Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory used one of Scotland County’s most successful businesses as a backdrop for a point he was trying to drive home on Tuesday — North Carolina needs to grow its private sector.
“If we quit making things we are in trouble,” said McCrory from the busy factory floor of Service Thread in Laurinburg.
McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, spent an hour meeting with employees and learning about Service Thread’s line of products. McCory had come to one of the counties hit hardest by the recession. Scotland County has the highest unemployment rate in North Carolina at 17.6 percent. McCrory stressed the theme of private sector growth throughout his visit.
“You can’t grow your way out of the recession with government jobs. I want to grow private sector, understanding that increases revenue for the government to buy things like sheriff’s cars,” McCrory said.
McCrory said there is too much focus on service industry and government jobs.
“Not discrediting those jobs, but you have to have create things and innovate,” McCrory said. “I get out in the field and see it firsthand. Even when they do have openings, sometimes have difficulties finding a qualified employee.”
McCrory also took the time to praise Service Thread’s ability to adapt in the changing economy.
“That’s one thing about the culture that we have got to change. We have go to learn to adapt,” McCrory said.
McCrory was given a tour of the company’s King Street facility by president and owner Chip Butler and Jay Todd, Service Thread’s Chief Operating Officer.
“It’s all been done the hard way here at Service Thread,” said Todd, saying that while small, the company is “home grown.”
“We’ve done things the right way,” Todd continued.
The visit concluded with a stop in at the headquarters of the Scotland County GOP where McCrory spoke with more than 50 local Republicans.
At the gathering McCrory voiced his support for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, saying that he is “extremely comfortable running with the Romney-Ryan ticket.” McCrory campaigned with Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan earlier this week.
McCrory also reiterated his message that economic recovery for the state must come from the private sector.
Touting a “business plan to build the economy of North Carolina,” McCrory pointed to states like Louisiana and New Jersey as inspiration for his plan to foster growth in the “neglected small business sector.”
An Elon University poll released Monday shows McCrory with a 15-point advantage over his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton. About 11 percent remain undecided, according to the poll.
Acknowledging that Scotland County has been a traditional Democratic stronghold, McCrory asked area Democrats to consider what their party has done for them.
“The Democrats that they’ve been voting for haven’t done the job. They’ve let you down,” McCrory said. “I was beat badly here in ‘08, but I’m not going to give up on this area.”
Following his stop in Scotland County McCrory headed for Robeson County, where he visited Robeson Community College.
According to McCrory, rewarding educational institutions for the number of people they place in jobs will be vital to the North Carolina economy if he is successful on Nov. 6.
“This is where you need executive leadership to connect the two. I want to get students jobs, not have them move back in with their parents,” McCrory said.