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Gov. Pat McCrory says his focus is on restoring trust in Charlotte

shoeshine_retire
Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
Governor Pat McCrory (right),Mayor Patrick Cannon (left), both shine legendary shoeshine man of Latta Arcade Grady Parker (center), after Gov. McCrory presented Parker with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Monday Dec. 23,2013. Grady Parker is retiring on Tuesday after 30 years.

Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday that he is now focused on working with Charlotte officials to rebuild trust in the city after its mayor was arrested on public corruption charges.

Then-mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday by the FBI, accused of accepting cash and other gifts in exchange for influence within city government. Inside the federal government’s court filings included an affidavit that showed Cannon touting his connections with McCrory.

Speaking at a ribbon cutting for insurance giant MetLife’s new office building in Charlotte, McCrory said the personal wound from reading that was still fresh, but that he was committed to restoring the city’s reputation.

“We’re going to get through this as a state and a city,” McCrory said. “We’re going to move forward and not let this tragic situation impact the long-term viability of this great city and this great state.”

McCrory spoke of being honored to be a part of a “lineage” of great leaders in Charlotte, which included former mayors Richard Vinroot, Harvey Gantt and Sue Myrick.

“We’re going to move forward in continuing to improve the quality of life in this city, and repairing some of the trust that has been impacted at this point in time, and recruiting jobs,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to work with my partners here to rebuild that trust, because it impacts us all.

“And frankly, it’s not fair to current elected officials and past elected officials who love this city and who have been committed to this city and this state. I’m not going to let this impact them. We’ve been doing it the right way for many many years.”

McCrory said he has not yet heard from business leaders concerned about the city’s government.

Eric Steigerwalt, executive vice president of MetLife’s U.S. retail operation, said the company still has confidence in the city’s local government.

“I have no reason to change,” he said while standing alongside McCrory in the MetLife building. “We have had so many people help us in the state government, local government, city government. It’s been spectacular, and I expect that that will continue.”

McCrory did not answer a questing asking whether he had heard any concerns about Cannon’s ethics.

“Let me just say this, Charlotte’s reputation has been second to none. I’m going to re-pivot and work with these leaders, who I know believe in this city, believe in high ethics.”

He also said he has “no concern whatsoever” that state officials could be implicated in the investigation into Cannon.

Dunn: 704-358-5235; Twitter: @andrew_dunn
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