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Former Gov: North Carolina education changes have boosted state

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In the North Carolina delegation there is a sense of boundless pride. In the flock of the democratic faithful, near the podium, is Charlotte City Council member John Autrey.

He is beaming over what this event has brought.

"This is a great thing for the city," Autrey said." Not just democrats, but the entire city."

Center stage and in prime time was the place former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt.

Hunt was in the office during the 1980's and 1990's and holds the record for being in office longer than any other governor in the history of North Carolina.

He told the story about how North Carolina was a poor state just 50 years ago and through industry, trade and commerce had built itself into an economic powerhouse.

Hunt said it was all possible by building the education system across the state.

"Last year, students born nearly 20 years ago - in 1993 - finished high school with the highest graduation rate in our history," Hunt said. "Companies want to come here to hire them, that's what we did in North Carolina."

During his time as Governor, North Carolina had unprecedented growth across North Carolina, and Hunt known for fiery campaign speeches borrowed a page from his chapter on being pro business.

"We are doers in this state," he said. "We build for the future. The other crowd just doesn't get it. This is a time to drive education forward."

It is  pride from the past that some delegates take to heart, and feeling a sense of kinship.

Delegates like Charlotte pastor Brenda Stevenson feel a sense of reverence to those who have impacted our states legacy.

"They've clearly set the pace for others to follow, she said.

Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt was scheduled to speak, but was rescheduled for Thursday night.

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