Pope Beneficial to State

By Phil Kirk

As it appeared in The News & Observer.

Art Pope is to be commended for his many years of public service, especially for his 20 months as the state’s budget director.

When Gov. Pat McCrory wisely persuaded Art to assume the most important appointive position in state government, several asked my opinion, probably thinking I would be critical. I responded each time that the governor could not have found anyone who knew the budget, state government and the legislative process better. This was especially important because of the administration’s lack of experience in state government.

However, I also added that I trusted the governor to consider alternative viewpoints on complex issues and, despite rumors to the contrary, I believe he did.

When North Carolina was essentially a one-party state for more than a century, concerned conservatives such as Pope worked at the grassroots level to change the political landscape. Art and others invested their own resources in this successful effort.

It’s ironic that the media had no problem when the Hollywood elites, labor unions and wealthy liberals like George Soros poured hundreds of millions into liberal causes, but somehow it is wrong when people like Pope invest their money with candidates who can enact their principles into law.

Phil Kirk is a former chief of staff for Govs. James Martin and James Holshouser.