Lauren K. Ohnesorge Staff Writer- Triangle Business Journal
Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t just want to thank the veterans. He wants to use them.
That’s what he said at Saturday’s Salute to North Carolina Veterans, hosted by the Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES at the Hilton on Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.
Use them, that is, to help North Carolina businesses.
“I hope to have the veterans … sort of be a part of the economic recovery of our state,” he told crowd of 400-plus, adding that one of the biggest complaints he gets from businesses is that there are not enough qualified people in the hiring pool to fill positions. “These soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan … who can be more qualified than them?”
He says his end game is to attract them here.
“That is our plan,” he says. “But first, let’s take care of them.”
The event, which was aimed to bring attention and funds to the issue of homeless veterans, attracted several members of McCrory’s new cabinet, including Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata, whose appointment McCrory defended before the crowd.
“Are y’all pretty happy with that selection?,” he asked the crowd, greeted by applause and cheers. “To heck with The Charlotte Observer… If you can build roads under fire, you sure can do it in North Carolina.”
Tata, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, said there’s nowhere he would rather be. And the fact that his new boss chose a veterans’ event for his first public appearance sends “a message,” Tata said.
Veterans Leadership Council of North Carolina-CARES is a nonprofit organization founded by Veterans for Veterans.