Dalton talks jobs over lunch at Sweet Potatoes

An item in the Winston-Salem Journal today indicated that Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democrat running for governor this year, would be at Sweet Potatoes on Trade Street “to talk about his newly announced jobs program.”

In fact, Dalton, his wife, Lucille, and one or two campaign staffers were only having lunch. They had left one seat open at the table to individually receive any comers.

Considering the billing for the encounter, I took the circumstances as an open invitation to ask the lieutenant governor about his economic plan, which was released on Monday.

Between mouthfuls of food the amenable candidate limned the plan, mentioning that he wants to put long-term unemployed people back to work (specifics from the plan: provide businesses with a one-time $2,000 tax credit for each long-term unemployed person they hire), focus on revitalizing rural areas (specifics: numerous bills that Dalton has supported including funds for water and sewer development, grants to refurbish vacant building and money for youth job training), and focus on growth industries such as biotech (specifics: use tax revenue from biotech to create a seed fund for reinvestment through financing, training and research).  

Dalton will be at BioTech Place in Winston-Salem next Thursday with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, where he’ll likely talk more about this initiative. 

Dalton also mentioned the military as part of his economic plan while acknowledging that pressures to balance the federal budget could result in cutbacks with negative consequences for North Carolina. 

“I hope the federal government will measure twice, and cut once,” he said. 

He added that the same budget pressures could work to the state’s advantage. 

“The other side of it is that equipment is coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “Refurbishment currently takes place in Georgia and other states even though the equipment is kept at Fort Bragg and other bases here. If we do the reset in North Carolina we can save the federal government a lot of money.”

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