12/05/05 — Griffin will take on Pate for N.C. legislature

View Archive

Griffin will take on Pate for N.C. legislature

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on December 5, 2005 1:46 PM

Leadership skills earned through nearly 40 years in the military would make him a good state representative, retired Brig. Gen. Ronnie Griffin says.

Griffin, a Democrat, announced last week that he will run for the District 11 seat in the statehouse currently held by Republican Louis Pate. He received an endorsement from Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue at a recent campaign kickoff luncheon.

The filing period begins at noon Feb. 13 and runs until noon on Feb. 28. District 11 includes most of Wayne County, except the southeastern portion, and most of Goldsboro.

Griffin said he became interested in politics while serving as a veterans services officer in the N.C. National Guard. But because of his military connections, he steered clear of getting involved. Following retirement, he decided to seek a seat in the Legislature.

"For over 38 years, I've been involved in service to United States and a large portion of that to the state of North Carolina. I think the main thing is that leadership -- the amount of leadership training I've had," Griffin said, describing why he would make a good representative.

"And I've also had the opportunity to deal with everybody. As a deputy active general, I met with many, many mayors throughout the state, all congressional delegations at one time or another, members of the state house and senate and the governor on many occasions."

Griffin, 60, said he wants to continue to serve the public.

"I just don't want to retire from public service. I want to do more. I feel I've got a lot to offer. I think I'm right at the point where I've got more experience than I've ever had in my life. It doesn't make sense to retire and go home with that," he said.

A native of Columbus, Ga., Griffin served in the Marine Corps and saw action in Vietnam before being commissioned in the National Guard.

He is a graduate of Liberty University, the U.S. Army Command and Staff College, the U.S. Army War College and the Senior Executives in National and International Security Course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Griffin operates a novelty license-plate distribution business and said he understands the burdens facing a small business owner. Lawmakers are eager to improve education and opportunity for their constituents, he said, but North Carolina's leaders must also be aware that if taxpayers are overburdened, those goals will remain out of reach.

"With state taxes, the answer is not necessarily to cut taxes or raise more money, the answer is to prioritize our needs in North Carolina and live within our needs and tax budget. The tax income, to be fair and balanced, needs to be fair to business people. As a business man in Wayne County, I understand that, but it also needs to be fair to the individual taxpayer," Griffin said.

Improving education would have a direct effect on improving the state's economy and the standard of living of its people, Griffin said.

"If we are going to do all of that, we need an educated workforce."

Griffin said money from a lottery will help schools. He said if he is elected he would not vote to cut other sources of school revenue.

Health care is another issue Griffin said he is passionate about. In particular, he said he feels every child in the state should have health insurance. Along with a complete education, Griffin believes every child should have access to medication to keep healthy, including mental health as well.

"I am very concerned about Cherry Hospital -- the age of Cherry Hospital, the buildings. Obviously, eastern North Carolina deserves the best mental health care it can get. Every family, or almost every family, is affected by some kind of mental illness and we need the best," Griffin said.

Griffin said that he would represent all constituents.

"I don't think I do all that well with labels. What matters is that you go to Raleigh and be effective. Go to Raleigh and lead. Go to Raleigh and serve the people of Wayne County. You've got to serve them effectively. That's the key. Effective representation is what the folks want here and I'm going to offer that."