It wont take North Carolinas next governor long to break from tradition.
Gov.-elect Pat McCrory plans two weekends of inaugural events next month bookending a week of public appearances across the state.
That includes one in Charlottes government center, the building where he presided as mayor for 14 years.
The idea is you want to bring the governor to the people and get everyone engaged in his beginning a new day in North Carolina state government, said John Lassiter, a former Charlotte City Council member who chairs McCrorys transition steering committee.
McCrory will become the states first Republican governor in 28 years on Jan. 5. Thats when hell be sworn in at a modest event in the Capitols old Senate chamber.
A bigger ceremony, along with the traditional inaugural parade, will take place a week later.
During the week between ceremonies, McCrory will travel to Asheville, Charlotte, New Bern and an as yet unannounced stop in the Piedmont.
Aides say the early swearing-in will allow McCrory to be in office when the new General Assembly convenes on Jan. 9.
We wanted to make sure he was sworn in and ready to serve, said spokesman Chris Walker.
The gala ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12. The night before, Raleighs Junior League will hold its traditional inaugural ball with entertainment by the Grammy-nominated Avett Brothers.
On Jan. 12, the Foundation for North Carolina, a new nonprofit political organization tied to Gov.-elect Pat McCrory, will hold an event at the Raleigh Convention Center.
One of its founders, McCrory campaign strategist Jack Hawke, said the group was put together quickly after McCrorys victory, and plans to raise $1.5 million.
Hawke said the organization hasnt collected any money. But, according to state records, it anticipates taking in $600,000 in the final weeks of this year and has targeted raising $900,000 more next year. It will operate with an executive director and other staff, while pushing a free-market agenda, records show.
The General Assembly has set aside $250,000 for the inaugural festivities, the same amount it did for earlier governors. Lassiter said McCrorys team will keep its spending under control.
We wont use it all, he said. Were Republicans.
Ticket packages to the Junior League ball run from $125 to $1,200. Tickets to the Foundation event, which will feature The Chairmen of the Board and The Blue Dogs, start at $75.
Its unclear how many people will attend the festivities. In 2009, about 3,000 watched Democrat Bev Perdue become the states first female governor.
There will be a wide variety of things going on that dont cost anything, Lassiter said, just an opportunity to be involved.
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