Gov. Perdue focuses on jobs while on tour


The tour began in Kinston where West Pharmaceuticals has literally risen from the ashes, rebuilding after an explosion in 2003 that leveled half of the plant.

"Talk to me, let me hear from you what it is you think we can do better, what I can do better, what we need to focus on?" Perdue asked the crowd.

They're questions the Governor says she'll be asking people across the state over the next couple of weeks, and jobs will be the focus.

"This is a company that had a bad accident," she said. "They chose to start over in North Carolina."

Following the explosion at West Pharmaceuticals, the community and the state stepped in to help rebuild the plant and save hundreds of jobs, but Kinston residents aren't under any illusion that any one company will make the difference.

"Every job we can get in Lenoir County is extremely important," Kinston resident Giles Stroud said. "We've got a lot of people without jobs."

Statewide unemployment is 9.7 percent and 10.7 percent in Lenoir. Perdue may have a tough time convincing people that jobs are coming back.

"Things are a lot better today than they were two-and-a-half years ago, but if you're unemployed, my advice continues to be, find an area of employment that you think you can get a job in and if you can make it happen, go back and get some training at the local community college," Perdue said.

Kinston residents seem eager to hear that message, but also want to share their own stories -- stories that some expect will be retold in other counties across the state.

"It's all the same, and we're all in this boat together," Stroud said.

Along with jobs, education was the other big topic at Monday's town hall meeting. Governor Perdue says she expects Republicans in the legislature to prioritize both jobs and education as they work on the budget.

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