Elect 2012: Democrats for District 25 seek new ways to create jobs
By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Gene McLaurin helped bring NASCAR back to Rockingham.
Now he wants to bring jobs back to North Carolina.
McLaurin, the mayor of Rockingham, is running against Daniel Wilson of Ansonville to be the Democratic candidate for the N.C. Senate District 25 seat.
Wilson, executive director of the North Carolina Rural Water Association, said he has some plans of his own for job creation.
“We’re going to be productive in this district,” he said. “We’re committed to it. We want to hand off a better future to our children than what we inherited.”
Redistricting brought southeastern Rowan County into the new District 25 last year. Its boundaries also include Scotland, Richmond and Anson counties.
The Senate seat is up for grabs after incumbent Sen. Bill Purcell said he will not run for re-election.
Wilson and McLaurin said education is a top priority.
“I’m a product of the community college system and our university system,” McLaurin said. “Good jobs are the result of good schools.”
McLaurin said he plans to restore funding for public schools and continue to invest in the education system.
“We have to invest in our community college system” he said. “We have to get students ready for school.”
Wilson also emphasized a need for continued support of community colleges, and said high schools need more vocational tracks available for students.
“We need to build more tracks of education that better fit our children,” Wilson said.
Finding the “inefficiencies,” Wilson said, will help the overall funding. But the entire system needs to be looked at, he said.
“You can’t take one piece of it out and not discuss it all,” Wilson said.
Both candidates said job creation is important for the district, but each emphasized different methods.
Wilson said North Carolina has the resources, but the state has to do a better job of marketing.
“In this district, I think we’ve done a fairly poor job historically,” he said.
Wilson also said tax incentives and workforce training is important.
McLaurin, who is also the president of Swink-Quality Oil, helped bring NASCAR back to Rockingham Speedway after an eight-year hiatus.
He said the district has to start wooing companies that need resources available here. “We need to target the industry that needs that type of workforce,” he said. “I have dealt with this in 33 years of business. I know how the business community thinks. I know how major corporations think.”
The Rowan County precincts included in Senate District 25 are: