WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – In a crowded field that includes some familiar names, Gary Dunn is not one of the first candidates for Governor that might come to mind. But 2012 will be his second campaign for the highest elected office in North Carolina. The resident of Matthews, NC ran for the seat in 1992.
"I ran 20 years ago, but I was really too busy to participate," Dunn said during a recent interview in the WECT studios. "I thought about it for a week, and when the registration time came up, I decided to go do it."
He's still busy now. The 58-year-old is in the sales business, is a student at UNC Charlotte, and also takes care of his six children.
Dunn is one of six candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed Governor Bev Perdue. He ran in 1992 as a Republican. He says there is not a specific issue that suggested a change from one party to the other. He is also not fazed by opposing some well-known candidates in the primary, such as former Congressman Bob Etheridge and Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton.
"If their well-known names and support networks had worked, then why are we (North Carolina) in this situation?" he asked. "One of the reasons I'm in the race is that I think people have realized that well-known names and large support networks don't always equate to wise decisions for the state."
"Seeing that I am a student, I must support it," Dunn said when asked about Gov. Perdue's proposal to raise the state sales tax by ¾ of a cent, with the revenue going to education. It's a plan backed by many of the Democratic candidates for the seat. He did not get specific when asked about how the revenue would be spent.
Dunn believes there is a correlation between education and the economy. "When there are no jobs, it doesn't matter what kind of education you have," Dunn said.
When asked about the recent examples of companies bypassing southeastern North Carolina for other states to build major manufacturing facilities, Dunn says incentives to lure those bigger employers are not always the best options. "I don't want to sell the farm to get the animals," Dunn said. "It's a balancing act, and you want to bid intelligently."
Dunn is not in favor of the NCDOT putting toll booths on Interstate-95 in North Carolina as a way to raise revenue for improvements and possible expansion of the roadway. He sees drivers, and especially truckers, bypassing the roadway to avoid the excess cost. "By just adding a toll tax for the highways, I think it might just defeat the purpose and work against us."