Work to be done

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 07:41 PM

The transition team for incoming Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has tapped Oxford Democrat Jim Crawford Jr. to assist the team’s budget work group.

Crawford has represented the area in the state House of Representatives for 28 year, serving as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for many of those years. The expertise he as acquired over the years is an unmistakable asset in his selection for the budget work group.

Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for the transition team, said McCrory has three objectives for the transition team: to identify talent and to survey policy issues and state operations.

“We’re gathering a pool of talent, including mayors and people like Rep. Crawford with experience in government, to provide feedback to inform the incoming administration about policy and organization,” Diaz said.

The work groups’ recommendations will focus on how state agencies can operate more efficiently when the new administration takes office.

In describing the functions of the budget work group, Crawford said, “We’re trying to give them a heads up on where they start with a budget. There are several problem areas. Medicaid is one of them.”

As to what specific recommendations might come out of the work group’s deliberations, he said, “We’re not at the point yet.”

Crawford is finishing his final term in the legislature. In May, he lost a primary race to fellow Democrat W.A. “Winkie” Wilkins after redistricting placed them in the same election district.

Wilkins and Crawford have known each other for many years. Commenting on Crawford’s role in the transition, Wilkins said, “Jim’s a good man. He’ll do a good job for anybody, Democrat or Republican.”

McCrory will be sworn in on Saturday, Jan. 5.

Also selected to his team are two former high-ranking managers within President George W. Bush’s administration and a pair of former Republican candidates for governor. Crawford is one of seven current or former legislators.

Crawford doesn’t have a specific length of time for serving on the team, but did say a meeting was scheduled for Tuesday.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.