Editorial: Bidding farewell to Perdue

Jan. 05, 2013 @ 03:13 PM

Bev Perdue’s four-year reign as governor ended Saturday when Pat McCrory took his oath in Raleigh. For the new Republican governor, we wish him well knowing that regardless of individual politics for each of us, if he does well, our beloved state will also.

For Perdue, we bid farewell to a governor who didn’t fully deserve the label of unpopular, who broke ground repeatedly in a political life that yielded great service to the people of this state, and who arguably will be historically noted for pivotal failures.

Perdue earned the unpopular label by agreeing to become governor with the worst economy since the Great Depression before she made her first decision. Tough choices, little or no money to implement programs and a balanced budget grinded on her tenure.

The budget shortfall was $4 billion when she came to office, pesky unemployment up to 11.2 percent in 2010. Cuts were made, furloughs implemented, tax increases came and her label was emboldened while the 2010 mid-terms sent Republicans in control of both houses for the first time since 1870.

Before becoming the first female lieutenant governor and governor, the former public school teacher and hospital geriatric services director served in both the state House and Senate.

Perdue campaigned for the middle, but signing in tax increases fueled 2010 campaigns that resulted in GOP control for issues in her final two years and all-important redistricting for the next decade, the latter a battering blow to her party.

Her final image doesn’t show the woman of many years of public service climbing the mountain; rather, it shows the state’s highest-elected female Democrat standing on the tracks trying to stave off a Republican train.

For the first time in nearly four decades of eligibility, a second term was not sought by the incumbent governor. Her party, whether they liked or disliked the choice, didn’t survive the decision.

Like many governors, Perdue got in a lot of fights and scraps. She got punched, she punched back with vetoes, but eventually Perdue felt the politically crippling body blows of overrides and GOP momentum.

We remember her tenure as an admirable fighter, a champion for education and an immense lover of this state.