Who’s who in the 2008 N.C. gubernatorial race

This year, if you’re 18 or older, you have the opportunity to vote for the next President of the United States on Nov. 4. If you’re registered to vote in North Carolina, you also have three gubernatorial candidates to choose from. The big question is: who are they and what do they want to do? Well, start taking notes, because this is your crash course in the 2008 North Carolina gubernatorial race.

From the Republicans, we have Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory.

“My top priority as governor will be jobs, jobs, jobs,” McCrory said. To create these jobs, McCrory supports offshore drilling in North Carolina, fixing the educational system in North Carolina, and reducing taxes.

On his Web site, the McCrory campaign states that “North Carolina is considered to have substantial offshore natural gas resources on portions of its continental shelf that are not visible from the coast.” He believes that creating these drilling projects will provide new jobs for North Carolina’s growing workforce.

As for education, McCrory is focused mostly on primary and secondary education. He believes that “an education at a four-year university is not necessary for every job out there” and supports the creation of new vocational schools in North Carolina.

McCrory takes a firm stance on illegal immigrants, promising to keep them from finding jobs in North Carolina. He also plans to deport law-breaking illegal immigrants.

On the Democratic side, Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue focuses strongly on education.

“Education and hard work make all the difference,” Perdue said in a televised debate. Perdue received her master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

Like McCrory, Perdue recognizes that jobs are vital to the North Carolina, but believes there is a different way to bring them to North Carolina.

“The best incentive to both attract relocating businesses and to create new ones here at home is to have the best-educated and healthiest workforce in America,” Perdue said.

Perdue wants to make North Carolina a leader in energy efficiency. She proposed the N.C. Green Act, which according to her Web site “would make North Carolina state government a model for energy efficiency.”

North Carolina has a Libertarian candidate for governor as well.

Dr. Michael Munger, a professor at Duke University, acquired 100,000 signatures in order to be placed on the ballot.

One of the main issues he is trying to change is the death penalty. He believes there are three problems with our system: it is biased against poor people, there is not enough time given to prove their innocence, and the jury selection is not random.

“As Governor, I would immediately impose a two-year moratorium on executions in our state, and would ask for legislation ending executions completely,” said Munger.

Munger also wants to improve public schools in North Carolina. As the father of two sons who are attending or have attended charter schools in Raleigh, he knows that the public school system can work; there simply needs to be consistency.

Another issue Munger weighs in on is same-sex marriage.

“I would support legislation that allows legal civil unions between same sex couples, under the same conditions that this contract is offered to female/male couples,” said Munger. “The point is this: no one can dictate the personal life of our citizens.”

Regardless of your political stance, the most important part of being a voter is to understand who you are voting for. While the presidential race is an undeniably monumental part of this election year, it is important to remember the other races as well. Presidential elections may affect the world, but state and local elections will affect your everyday life.

I urge you to learn more about the gubernatorial candidates. Visit their Web sites, listen to debates-whatever you do, know who you are voting for this November.