Politics & Government
7:20 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Democratic Gov Candidates Debate Jobs, Trade

The three top Democrats in the race for Governor squared off again last night. UNC TV hosted the second of three nights of debates. Gurnal Scott reports on the issue that two of the candidates hoped would separate them from the third.

Gurnal Scott: We've heard Gov. Bev Perdue say it often. The state's focus should be jobs, jobs, jobs. Two of the men seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed her laid some of the blame for the state's job losses squarely at the feet of the third. Lt. Governor Walter Dalton cited then-Congressman Bob Etheridge's yes vote on a 2003 U.S. trade deal with Chile and Singapore as one reason jobs left the state.

Walter Dalton: Bobby had voted with Bush on that and was the only Democrat in North Carolina to do that. It sent our jobs overseas. It hurt our farmers.

State Representative Bill Faison said he, as governor, would try to look beyond the urban areas to get many of those jobs back.

Bill Faison: We've got to have manufacturing in rural North Carolina to support our people. They are hurting. Use the business incubator systems that we already have in place through our universities to start business in North Carolina and put people back to work.

Etheridge defended his vote nine years ago by saying it helped increase exports by almost 70 percent..and North Carolina benefited from it.

Bob Etheridge: The agriculture sector is the number one industry in North Carolina. But it also affected folks here in the Triangle and out west with tech for telecommunications for those folks in the industry for providing technology.

The three candidates will have one more chance to state their cases in a debate on WNCN TV in Raleigh tonight before early voting opens tomorrow.