Jobs solve ills, Robert Wilson says in run for NC lieutenant governor

Robert Earl Wilson
Robert Earl Wilson

While some might think a 30-year veteran of state government is part of the problem — if there is a problem — Robert Earl Wilson says it makes him the only candidate for lieutenant governor who has presided over three decades of progress in North Carolina.

Wilson’s long career as an official under Democratic and Republican majorities spanned three departments and ended with 20 years with the secretary of state. As that department’s legislative liaison, Wilson helped steer laws through the legislature dealing with corporations, charitable solicitations, notaries and lobbying.

As testament to his ability to work with others, he cites the fact that he served under three secretaries of state and six House speakers.

Too many drugs, guns

Wilson, 61, says his agenda is pro-growth, and he has a seven-point plan that includes proposing workplace development agreements that would give companies tax breaks to train and hire skilled workers.

A better economy, he says, would lessen a variety of ills.

“There are far too many guns on the streets of North Carolina,” Wilson says in a video on his website, promising to push to replace guns and drugs with employment; he also advocates raising the minimum wage. “Bring jobs, hope and opportunity to the people of North Carolina.”

He supports expanding Medicaid for the poor, and calls for a referendum in November to let voters weigh in since the politicians in Raleigh, he says, have resisted that expansion. He also calls on the General Assembly and other leaders to stop flogging divisive social issues, which he says don’t help the economy and alienate people from one another.

Wilson also would work to expand the Port of Wilmington and extend railways inland.

More on the economy

The remainder of his seven-point economic proposal would cap the corporate tax rate at 5 percent for 20 years. It would cut red tape with a one-stop shop for businesses, instead of making them contact multiple state agencies.

Wilson favors funding a program to diversify agricultural products through N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University. He would broaden research to extend shelf life for fruits and vegetables.

Teacher salaries would be raised to the top 5 percent in the country by 2022, and lost benefits such as tenure and bonus pay for advanced degrees would be restored. He says he would establish a commission of leaders from all sectors to guide the state toward the future.

A number of Wilson’s proposals would undo what Republicans have done to balance the state budget through income tax cuts and sales tax increases.

Robert E. Wilson

Hometown: Cary

Education: Bachelor of arts in history, Fayetteville State University

Family: Married to Cora Speight Wilson; three children

Professional resume: Retired chief legislative liaison and assistant secretary for the N.C. Secretary of State; former employee of state community college system and the Department of Correction

Politics: This is his first run for public office

Worth knowing: In 2012, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine

What does a lieutenant governor do?

The duties of a lieutenant governor are not extensive: presiding over the state Senate when it’s in session; voting only to break ties; serving on the state Board of Education and the state Board of Community Colleges; standing in if the governor is indisposed. But the office can be a springboard for an aspiring politician.