(WGHP) — It was seeing how much money was taken from his first paycheck as a teenager – and then looking at what we got for that money – is that got Pat McCrory interested in politics.

Fiscal responsibility, he says, has always been at the root of what he’s done in office both as mayor of Charlotte and governor of North Carolina … and he bristles at the suggestion that both major political parties don’t know how to control government spending.

“Not quite to the same degree but both parties have been irresponsible in fiscal management,” McCrory admits.  “All I can do is say my track record in fiscal management is stellar. I’m the only candidate running (for the US Senate in North Carolina) who turned deficits into surpluses, paid off a $2.2 billion debt, left Gov. Roy Cooper a $4 billion surplus.”

McCrory says the federal government’s stimulus checks extending through two years of the Covid pandemic were far more than was healthy, in the long run.

“It’s the exact opposite of what I did as governor of North Carolina in 2013,” McCrory says.  “When we had job openings and people weren’t taking them, I lowered the unemployment compensation.  And I caught a lot of hell for it – a lot of protestors – but it was the best decision for North Carolina because, three months later, people started returning back to work.  And North Carolina had the lowest drop of unemployment in the United States of America.”

The other way to get America’s economy going again, McCrory says, is to unleash our energy sector.

“The Biden administration is going to put us in the stone ages if they continue to have this policy of not unleashing America’s energy resources.  Not only will it bankrupt the middle class and starve the poor, but if we don’t take advantage of the oil and gas we have in American and open up these pipelines, we’re also putting us in danger, internationally and dependent on Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela and Russia. And natural gas is what’s funding the war right now in Ukraine.”

Although North Carolina is not a border state, McCrory says illegal immigration is still a big issue, here.

“The illegal immigration impacts North Carolina,” he says.  “Along I-95, along I-85, along I-40, along I-26, we’ve got cartel activity, dealing in drugs, dealing in humans.”

He says he is very much pro-immigration, as long as it’s done legally and people are woven into the American fabric.

“Assimilation is the greatest strength of the American experience – the melting pot of America,” McCrory says.  “And what my liberal friends, the Democrats are doing, they’re trying to split us back into tribes; into warfare on class, on gender, on sexuality, on income.”

He knows being a mayor and governor – executive positions – is different than being the legislator that the senate requires.

“Yeah, but the advantage is, I understand the roles of state, local and federal government,” he says.  “I also understand the roles of the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch – I’ve had to work with all three.  And I’m in favor of term limits.  We have people who are in DC far too long.”

It’s the FOX8 viewing area that McCrory says helped develop all those points of view.

“The Triad is a special place to me,” he says.  “I’m a Ragsdale High School graduate, Jamestown Elementary School.  The Triad is where I learned my values, Charlotte was where I became a leader and Raleigh is where we were change agents.”

See more from McCrory in this Your Local Election Headquarters report by Bob Buckley.