Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Gov. Easley one on one...

I had a chance to sit down with Gov. Easley for a lengthy interview this morning. We hit a number of topics ranging from the budget to his style of governing. The entire interview will air on Political Connections this weekend but here's a short story we're airing today on a couple topics. I'll try to update some other highlights from the interview as well later.

RALEIGH -- Gov. Easley says there's no need for lawmakers to get involved in the illegal immigrant community college issue.

Easley made the comments during a one-on-one interview that will air on Political Connections this weekend. Easley believes its time for the federal government to fix immigration and gas price issues.

Those two topics are among the top concerns to North Carolina voters in most polls.

Gov. Easley still supports illegal immigrants in community colleges if they pay out of state tuition.

"The reason is you have so many undocumented workers that are working in the state's now all across the country that you're building your economy on those people so do you want them better educated or less educated and we could make that decision better if we knew what the heck Washington is going to do," Gov. Easley said. "So, I'd like for Washington to take some action. They have defacto legalized illegal immigrants."

The community college system ordered all campuses last year to admit illegal immigrants, but it reversed the policy recently while federal officials formally weigh in on the matter.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Roy Cooper's office recommended community colleges drop the lenient admissions policy.

Several lawmakers have filed bills to either disqualify or allow illegal immigrants in community colleges.

"It's not a legislative issue at this point," Easley said. "What the attorney general was reacting to was the perceived federal regulation but the federal regulation isn't what they thought it was. It's way beyond the state legislature at least at this point."

On the gas price front, Easley believes the answers will come from Washington.

"There's not a lot the state can do in terms of immediate help on the gas price," Gov. Easley said. "That's set by OPEC and we're not members of OPEC.

Easley believes the state must focus on public transportation and research on battery powered cars to limit our need for oil.

We will show the entire interview with Governor Mike Easley this weekend on Political Connections.

He talks about everything from the state budget to his future after office. It airs Friday night at 6:00 and Sunday morning at 11:00 only on News 14 Carolina.

1 comment:

Jameson said...

Acting one day after the May primary, Attorney General Cooper clearly hopes that the problem of illegal aliens attending community colleges does not become a campaign issue. Governor Easley is following the same script when he says that the state legislature can't do anything about this. That is simply not true. In fact, state authority to forbid illegals from attending public universities has already been confirmed in federal court (Equal Access Ed. v. Merten (2004)).

In short, this is very much an issue for the state legislature, as confirmed by Title 8 (section 1621) of the U.S. Code.

Note also that Easley takes the same passive approach regarding gas prices. North Carolina has the second highest gas tax in the Southeast (second to Florida, which has no state income tax). Moreover, the state could permit offshore drilling -- and as a recent Civitas poll shows, 68 percent of North Carolinians support such drilling.

Jameson Taylor (nccivitas.org)