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McGrady promises focus on teacher pay

State Rep. Chuck McGrady joined a growing list of incumbents calling for higher teacher pay as he announced his intention to seek a third term in state House.


"It has been an honor to represent the citizens of Henderson County in the legislature, but there is still unfinished business," McGrady said in a news release. "While the state has an excellent credit rating, and we enacted unemployment compensation reform and tax reform, we now need to focus on teacher compensation. If we want to keep high performing teachers and attract the best and the brightest to teach in the state, salaries must be competitive with neighboring states."

McGradyChuck McGradyHigher teacher pay has emerged as the dominant theme of the 2014 campaign for state legislative seats so far. Gov. Pat McCrory announced last week that he would be supporting a pay raise for teachers, who now rank 46th in the U.S. in pay.

Ronnie Edwards, a retired investigator with the Department of Motor Vehicles challenging McGrady in the Republican primary on May 6, made teacher pay the centerpiece of his campaign when he announced for the seat last year.


House leaders gave McGrady a number of important committee posts in his second term. He was named co-chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education as well as co-chairman of a Judiciary Subcommittee with primary responsibility for criminal law. Additionally, he serves on committees dealing with Agriculture, Environment, Ethics, Local Government, and Transportation.

A former Flat Rock Village Council member and Henderson County commissioner, McGrady touted his leadership on issues important to local governments. He chairs the "County Caucus"—a joint caucus of senators and representatives interested in issues affecting counties. Working with the NC Association of County Commissioners, he passed legislation to streamline planning process for solid waste landfills.

While some legislators want to restrict local governments from enacting environmental ordinances, McGrady, an attorney and past national president of the Sierra Club, has argued that local governments are better able than state government or the federal government to craft rules that fit their unique situations. "Local governments are closest to the people, and I don't think Raleigh should be dictating how they address local issues," McGrady says.

McGrady played a major role in passing the Farm Bill Act of 2013, a law that strengthened liability protections for fruit and vegetable growers and added additional legal safeguards for people and organizations engaged in equine and farm activities. He chaired one of the committees that took up the Farm Bill and successfully fought efforts to add a whole range of provisions to the bill that had little or nothing to do with farms, including a provision that could have removed the ability of the State to protect mountain bogs.

One of the highlights of the past year for McGrady was the completion of the visitors center and pedestrian bridge at DuPont State Recreational Forest. His expectation is that in the near future the State will complete its acquisition the DuPont plant site which will become part of the state forest. He also will continue to identify monies to acquire the so-called "East Fork" or "Headwaters" tract—a large forested area that protects the French Broad River.

"At the end of the day, my focus is Henderson County," McGrady said in the news release. "I've fought to protect Henderson County's interests in the regional dispute over water. I've sought state funding for local parks and improvements to our roads. I've tried to help my constituents deal with whatever issues might arise with state agencies, and I've worked on a range of economic development projects, including the successful effort to bring Sierra Nevada to Henderson County. I'm seeking reelection so I can continue this work."

McGrady expects to run an aggressive campaign. He has already held his first fundraising event, and he'll launch a new campaign website shortly, His legislative website,, provides a broad view of what is happening at the General Assembly, and he is available on Facebook,, and on Twitter @ChuckMcGrady.