Along with several NC Chamber members, NC Chamber President & CEO Lew Ebert is participating in the North Carolina Influencer Series, presented by The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer and the Durham Herald-Sun. Throughout the year, leaders from across the state will answer questions on a variety of topics that matter most to North Carolinians. In this survey, Influencers were asked to review a list of issues and rate their importance. Read Lew’s answers below.
Q: What is the biggest impediment to progress on these issues?
For far too long, the conversations around each of these issues have been hijacked for partisan political gain in North Carolina. If we’re truly committed to making our state the best place in the world to live, learn, play, and do business, we’ve got to set aside the animosity and work together. If we all made a more concerted effort to listen first, truly understand opposing arguments, and find common ground, I believe we’d see significant and meaningful progress.
Q: Is there an issue you think is important but is getting little attention in the media and elsewhere? If so, what is it?
Far and away the biggest issue facing North Carolina’s business community is the skills gap—the lack of available workers with the right skills and experience to fill open positions. We’re seeing explosive growth and optimism about our state’s future, but if we can’t supply the talent needed to fuel that growth, North Carolina will be in a difficult position.
Q: Readers have identified political polarization, including gerrymandering, as among the issues most important to them this election year. What policy solutions should candidates be discussing to address this problem?
I couldn’t agree more that political polarization is a serious issue, but unfortunately the answer isn’t as simple as passing a bill. We need to encourage our current and future lawmakers to take the lead in changing the divisive rhetoric that too often occupies political discussions. When we elect good people, we can make tremendous strides towards addressing other serious issues by working together.
Read the NC Influencers story summarizing responses here.