lead them away from gang life.[21]

McCrory has been involved in many local charity boards and served as the honorary chair for the Charlotte chapter of the Alzheimer's Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation.

Gubernatorial campaigns[edit]

2008 campaign[edit]

McCrory reportedly commissioned a poll to test the waters for a run for Governor in November 2007, shortly after his seventh mayoral re-election victory, but well after other Republican gubernatorial candidates began campaigning.[22] A 2007 Rasmussen Reports poll had McCrory leading both major Democratic candidates, Bev Perdue and Richard H. Moore by three points each.[23]

The Raleigh News & Observer reported on January 9, 2008 that McCrory had filed the necessary paperwork with the State Board of Elections to run for Governor.[24] He announced that he was running in his hometown of Jamestown on January 15, 2008.[25]

In the primary election on May 6, 2008, McCrory defeated four opponents, including State Senator Fred Smith, to win the Republican nomination for Governor.[26] During the primary McCrory was criticized for lacking conservative credentials and for the high taxes and large debt in Charlotte while he was Mayor.[27] McCrory countered with negative ads against his foremost opponent, Sen. Fred Smith that inaccurately claimed he ran up state debt in the state legislature.[28]

In the general election, Democratic lieutenant governor Bev Perdue raised $5.6 million and ran attack ads against McCrory, criticizing him on various issues.[29] McCrory later referred to these ads as "shameless, inaccurate, and negative", and in the last week of the campaign countered with his own negative ad in which he proudly claimed to have never run a negative ad, moments before attacking his opponent inaccurately.[30][31] Despite a "national Democratic tide" and Perdue's fundraising edge,[32] McCrory led Perdue at first; Perdue slowly gained with help from Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate.[33] Perdue and McCrory remained close, with the two often polling in a statistical tie[32] in what was the closest race for governor in the nation.[29] The McCrory campaign spent $3.4 million and an independent expenditure funded by the Republican Governor's association assisted McCrory with a further $6.2 million in spending on attack ads on McCrory's opponent.[34] Perdue ran slightly behind her opponent in polls released the week before the election.[32] Pundits speculated that Perdue was hurt by current Democratic Governor Mike Easley's decreasing popularity and McCrory's efforts to tag her as part of corruption in Raleigh—consultants mentioned Perdue's "difficulty of being the candidate of continuity in a change election."[33]

In October 2008, McCrory received the endorsement of most major newspapers in the state, which typically endorse Democrats.[35] McCrory's candidacy for governor was endorsed by the Raleigh News and Observer,[36] the Charlotte Observer,[37] the Greensboro News & Record,[38] the Winston-Salem Journal,[39] and the UNC-Chapel Hill Daily Tar Heel.[12]

Perdue won with 2,146,083 (50.27%) votes, while McCrory carried 2,001,114 (46.88%)[40] in what turned out to be the closest gubernatorial election in the United States in 2008. McCrory failed to win in Charlotte where he had been mayor for 14 years.[3]

2009–2012 interim[edit]

Following his defeat in the 2008 gubernatorial election, McCrory announced that he would not seek a record eighth term as Charlotte Mayor in 2009.[41] Having retired from Duke Energy after 29 years of service in early 2008 to run for governor, McCrory decided to return to the private sector. He went on to work for both his brother's consulting firm, and also joined the law firm of Moore Van Allen.[42] McCrory also began to pave the way for a possible 2012 gubernatorial campaign by remaining active in the North Carolina Republican Party.[43] He has spoken at numerous GOP county and district conventions, dinners, as well as the 2009, 2010 & 2011 State GOP conventions.[44] In 2010 he headlined a bus tour for Americans for Prosperity.[citation needed]

In 2010, McCrory penned several editorial pieces in major North Carolina newspapers, focusing on state issues including North Carolina's Alcoholic Beverage Control system, job creation, and energy exploration.[45][46] After being a centerpiece of the 2010 Republican takeover of the North Carolina Legislature he worked closely with Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis whom he is close friends with both being from the Charlotte area.[47]

2012 campaign[edit]

Sitting governor Bev Perdue declined to seek re-election in 2012.[48] McCrory then announced his candidacy for governor on January 31, 2012.[49] On May 8, 2012 he won the Republican primary election with 83.40% of the vote.[50] McCrory went on to defeat lieutenant governor Walter Dalton in the general election, 55%–45%.[51]

Issues[edit]

McCrory stated his positions on the economy and education in two white papers. One was called, "The North Carolina Comeback" and focused on economic recovery. He stated that he would work to lower the unemployment rate to be below South Carolina's rate and also to restructure the state's tax codes.[52]

The other statement outlined his education reform plan. "A Passion for Education", included four areas for reform. He advocated for more classroom technology such as virtual courses and hand-held technology; teacher merit pay systems; and expansion of charter schools. McCrory suggested stopping social promotion of some students and creating a new method of grading schools.[53]

When asked in a debate what further abortion restrictions he would sign into law if elected, he answered, "None."[54]

Campaign finance[edit]

The Raleigh News & Observer reported McCrory will report adding $2.2 million in the second quarter totaling $4.4 million available for campaign spending with 98 percent of the donors from North Carolina.[55] The North Carolina Board of Elections requires second quarter campaign finance reports be filed by July 11, 2012.[56] In the first quarter campaign finance reports McCrory showed his campaign added at least $1 million more to its bottom line than Dalton's campaign.[57][58] In the first quarter McCrory reported outraising Dalton by more than $1 million. He also reported raising nearly $3 million more than Dalton for the election cycle to date. McCrory reported having $3.1 million cash on hand, and Dalton reported $670,356.14.

Governor of North Carolina[edit]

McCrory took office on January 5, 2013.[59][60] He is the first Republican Governor of the state since James G. Martin left office on January 9, 1993.[61]

Legislation[edit]

McCrory's election marked the first time that Republicans controlled both houses of the General Assembly as well as the governorship since 1870. Since taking office, McCrory has signed into law a number of bills promoting conservative governance.[62]

He signed legislation which made North Carolina the 8th state to cut unemployment benefits since the 2007 start of the Great Recession. In addition to cutting maximum weekly unemployment benefits by 35%, the state reduced the maximum number of weeks of assistance to between 12 and 20, down from 26. This prevents 170,000 North Carolinians from benefiting from federal emergency extended benefits, which require a minimum of 26 weeks of state support. This allows the state's unemployment fund, which became bankrupt over the course of the recession, to become solvent three years sooner. This move was criticized by some for weakening the safety net when the state had the nation's 5th highest unemployment, and for passing up federal support.[63][64]

In March 2013, McCrory signed a bill which opts the state out of the expanded Medicaid program of the Affordable Care Act of 2009, which would have provided health care coverage to 500,000 North Carolinians, citing concerns about the sustainability of the program.[65][66] He has also proposed managing Medicaid accounts, by enrolling patients in managed care programs run by private companies.[67]

McCrory signed into law a bill which repealed the state's Racial Justice Act of 2009. The law, which was repealed, was unique in that it allowed inmates facing the death penalty to use statistics to challenge their sentences on the basis of racial discrimination.[68]

He signed legislation which would require voters to present government-issued photo identification in order to vote, repeal same-day voter registration and limit the number of days of early voting.[62]

In July 2013, McCrory signed tax reform legislation which creates a modified flat tax system for the state by specifying a single income tax rate as well as a larger standard deduction but eliminating the personal exemption. It also repeals the state's estate tax.[69]

Vetoes[edit]

McCrory issued his first veto as Governor in August 2013, of a bill that would have required people applying for welfare benefits to pass a drug test.[70] He later also vetoed a bill that extended from 90 days to nine months the amount of time that an employee could work without undergoing a background check in the E-Verify system. Both vetoes were overridden by the General Assembly in September 2013, meaning that both bills became law.[71]

Education[edit]

In a nationally broadcast radio interview with conservative talk show host William Bennett, McCrory made a series of comments on the future of higher education in North Carolina that generated controversy. McCrory stated that "some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs," and later responded to a comment Bennett made on gender studies courses by saying: "That’s a subsidized course. If you want to take gender studies, that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job."[72] He further stated that he had asked his staff to work on legislation which would allocate money to universities "not based on how many butts in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs". His comments were criticized by a number of academics.[73][74]

A number of education changes were included in the state budget enacted in July 2013. McCrory supports merit-based pay for state teachers, and the 2013 budget for state teachers did not include any raises to base salary. The average state teacher in North Carolina currently makes almost $10,000 less than the average teacher nationwide,[75] and is now ranked 47th in the nation for teacher pay.[76] School districts are authorized to give $500-per-year raises to up to 25% of teachers.[76] Low-income students are now eligible to receive vouchers up to $4,200 toward the cost of attending private schools. Teacher tenure has been replaced with a contract system. State funding for Teach for America has been increased to $6 million,[76] and 3,800 teaching assistant positions were eliminated.[77]

Abortion[edit]

In July 2013 McCrory signed into law legislation which requires abortion providers to meet the same standards as surgical centers, allows health-care providers to decline to perform abortions, and prevents any public health insurance policy for paying for abortions. Abortion-rights groups criticized McCrory, who had stated during his campaign that he would not sign new abortion restrictions. McCrory responded: “This law does not further limit access, and those who contend it does are more interested in politics than the health and safety of our citizens.”[78] A WRAL factcheck found that the legislation did break McCrory's campaign promise. [79]

The day after McCrory signed the bill, he took a plate of chocolate chip cookies to protesters. They were returned to him with a note saying, "Gov. McCrory, we'll take women’s health care over cookies!"[80]

"Moral Mondays" protests[edit]

Main article: Moral Mondays

The bills signed into law by McCrory and proposed legislation have been the target of ongoing "Moral Mondays" civil disobedience protests, organized in part by local religious leaders[81][82] including William Barber, head of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. Since the start of April 2013, more than 800 demonstrators have been arrested in the course of the protests,[83] and police have estimated weekly attendance at over 2,500.[74] Cited reasons for the protests include legislation recently passed or proposed on changes to Medicaid, changes to voting regulations, school vouchers, and tax reform.[81][82] McCrory has criticized the protests as unlawful and a drain on state resources,[83] and has declined to meet with them,[82] later stating "outsiders are coming in and they're going to try to do to us what they did to Scott Walker in Wisconsin."[84] The vast majority of attendees are North Carolina residents.[85] McCrory claims to attend Moral Monday protests often, saying “I go out in the crowd all of the time. Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves ‘moral’ by cussing me out, but that’s the way things go sometimes.”[86]

Federal Investigation of Duke Energy and North Carolina regulators[edit]

Following a February 2nd, 2014 coal ash spill which was the third-largest of its kind in US History, the US Attorney's Office opened a grand jury investigation into Duke Energy and North Carolina regulators in the Administration of Governor Pat McCrory. McCrory had been an employee of Duke Energy for 28 years and critics have said his administration intervened on Duke's behalf to settle lawsuits over environmental violations.[87][88] The US Attorney subpoenaed 23 officials of the McCrory administration and sought records of "investments, cash or other items of value” from Duke to McCrory administration officials.[89] Duke Energy was fined $99,111 for leaks from ponds at the two power plants, belonging to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ’s secretary, Mr. Skvarla,[90]

Approval ratings[edit]

According to polling by the Civitas Institute, McCrory's approval rating fell 15% between June and July 2013 to 49%.[91] A second poll conducted in July 2013 indicated that the Governor's approval rating had fallen to 40%, down from 45% in June. The same poll indicated that only 35% of voters approve of the Republican-led state government. Responding to the poll, McCrory stated "I have stepped on toes in my first six months in office of the right and the left and the media. Maybe that means I’m doing something right."[92]

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External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Vinroot
Mayor of Charlotte
1995–2009
Succeeded by
Anthony Foxx
Party political offices
Preceded by
Patrick Ballantine
Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
2008, 2012
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Bev Perdue
Governor of North Carolina
2013–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within North Carolina
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Andrew Cuomo
as Governor of New York
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside North Carolina
Succeeded by
Lincoln Chafee
as Governor of Rhode Island