UNCP is host
to House Co-speaker Richard Morgan
host Mike DeCinti (left) talks with Co-speaker Richard Morgan.
State Rep. Richard
Morgan said he believed the North Carolina House of Representatives
performed well enough last year to earn a "university friendly"
Those were powerful
words from Morgan, the Moore County Republican who is co-speaker of
Rep. Morgan was
in Pembroke on February 25 to tour The University of North Carolina
at Pembroke and to tape an interview with WNCP-TV, the broadcasting
arm of the University.
"I think it
is extremely important for us to get out of the confines of Raleigh,"
Rep. Morgan said. "It amazes me to see the new construction on
your campus, and the pride and enthusiasm that Chancellor (Allen C.)
Meadors has for this institution."
In a few short words,
Rep. Morgan acknowledged the growing importance of UNCP in a region
that includes his district.
"This is a
regional university, and many of my constituents are enrolled here,
are alumni or supporters of UNCP in one way or another," he said.
thanked Rep. Morgan for his visit to campus.
Morgan's visit to UNC Pembroke's campus was an important opportunity
for us," said Chancellor Meadors. "As the state continues
to struggle with its budget, it is vital that key legislators understand
the important role UNC Pembroke plays in the economic growth of its
With the state gripped
by a budget crisis for the past three years, the General Assembly found
money to supply the needs of growing universities like UNCP. Co-speaker
Morgan said cooperation, teamwork and the support of UNCP's local delegation
"One of the
things I am proudest of is that we tried to replace bickering and gridlock
with cooperation and teamwork, and we were successful," Rep. Morgan
said. "The advocacy for this University is strong - I hear it from
Reps. (Ron) Sutton, (Donald) Bonner and (Doug) Yongue."
Morgan also had
kind words for Democratic Co-speaker Jim Black, who toured UNCP earlier
"There is a
lot to be said when you can look a man in the eyes and trust him,"
Rep. Morgan said. "We are able to lead by example and putting the
public policy of this state ahead of all else."
of the press said we would not get a budget out at all," Rep. Morgan
said. "We surprised them by getting a budget out before Easter
for the first time in 20 years."
"The team we
have assembled will be judged on our ability to steer North Carolina
out of some very troubled waters," he said.
Creating a highly
skilled workforce and re-training displaced workers are high on Morgan's
list of priorities.
"I have worked
very hard to get the CEOs of the biotech industry interested in North
Carolina," he said. "We currently rank third or fourth in
the nation in biotechnology."
Rep. Morgan visited
the nearby COMtech, high-tech industry and education park, and listened
to UNCP's plans for building a biotechnology facility there. The co-speaker
had encouraging words for the project.
(president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center) tells
me that these sites do not have to be located at the Research Triangle
Park," Rep. Morgan said. "This has been very helpful. I am
a supporter of biotechnology."
Rep. Morgan also
visited UNCP's Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional
Development, which is under construction at COMtech. Also meeting with
the co-speaker were state Rep. Ron Sutton, COMtech CEO Tony Normand,
UNCP Provost Roger Brown, Associate Vice Chancellor Collie Coleman,
chemistry Professor Len Holmes and Regional Center Director Sylvia Pate.
Rep. Morgan, who
is in his seventh term in the legislature, is a lifetime political activist.
"I found myself
involved in student politics at Sandhills Community College and later
at UNC. I became involved in my first political campaign in 1972,"
he said. "I remember the night Jim Holshouser was elected Republican
governor of North Carolina."
"Once you get
a little taste of politics, it sticks with you," Rep. Morgan said.
On his own political
future, Rep. Morgan said he would not become involved in the upcoming
governor's race. He said he had no ambition to become governor either.
you want to become governor of North Carolina when you can be speaker
of the House," he said.
That sums up what
pundits say about the power of the North Carolina House of Representatives
and its Co-speakers Jim Black and Richard Morgan.
may be viewed in Robeson County on Time Warner's Cable Channel 6. "A
Conversation with Rep. Richard Morgan" will also be aired on PAX-TV's
local station on March 18 at 2:30 p.m..
to University Newswire