UNCP hosts Senate
President Marc Basnight
David Weinstein, Chancellor Meadors and Marc Basnight
UNC Pembroke rolled
out the red carpet for North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Marc
Basnight on November 10 for a day-long visit to the state's fastest
"I came here
to see how we are going to get to 6,000 students in here," Sen.
Basnight said. "Your chancellor (Allen C. Meadors) is fantastic,
and I met with faculty and reviewed construction projects."
The long-time leader
of the state Senate also toured COMtech,
a nearby high-tech education and incubator, and listened to UNCP's plans
for constructing a biotechnology training center there. Sen. David Weinstein,
who represents Robeson County, made the official invitation and Chancellor
Allen C. Meadors hosted the visit.
said "Senator Basnight is a champion for North Carolina. His presence
on our campus was a testament to his interest and support of education
in our state."
Mike Decinti with Basnight
In a 30-minute interview
with WNCP-TV, UNCP's broadcast studio, Sen. Basnight showed why he is
viewed as an energetic and visionary leader for North Carolina.
On the subject of
rising college tuition, he endorsed a "sliding scale" tuition
plan that charges tuition according to a student's ability to pay.
has adopted this idea, and we already utilize a sliding scale for income
taxes," Sen. Basnight said. The challenge that faces North Carolina,
he said is "to find room for every student who wants a college
Sen. Basnight said
the North Carolina Senate is solidly behind education in the state,
and he noted that the Tar Heel State still boasts some of the lowest
tuition rates in the nation.
As the interview
turned to the economy and jobs, Sen. Basnight became very serious about
a cause that has concerned him for many years.
"I view myself
as a servant of the people of North Carolina," he said. "All
of us dream of a better North Carolina."
Sen. Basnight said
he is concerned about the loss of 180,000 manufacturing jobs, especially
in rural and urban areas of the state, which seem to be falling behind.
"We have to
create one North Carolina," he said. "If anything bothers
me, it is that the rural and urban areas are being left out."
"We need to
bring good paying jobs," he said. "To bring jobs, we have
to have a trained workforce, an educated workforce. That's why we support
the universities the way we do."
Sen. Basnight is
a small business owner from Manteo on the Outer Banks. Although he grew
up relatively poor with six brothers and sisters, "There was always
enough." He said his family was rich in civics lessons.
told us to be involved in our community," he said. "My father
encouraged us to vote, and at a very young age, I campaigned for JFK
(John F. Kennedy)."
Basnight, Neil Hawk, VC for Business Affairs, Gervais Oxendine,
Board of Trustees Chair, and Jackie Clark, VC for Enrollment Management
Sen. Basnight shared
a few political reforms he would like to see, including longer terms
in the General Assembly, session limits and caps on campaign spending
for elections, down to the county commission level. He said these changes
would energize state politics and open the political system to more
terms would mean we do not have to campaign so often or raise money
every year," he said. "These kinds of ideas should be thrown
out for people to debate."
In politics, he
said you have to be "cautious," but also "bold and visionary
- You have to make a statement."
And Sen. Basnight
practices what he preaches. Although he said he has no ambition to run
for higher office, many observers already rank the man from Manteo as
the state's most powerful political leader.
The 30-minute interview
program will air on WNCP-TV's cable channel six on Time Warner's local
cable system. Prof. Mike Decinti is the host.
to University Newswire