Saltwater future: no more cupcake wars

Gov. Beverly Perdue’s decision Jan. 26 not to seek a second term throws a wrench into Pat McCrory’s campaign plans.

McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor and 2008 Republican gubernatorial candidate who lost by a narrow margin to Perdue, must redraw his battle plan for a different opponent. If Perdue hadn’t withdrawn, Pat vs. Bev in 2012 would have been like Patton vs. the French (instead of the Germans) in WWII.

More important, hoped-for changes in the state’s saltwater management coming out of the legislature’s Committee on Marine Fisheries would have had a good chance of approval.

Changes could have included either restructuring appointments to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission to ban representatives of the commercial fishing industry from automatic seats, elimination of the commission or folding it into the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Additionally, whoever wins the race will appoint several new wildlife commissioners. If McCrory wins, he can name people interested in saltwater reform and move the agency toward a new majority — including a new chairman and vice-chairman. Then, if the NCWRC takes over administration of saltwater resources, attention can focus on protecting fisheries from destructive commercial gear. As a result, that will bring thousands of tourists here — and millions of their dollars — create more jobs, invigorate the economy and increase local and state tax revenue.

But that’s all up in the air now. Everything depends upon whom the Democrats choose to run for the state’s top elected position and whether or not that person can defeat McCrory.

It’s impossible to know this early, but the top names in the ring are current lieutenant governor Walter Dalton, Rep. Bill Faison, U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx and former state treasurer Richard Moore of Raleigh.

McIntyre is probably the least attractive, as far as saltwater resources are concerned. The day before Perdue bailed, he toured a Hampstead seafood processor. Dalton is saddled with being part of Perdue’s ineffectual administration. Foxx is a political unknown, and Moore is old news.

Faison may offer the larger threat to McCrory. He’s been beating the drums to add jobs to the state’s economy. Saltwater resources reform — including gamefish status for speckled trout, red drum and stripers — is an incredible opportunity to do just that. Perdue sided with netters; see ya.

We don’t like one-issue votes, but as a voice for 800,000 saltwater anglers and a magazine that has a long history of trying to enhance, conserve and protect resources, we support any candidate who agrees to change saltwater management.

If it’s McCrory, so be it. If it’s Faison, okey-dokey. Had it been Perdue, we’d have been the icing on her cupcake — but it wasn’t.

Here’s an open invitation to any gubernatorial candidate — talk to us.

About Craig Holt 1382 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.

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