This Veterans Day, Gov. Pat McCrory has high praise for the new U.S. Veterans Affairs secretary. He's also touting new programs to help former and active members of the Armed Forces in North Carolina.
He tells Eric Hodge that showing gratitude to veterans is something he takes very personally.
McCrory's father was a Navy pilot and his father-in-law flew P-47s in the Army Air Corps. But his real role model was his cousin Paul. Paul was a Marine who trained at Camp Lejeune and served in the Vietnam War.
“When he came home he was not treated with respect. In fact, if anything, he was treated as the enemy,” the governer said. “I was so disgusted with the way our country treated the Vietnam veteran that it’s personal to me.”
McCrory says Paul has two sons who joined the military. One joined the Army Rangers. The other, Navy SEAL Team 6. He says both young men have visited him at the governor’s mansion.
“I swore to them that I’d do everything I could as governor to see that they’re treated not like their dad was.”
This week, the governor’s office launched a website called NC4VETS that can help vets navigate the number of disparate services available to them on the federal and state level.
The governor also visited Butner today to announce the opening of a Veterans Life Center. It’s meant to help veterans who need housing, mental and substance abuse services and employment assistance.
McCrory says the state has a variety of other initiatives for veterans, notably:
- Veterans can receive the equivalent of in-state tuition for community colleges and state universities.
- Veterans are eligible for "competency-based" education and certifications. (If a vet already has skills, they can take a test in order to get immediate certification.)
“If you can drive a truck in Afghanistan under fire, you can do it in North Carolina on our highways without having to through months and months of new courses which you could basically do in your sleep.”
McCrory is also considering calling a special legislative work session in the next couple weeks to discuss more economic incentives considered key to creating more jobs in the state. He says the large number of reliable, hard-working veterans in North Carolina is a good selling point.