Gov. Pat McCrory was welcomed with pomp at New Bern’s Tryon Palace Tuesday for his Eastern North Carolina inaugural visit.
“I’m here for two reasons,” McCrory told area officials greeting him as the Palace Fife and Drum Crops led him onto the Palace steps. “To recognize the history of this great state and to listen to the people of this area, the mayors and commissioners and others with ideas about how to fix some of the issues with the economy Eastern North Carolina faces.”
The Republican governor officially inaugurated Saturday in the old Capitol Building in Raleigh, made New Bern one of his three inaugural stops, and he quickly dispelled any thought that his pick was because it’s the hometown of previous Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.
“I will be back many times; get your guest room ready,” McCrory said, looking at Craven County Republican Party Chairman and Trent Woods Mayor Chuck Tyson. “I promise.”
A promise he will keep quickly as he is expected to be in Havelock on Jan. 25 for the Eastern Carolina Aviation Heritage Foundation gala.
New Bern Mayor Lee Bettis praised the job McCrory did in 14 years as Charlotte’s mayor to make the Queen City a “diamond.” Bettis urged McCrory to think of New Bern and Eastern North Carolina as he watched the sunrise from the Governor’s Mansion and view them as his “diamonds in the rough.”
McCrory said the goals of the state can be accomplished only with everyone working together.
“The election is over,” McCrory told. “We have got a lot of work to do.”
Before greeting the crowd of well wishers, McCrory met with members of the media. Then, in a closed session with area elected leaders, he discussed his need for their input in solving state problems.
New Bern Alderman Dana Outlaw said McCrory talked about the need to compete for business across state lines and the importance of protecting North Carolina’s military installations.
McCrory said he would conduct a total review of state assets and that he has had a citizen review of state government operations and policies ongoing for the five weeks. He will be hearing the reports and recommendations of those conducting them without charge, including their expenses, next week and looking to move quickly.
McCrory said he sees “immediate fires” he must address as chief executive, including learning two days ago that the Department of Health and Human Services’ new information system expected to come online in three months is not working properly.
“I’m going to deal with the short-term problems so we can look at long-term solutions,” he said.
“The East is going to be part of the recovery and I hope it leads the recovery,” McCrory said. “We will be discussing process and strategy, and I will encourage the private sector to be part of the solution.”