Smith shares platform for campaign
By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on March 25, 2007 2:13 AM
RALEIGH -- With his family around him and the house he grew up in at his back, state Sen. Fred Smith, R-Johnston, announced Friday that he was running for governor.
Looking toward his mother, a house matron at the Borden House -- once part of the Methodist Orphanage in Raleigh where his father also served as a teacher and coach -- Smith, 65, said it is his parents' example that is inspiring him to run for the state's highest public office.
"This is a very special place to me. My mother and dad came here to build a lifetime of service to others. Together they taught all of us the importance of a good education, lessons about integrity and honesty and the importance of having confidence in ourselves," said Smith, a Johnston County developer. "I watched my parents ... and I began to hope that one day I could follow their example.
"That's why I decided to run for public office.
"That's why in this place, with a tradition of serving others, I am announcing that I am a candidate for governor of the great state of North Carolina."
But that wasn't all he said.
Smith also began laying out his vision for North Carolina's future and making his case for why a Republican should live in the governor's mansion for the first time since 1993.
"We just need to change management," Smith said. "Can you imagine what we could do for this state if the governor understood that we need to empower people and not big government?"
To do that, he explained, education needs to be made more child-centered, personal property needs to be protected, people need choices for affordable health care, drug laws need to be stiffened, Jessica's laws need to be strengthened and the people need the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
He also said that illegal immigration needs to be controlled, clean water and air need to be provided, energy independence needs to be worked toward and small business owners need the government to control its spending and work to decrease taxes, regulation and litigation.
"Can you imagine what we could do for this state if the government protected people instead of protecting big government?" he asked the crowd of about 30 supporters. "We need to empower, protect and trust people."
He also said that the state needed to continue to work to support its military bases in preparation for another Base Realignment and Closing Commission.
"You never know what needs there might be in the future," said Smith, who is also a former lawyer in the U.S. Army JAG Corps. "You just have to have the attitude that you're going to do what it takes.
"I'm a strong believer in the military. The people of this state have a strong tradition of supporting the military. The military is the second largest economic engine in our state."
Confronting those issues, he continued, will take a strong leader who is accustomed to overcoming challenges.
"I believe that North Carolina needs a leader who has a positive vision and the tenacity and the courage to make tough decisions and get results," Smith said. "I started at the bottom of the ladder, and I have faced many challenges in my life.
"Our ancestors were a tenacious and hardworking people who fought to make sure their values and principles were upheld. I think it is important our governor understand and reflect the values of our people."
And, while he acknowledged the challenges facing him -- maintaining his state Senate seat and running his business, all while growing his name-recognition across the state as a Republican candidate -- he said he's prepared.
"Every day has two seven-hour work days," he said. "I will make only one promise.
"In this race I will work harder than any other candidate and if the people of this great state put their trust in me, I will work all day and every day to make North Carolina the very best state it can possibly be. I am committed to winning."
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