Our View: Give us some facts, governor
Our reaction upon first hearing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s comment was: “Well, that’s a pretty irresponsible statement.”
Upon further review: Our call is confirmed.
On Wednesday, the GOP-controlled General Assembly overrode McCrory’s veto of a bill broadening state exemptions for using the federal E-Verify system to check immigration status of workers. During a State Board of Education meeting after the Legislature’s vote, McCrory said:
“Some of the manufacturers in towns like High Point worked hard for this bill because they, frankly, want to hire illegal immigrants as opposed to North Carolina workers and paying good wages.”
It’s ironic that McCrory’s comment came amid an educational setting, because his remarks certainly were neither very smart politically — nor factual.
Checks by the Enterprise on Thursday turned up no reports of High Point area home furnishings industry companies having issues with hiring illegal workers or them indicating a desire to hire illegals instead of North Carolina workers.
Such comments potentially damage home furnishings industry manufacturers and the hardworking Tarheels who are the industry’s backbone. So if McCrory, who grew up in Jamestown, has any evidence to substantiate his accusations, we’d like to see it. On Thursday, the Enterprise asked for evidence. On Thursday, the Enterprise asked for an interview with McCrory. We received neither.
But there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
“We have not had any complaints against workers in the home furnishings industry,” a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Labor told the Enterprise.
Doug Bassett, chairman of the High Point Market Authority board of directors and president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co., and Jaclyn Hirschhaut, vice president of public relations and marketing for the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a major manufacturing trade group based in High Point, said they are not aware of any problems of illegal hiring.
“I think that’s going a bit far afield,” Republican N.C. Rep. John Faircloth of High Point, told WRAL-TV in reaction to McCrory’s comments.
State Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, a GOP leader in the Senate who voted to override the veto, told the Enterprise legislators supported the bill because it gives businesses more time to wade through the federal bureaucracy involved with E-Verify.
“It’s not about illegals and trying to replace American workers. I just want them (businesses) to have time to get the documentation settled,” Tillman told the Enterprise.
Faircloth said the governor had used “unfortunate wording.”
When McCrory painted High Point area home furnishings manufacturers in a bad light, he slammed an industry that has contributed tens of billions of dollars to the state’s economy over more than a century. And it continues to do so, especially through the twice a year High Point Market that accounts for more than $1.2 billion of the state’s economy each year.
Why the governor would take such an uninformed, cheap shot at High Point and its main industry we don’t know. His office later said his information came from “private discussions.” If so, we’d recommend he engage in more public discourse — and less popping off without the facts.