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The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
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University Newswire
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
Date: March 15, 2004
Contact: Amber Rach
Email: amber.rach@uncp.edu
Phone: 910.521.6863
Fax: 910.521.6694
 

UNCP is host to House Co-speaker Richard Morgan

WNCP-TV host Mike DeCinti (left) talks with Co-speaker Richard Morgan.

WNCP-TV host Mike DeCinti (left) talks with Co-speaker Richard Morgan.

Black Line

State Rep. Richard Morgan said he believed the North Carolina House of Representatives performed well enough last year to earn a "university friendly" label.

Those were powerful words from Morgan, the Moore County Republican who is co-speaker of the House.

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.

Chancellor Meadors thanked Rep. Morgan for his visit to campus.

"Representative 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 region."

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 are critical.

"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 in February.

"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."

"The naysayers 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.

"Charles Hamner (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.

"Why would 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.

WNCP-TV programs 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..

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The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Updated: < Monday, March 15, 2004
Copyright © 2001-2004 The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
University Newswire
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
Phone: 910.521.6863
Fax: 910.521.6694