LUMBERTON — Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democratic nominee for state governor, brought his campaign to Robeson County on Thursday, touting the county’s rich history and declaring that job creation and getting the economy back on its feet are his priorities if elected as governor.
“Jobs and the economy are the only the only real issues. I hear that from all across the state,” Dalton told The Robesonian after making brief remarks to a crowd gathered at the county’s Department of Social Services complex to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the county’s founding. “I had challenged my opponent to eight debates on the campuses of the state’s community colleges because they are so involved in job creation. But he refused.”
Dalton said that in spite of Republican Pat McCrory’s refusal to meet him face-to-face on the issues of job creation and improving the economy, he has held town hall meetings across the state to discuss his plans.
“I think the people want a governor that will listen and lead them despite hard times,” he said.
Dalton pointed to an economic development plan he released this week that includes what he said are the “best practical” ways addressed by states “to boost job creation and improve the economy.”
“In my job plans, I recommend refocusing the way we approach economic development so that we’re most strategic in our efforts,” the introduction to Dalton’s plan reads. “I propose ways to retool our policies toward results, ensuring taxpayer dollars are responsibly invested. I advocate for proposals to attract and retain businesses and investors … Finally, our ability to compete rests on having a strong workforce, which is why I suggest ways to retain our workers to meet the needs of our businesses.”
Dalton , a Rutherfordton native, former state senator and the state’s lieutenant governor since 2009, has been recognized nationally for his efforts to improve education and economic development. He wrote the Innovative Education Act, which established the state’s early college system, and established the JOBS (Joining Our Businesses and Schools) Commission, which partners businesses and schools to retool education programs to better fit an evolving job market.
Dalton’s visit to Robeson County on Thursday included a stop at the county’s 225th birthday party, a meeting with local educators, and a fundraiser and general meeting with the public at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Center.
Noah Woods, chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, introduced Dalton at the 225th birthday party as an individual who is known for “using common sense to bring people together.” He also called the lieutenant governor a “tireless advocate for improving the economy” and “one of the greatest champions of the community college system.”
“You have the largest county in the state, one of the most culturally diversified counties, and one of the most historic counties in the state,” Dalton told those listening to his birthday celebration remarks. “… You have a great history, great people, and a great future as we all work together for a better day.”
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.