08/25/12 — Here at home: N.C. voters should be focusing on more than presidential ballot

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Here at home: N.C. voters should be focusing on more than presidential ballot

It might seem like a second thought.

After all, with the heat coming from the presidential election, it seems almost unfathomable that there should be anything else that needs our attention.

But, unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which side of the fence you have your chickens, there is a big decision to make in North Carolina this November.

We are supposed to elect a governor -- and make no mistake, it is a big deal, too.

There are some who feel the election is already over, that the misdeeds of the Easley administration coupled with the inertia of the Perdue administration mean that Democrats just don't have enough public trust to pull off a bid for another term in charge.

And judging from the most recent spate of retirements out of the legislature, there seem to be more than a few of the old guard who agree.

And while it seems likely that perhaps there is a need for some new blood in Raleigh, this election should be about more than simply booting out the old and taking a chance that the new will do better.

Just as the presidential election is about taking a stand for the future of this country, so, too, is North Carolina's contest about choosing a path.

We have to decide what we want for this state not just this fall, but in the coming years.

Success in the future will be measured not by the ties we have to Washington, D.C., but rather in the decisions we make about priorities and expectations.

Let's face it, it has always been about jobs and attracting new business investment. That is how you create not only the revenue that is necessary to fund education, to improve infrastructure and to take care of those who need assistance, it is also how you keep this state thriving.

And our military connections must continue to be a priority. There is no place like North Carolina when it comes to taking care of the service members who are stationed here. We need to make sure it stays that way -- and that means putting someone in charge who not only understands the value of the infrastructure we have built, but who is determined to maintain it.

North Carolina has a lot going for it, but like any other state with a bright future, it takes only a couple of dumb decisions to send us down the wrong path and into the same situation that is plaguing other states right now.

We need a fiscal plan that takes into account the fact that taxpayers' pockets are not bottomless, and that holds government and others to frugal, yet responsible, spending plans. We need to ignore free money with strings from Washington and to set about making North Carolina a place where a family can prosper and retirees feel safe calling it home. We need to live within our means, no matter how alluring the other option might be.

If we want to address issues like education, health care and social services costs, we have to talk about the real challenges there, not allow the discussion to get caught in the muck of special interest groups and the blather of those who would rather rail against perceived slights than really come up with a solution to the problem.

We have to be brave, be bold and be sure that we understand that building a better North Carolina might mean some tough decisions.

And that, not the other stuff, the robocalls and the tantalizing party ads, is what we need to think about as we make our own decision at home this fall.

There will be enough gunk to wade through coming out of Washington -- some of it designed to keep seats and majorities.

This vote should be all ours.

And that means understanding first why it matters.

Published in Editorials on August 25, 2012 11:35 PM