04/27/08 — Moore has plan for area, but will not visit

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Moore has plan for area, but will not visit

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on April 27, 2008 2:02 AM

Running with a week left before the May 6 primary, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Richard Moore doesn't have any visits to Goldsboro or Wayne County planned, but he says that he is still the most in touch with the needs of eastern North Carolina.

"Each region has its special needs," said Moore, in his second term as state treasurer. "I am from eastern North Carolina, so I don't have to have anyone explain to me how in the 30 years since I graduated from high school our economy has been decimated."

That's why the focus of his campaign has been on finding ways to improve North Carolina's economy, he said.

"Jobs seem to override everywhere. What can the state do with its limited resources right now to help people with their family budget?" he asked. "People want to feel like their government is going to fight for them."

And one way to do that, he added, is to increase the state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour -- tying it to inflation.

"Social Security moves to inflation, why shouldn't the minimum wage?" he said.

His second step is focused on small businesses, which he considers the foundation of the economy.

"I am going to aggressively recruit smaller companies and smaller businesses because those are the kinds of companies that are going to go in my home area (Vance County) and in Goldsboro and in between," he said, adding that he also plans to cut taxes for those small businesses. "I understand the global economy, and I think having that experience and knowing what's going on in the world is the type of skill set the next governor of North Carolina needs to have."

His third step is to cut property taxes in half for residents 65 years old and older who make less than $50,000 a year.

He also is hoping to boost the economy by improving education -- primarily by cutting the dropout rate in half within four years.

"We need real curriculum reform -- real vocational training and real job training," he said.

Moore also is proposing that every student who graduates high school be given the opportunity to attend community college for free -- a $50 million expense he plans to pay for through the annual interest earned by the Golden LEAF Foundation on its $650 million endowment.

"We have a perpetual community college scholarship fund right under our noses if we just choose to use it that way," Moore said. "I haven't proposed a single thing that I haven't proposed how to pay for it."

Which, he added, leads him to a second plank in his platform -- improving the efficiency of the state government. It's something he claims experience at after spending 13 years as the secretary of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety and as state treasurer.

During those years, he cites his top accomplishments as helping to direct the state's response to Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and building what has been called the second best public pension fund in the United States.

That's why he is confident he can reform the wasteful and inefficient cultures of the state Department of Transportation and the state Department of Health and Human Services.

"I'm the only candidate running for governor who has actually run one of these departments, and I've run it very well," he said. "We have to figure out how to make the taxpayer's dollars go further, and I know I can run both of them better."

Other plans, he added, include proposals to eliminate the waiting list for state child care assistance, provide or require coverage for all of North Carolina's children, and improve opportunities for farmers to sell their products and preserve their farmland.

Such proposals are, he explained, products of the time he has spent in Raleigh -- and the reason he wants to run for governor after more than 15 years in state politics.

"I have seen what a difference leadership can make," he said. "I've got to see that leadership really does matter."