Saturday, August 26, 2006

Press Conference For NC Bloggers!

As a part of his annual Summer Celebration, Senator Fred Smith held a North Carolina Bloggers Press Conference so that he and Texas Governor Rick Perry could talk with this new form of media and answer our questions.

The Press Conference started in Fred's office in the Clubhouse of the Riverwood Golf Club, after the conclusion of the golf tournament that was the focal point of most of today's festivities. I had watched Fred as he worked hard all day to see that the participants in the golf tournament had a good time. Fred never stopped talking with people or working. Even during breaks, Fred used those opportunities to have short meetings to work on problems and keep things organized. When he started to make the rounds to hit some shots for the various teams, he warmed up for it like a professional golfer, very seriously. He clearly wanted to do well for the teams. His constant attention to detail and his energy was impressive. He was still exhibiting high energy when the press conference started.

Nathan Tabor Of The Conservative Voice And Senator Fred Smith

The people invited to the event included:
Nathan Tabor of the Conservative Voice
Jason Moir of NC Rumors
Lorie Byrd of Wiz Bang Blog

plus a weekly column on

. . . and me.

Thai Gay, Lorie Byrd of Wiz Bang Blog, and Jason Moir of NC Rumors

Because Governor Perry was running late, the press conference started with Fred Smith as the only person on the hot seat.

The first question asked was "How did you meet Governor Perry?" Fred said that he had met Governor Perry at a CPAC meeting in Washington DC. CPAC is the Conservative Political Action Committee. They had hit it off since they both had backgrounds in farming and rural areas, had served in the military. Perry was commissioner of agriculture for two terms and Fred has been a successful farmer in Clayton. Fred said they simply had a lot in common.

From Left, Jason Moir, Dean Stephens, Nathan Tapor, Fred Smith, Green Sweater From Rear Is Lorie Byrd And Thai Gay From Rear

The next question asked was rather open ended, "What do you think are North Carolina's two most important issues?" Fred broke it down into two areas of issues, rather than just focusing on two issues. The two areas were economic concerns and family concerns. He spoke for quite a while on both areas.

The next question was "What are your overall goals for North Carolina?" Fred listed six.
1. Improving the environment for job creation.
2. Improving education.
3. Affordable health care.
4. Protect private property.
5. Get Medicaid off the backs of counties.
6. Within the constraints that the federal government must take the lead, defend our borders.

There was a lively interaction on these issues, until the discussion had to be curtailed so that we could relocate to the reception due to time. The rest of the press conference was to start when Governor Perry arrived. The second part of the event was held on the Senator's back porch looking down at the Neuse River.

Texas Governor Rick Perry's Cavalcade Arrives

The first sight of Governor Perry was when we spotted his cavalcade of cars approaching Senator Smith's driveway.

Senator Fred Smith Greets Governor Rick Perry

After the Governor met privately with Senator Smith, they both joined the press conference.

Texas Governor Rick Perry and NC Senator Fred Smith View The Neuse River Behind Fred's House

Senator Smith introduced Governor Perry and after some brief comments, he took questions. The first question was what did North Carolina and Texas have in common that they could work on together. What struck me almost immediately was how open and frank Governor Rick Perry is. He has the same straight forward style as famous Westerners John Wayne and Barry Goldwater.

Governor Perry Meets NC Bloggers

He spoke about the need to create an economic environment that allows for the creation of jobs and the creation of wealth. He talked about some of his own successes, including a most important success, court reform. Many of our nation's most serious problems are created by an out of control court system which holds business financially accountable for results which the business cannot control.

NC Senator Fred Smith And Texas Governor Rick Perry - On Back Porch - Answering Questions

He spoke passionately about the need to cut taxes and resist the desire for constantly escalating government spending.

Within his comments about economic growth, he also talked about interstate competition. He mentioned sports competition, but he also talked about how we competed for companies and jobs. However his take on it was that competition was good, as it would make both states better. Competition is in fact what made America the richest nation on earth. When companies compete they get better. When government stops competition, business gets lazy and our nation suffers.

Senator Fred Smith, Governor Rick Perry, Dean Stephens, Nathan Tapor, Jason Moir, From Back, Cameraman In Striped Shirt, Frank Williams (Only Fred, Jason And I Got The Joke!)

After the press conference I got to spend a lot of time with the Senator and Governor as I was the official photographer for the reception being held. Please check out the article about the reception, and Governor Perry's moving speech to the assembled guests, posted on this blog tomorrow!


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