Pat McCrory

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Pat McCrory
Pat McCrory July 2012.jpg
74th Governor of North Carolina
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 58)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ann McCrory
Residence Executive Mansion
Alma mater Catawba College
Religion Presbyterianism[1]
Website Government website
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 Charlotte city councilman from 1989 to 1995. McCrory also received a presidential appointment by 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 statewide office,[6] McCrory became the first mayor of Charlotte to win the state's highest office, as well as the first Republican governor since 1988.

Early life, education and business career[edit]

McCrory was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Audrey and Rollin McCrory.[7] His family moved to North Carolina when he was a child, and he 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-1970s. McCrory lost an initial bid for student-body president before retooling his message to win on a second run.[8]

In 2001, McCrory gave the graduation keynote address at his alma mater, Catawba College. The college then awarded him an honorary doctorate of legal letters.[9] He currently serves as a member of Catawba College's Board of Trustees.[10]

In January 2007, after 28 years with Duke Energy, he retired from 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.[11] In January 2010, he was named a Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives for Charlotte-based law firm Moore & Van Allen PLLC.[4] He is a 2014 Young Leader Alumni member of the American Swiss Foundation[12]

Political career[edit]

Charlotte City Council, 1989–1995[edit]

McCrory began his political career in Charlotte in 1989 when he was elected an At-Large City Councilman. Public safety was among the priority issues he focused on. 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 mayor of the city of Charlotte, succeeding Richard Vinroot, who ran unsuccessfully for the 1996 Republican gubernatorial nomination. At the age of 39, McCrory was the city's youngest mayor.[13] McCrory gained a reputation as a very popular, affable mayor, despite being a Republican in Charlotte, where Democrats and Independents outnumber Republicans three to one.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16][17]

Transportation[edit]

McCrory helped develop Charlotte's 25-year transportation and land-use plan.[citation needed] Working closely with U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, McCrory made efforts to secure $200 million in federal funds for the city's new Lynx Light Rail system. The plan helped expand bus service in Charlotte as well as bringing light rail to the city.[18] The light-rail line has been cited as McCrory's biggest achievement as mayor.[19]

Despite criticism, 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 plans call 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). The entire system is slated for completion by 2034.

Economy[edit]

During McCrory's tenure (1995–2009), 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 has also been involved in many national organizations, having served as 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; 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]

As mayor, McCrory spearheaded the effort with local business leaders, local officials, and NASCAR teams to bring the NASCAR Hall of Fame to Charlotte. On March 6, 2006, Charlotte beat out Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Kansas City, and Richmond, Virginia, to be home to the Hall of Fame.[20] The Hall, designed by world-renowned architecture firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, held its grand opening on May 11, 2010.[21] On a stage outside the Hall, former mayor McCrory and current mayor Anthony Foxx joined Charlotte-area dignitaries, along with representatives of NASCAR's past and present, for the hour-long opening ceremony. On May 27, 2012, McCrory served as 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 new residential development, along with a Sidewalk Policy that required sidewalks in every new subdivision and provided funding for sidewalks in neighborhoods without them. He also worked to integrate bike lanes into the city's transportation policy, establishing 42 miles of bike lanes throughout the city.[22]

In 2003, McCrory was the recipient of the national Homeownership Hero Award, recognizing his work in leading Charlotte to have one of the highest homeownership 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. The Mayor's Mentoring Alliance has grown to include 40 youth-serving and mentoring organizations, among them 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.[23]

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 had begun campaigning.[24] A 2007 Rasmussen Reports poll had McCrory leading both major Democratic candidates, Bev Perdue and Richard H. Moore, by three points each.[25]

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.[26] He announced his candidacy in his hometown of Jamestown on January 15, 2008.[27]

In the primary election on May 6, 2008, McCrory defeated four opponents, including State Senator Fred Smith, to win the Republican nomination for Governor.[28] During the primary, McCrory was criticized for lacking conservative credentials and for the high taxes and large debt accrued in Charlotte while he was mayor.[29] McCrory countered with negative ads against his foremost opponent, Sen. Fred Smith, inaccurately accusing Smith of running up state debt while in the legislature.[30]

In the general election, Democratic lieutenant governor Bev Perdue raised $5.6 million and ran attack ads against McCrory, criticizing him on various issues.[31] McCrory later referred to the ads as "shameless, inaccurate, and negative", and in the last week of the campaign responded with his own negative ad, in which he proudly claimed to have never run a negative ad, moments before making misleading attacks against Perdue.[32][33] Despite a "national Democratic tide" and Perdue's fundraising edge,[34] McCrory led Perdue at first; Perdue slowly gained with help from Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate.[35] Perdue and McCrory remained close, with the two often polling in a statistical tie[34] in what was the tightest race for governor in the nation.[31] 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 for attack ads on Perdue.[36] Perdue ran slightly behind her opponent in polls released the week before the election.[34] Pundits speculated that Perdue was hurt by belonging to the same party as the increasingly unpopular incumbent Governor Mike Easley, and by McCrory's efforts to tag her as part of corruption in Raleigh. Consultants also mentioned Perdue's "difficulty of being the candidate of continuity in a change election."[35]

In October 2008, McCrory received the endorsement of most major newspapers in the state, which typically endorse Democrats.[37] McCrory's candidacy for governor was endorsed by the Raleigh News and Observer,[38] the Charlotte Observer,[39] the Greensboro News & Record,[40] the Winston-Salem Journal,[41] and the UNC-Chapel Hill Daily Tar Heel.[14]

Even so, Perdue squeaked out a win, with 2,146,083 votes (50.27%) to McCrory's 2,001,114 (46.88%),[42] in what turned out to be the closest gubernatorial election in the United States in 2008. McCrory failed to win even 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.[43] 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 his brother's consulting firm, and also joined the law firm of Moore Van Allen.[44] McCrory also began to pave the way for a possible 2012 gubernatorial campaign by remaining active in the North Carolina Republican Party.[45] He spoke at numerous GOP county and district conventions and dinners, as well as the 2009, 2010 & 2011 State GOP conventions.[46] 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 such as North Carolina's Alcoholic Beverage Control system, job creation, and energy exploration.[47][48] 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, both of whom hail from the Charlotte area and are close friends of McCrory's.[49]

2012 campaign[edit]

Sitting governor Bev Perdue declined to seek re-election in 2012.[50] McCrory then announced his candidacy for governor on January 31, 2012.[51] On May 8, 2012, he won the Republican primary with 83.40% of the vote.[52] McCrory went on to defeat Democratic lieutenant governor Walter Dalton in the general election, 55%–45%.[53]

Issues[edit]

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

McCrory publicized his positions on the economy and education in two white papers. One was called "The North Carolina Comeback" and focused on economic recovery. In it he stated that he would work to get the unemployment rate below South Carolina's and also to restructure the North Carolina's tax codes.[55]

The other paper, "A Passion for Education," advocated several areas for reform: more classroom technology, such as virtual courses and hand-held technology; teacher merit-pay systems; and expansion of charter schools. McCrory also suggested stopping social promotion of some students and creating a new method of grading schools.[56]

Campaign finance[edit]

The Raleigh News & Observer reported that McCrory would declare 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.[57] For 2012, the North Carolina Board of Elections required second-quarter campaign-finance reports to be filed by July 11.[58] In the first-quarter campaign-finance reports, McCrory showed that his campaign added at least $1 million more to its bottom line than Dalton's campaign.[59][60] 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.,[61][62] the first Republican Governor of the state since James G. Martin left office on January 9, 1993.[63]

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.[64]

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. The cut prevents 170,000 North Carolinians from benefiting from federal emergency extended benefits, which require a minimum of 26 weeks of state support, but also allows the state's unemployment fund, which had become bankrupt over the course of the recession, to become solvent three years sooner. The move was criticized by some for passing up federal support and weakening the government safety net when the state had the nation's 5th-highest unemployment.[65][66]

In March 2013, citing concerns about the sustainability of the program, McCrory signed a bill that opted the state out of the expanded Medicaid program of the Affordable Care Act of 2009, which would have provided healthcare coverage to 500,000 North Carolinians.[67][68] He has also proposed managing Medicaid accounts, by enrolling patients in managed-care programs run by private companies.[69]

In May 2013, McCrory signed a North Carolina adaptation of Caylee's Law after receiving unanimous consent in the General Assembly.[70] Caylee's Law had been enacted by several state legislatures in response to the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, which garnered national attention. The law makes a parent/caregiver who deliberately fails to report their child missing guilty of a Class I Felony, among other felonious acts such as concealing the death of a child under the new law.[71]

McCrory signed into law a bill repealing the state's Racial Justice Act of 2009. The law was unique in that it allowed inmates facing the death penalty to use statistics to challenge their sentences on the basis of racial discrimination.[72]

He signed legislation that will require voters to present government-issued photo identification in order to vote, will repeal same-day voter registration, and will reduce the number of days of early voting.[64]

In July 2013, McCrory signed tax reform legislation that created a modified flat-tax system for the state by specifying a single income-tax rate and a larger standard deduction but eliminating the personal exemption. It also repealed North Carolina's estate tax.[73]

In August 2013, McCrory signed into law the Regulatory Reform Act of 2013. The legislation, according to the bill, was "an act to improve and streamline the regulatory process in order to stimulate job creation, to eliminate unnecessary regulation, to make various other statutory changes, and to amend certain environmental and natural resource laws."[74] The law requires all previous rules and regulations not mandated by federal law to be reviewed over ten years by the Rules Review Commission through a three-step process.[75]

In June 2014, McCrory signed the Energy Modernization Act of 2014 into law. The bill allows hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in the state, and criminalizes the disclosure of fracking chemicals, lifting a 2012 moratorium that blocked fracking permits. “We remain intensely focused on creating good jobs, particularly in our rural areas," McCrory said. “We have watched and waited as other states moved forward with energy exploration, and it is finally our turn. This legislation will spur economic development at all levels of our economy, not just the energy sector.” Once the state completes its regulations, the law will allow for permits to be issued without additional approval . The bill also criminalizes the disclosure of chemicals or substances used by oil and gas companies during the fracking process. The legislation also bans local governments from interfering with oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities.[76]

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.[77] 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.[78]

In June 2014, McCrory vetoed a bill because of a provision altering the makeup of the Division of Employment Security Board of Review.[79]

On May 28, 2015, McCrory vetoed a bill that would have allowed magistrates with religious objections to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.[80] The next day, McCrory vetoed a variation on an "ag-gag" bill.[81] Both of these vetoes were overridden by the legislature.[82][83]

Education[edit]

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 public-school teacher in North Carolina currently makes almost $10,000 less than the average teacher nationwide,[84] and the state ranks 47th in the nation for teacher pay.[85] School districts are authorized to give $500-per-year raises to up to 25% of teachers.[85] 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,[85] and 3,800 teaching-assistant positions were eliminated.[86]

"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 Monday" civil disobedience protests, organized in part by local religious leaders[87][88] including William Barber II, 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,[89] and police have estimated weekly attendance at over 2,500.[90] Cited reasons for the protests include legislation recently passed or proposed changes to Medicaid, changes to voting regulations, school vouchers, and tax reform.[87][88] McCrory has criticized the protests as unlawful and a drain on state resources,[89] and has declined to meet with them,[88] later stating "outsiders are coming in and they're going to try to do to us what they did to Scott Walker in Wisconsin."[91] The vast majority of attendees are North Carolina residents.[92] 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.”[93]

In June of 2013, North Carolina-based recording artist and producer Jon Lindsay, along with Whiskeytown member Caitlin Cary, founded the NC Music Love Army, a large collective of prominent activist musicians from or based in NC who oppose the policies of McCrory and the GOP "supermajority" currently in command of NC politics. The group - initially created to make original protest music in support of the Forward Together Moral Mondays Movement - has since branched out to include activist efforts beyond their work with the NAACP, having amassed a total of 9 releases as of 2015. Their music has been featured on national TV networks - ABC, CNN - on programs like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show, and has provided inspiration for similarly successful artist-led movements in other states. Written by Lindsay and featuring American Aquarium and Caitlin Cary, the NCMLA single "Dear Mr. McCrory" likens the intentions of the Governor's "Voter ID" bill to the notorious segregationist George Wallace blocking the schoolhouse doors at the University of Alabama in 1963 during the Civil Rights Movement in a failed attempt to prevent the integration of African American students. The song charted on college radio, and the efforts of the NCMLA to directly engage McCrory and his administration thru music have been recognized by Salon, Yahoo News, and many outlets in the national media. Lindsay and the NCMLA have presented their original protest music at Moral Monday and "HK on J" rallies for crowds of up to 30,000 attendees. They have also performed inside the NC State Capitol building, and several times inside the NCGA, singing for the news media during press conferences, and even directly into the open offices of Legislators who refuse to give protestors a formal audience. McCrory's claims to have attended such events are disputed and widely regarded as false.[94]

Pardons[edit]

Two men — Henry L. McCollum and his half-brother, Leon Brown — both exonerated on the basis of DNA evidence in September 2014 by a judge with the cooperation of the DA — were, as of March 2015, awaiting the governor's pardon and the wrongful-conviction compensation that would flow from the pardon. The prosecutor in the 1984 trial, Joe Freeman Britt - a distant relative of the current DA, Johnson Britt - opposed the pardon and compensation in 2015.[95]

Controversies[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."[96]

In July 2013 McCrory signed into law legislation which required abortion providers to meet the same standards as surgical centers, allowed health-care providers to decline to perform abortions, and prevented any public health-insurance policy from paying for abortions. Abortion-rights groups criticized McCrory, who had promised 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.”[97] A WRAL factcheck found that the legislation did break McCrory's campaign promise.[98]

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!"[99]

Following a February 2, 2014, coal-ash spill that 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 said his administration had intervened on Duke's behalf to settle lawsuits over environmental violations.[100][101] The US Attorney subpoenaed 23 officials of the McCrory administration and sought records of "investments, cash or other items of value” passed from Duke to McCrory administration officials.[102] Duke Energy was fined $99,111 for leaks from ponds at two power plants; the amount was part of a deal made by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' secretary, John E. Skvarla III.[103]

In August 2014, McCrory announced that he had previously owned more than $10,000 in Duke Energy stock and that he sold the stock after the coal-ash spill without disclosing the sale in state ethics filings. His lawyer stated that the mistake was based on the lawyer's misunderstanding of the timeframe covered by the earlier disclosures.[104]

Approval ratings[edit]

According to polling by the Civitas Institute, McCrory's approval rating during his first year in office fell 15 percentage points to 49% between June and July 2013.[105] 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 approved of the Republican-led state government.[106] At the start of April 2015, a Public Policy Polling poll found McCrory to have an approval rating of 36% and a disapproval rating of 45%. Despite these ratings, the same poll found McCrory to lead a Democratic Party gubernatorial contender, NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, by a slim margin of 44% to 41%.[107]

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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
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Patrick Ballantine
Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
2008, 2012
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