Politics & Government

Obama will head back to North Carolina in June

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will return to North Carolina in two weeks, when he is scheduled to visit the Triangle area — Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill — for a discussion about how the government can promote economic growth in the private sector.

Obama plans to meet with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council on June 13, according to the White House. He is expected to hear from local business leaders as well.

The Jobs and Competitiveness Council was created in January to get the private sector more deeply involved in job creation and to provide non-partisan advice to Obama. It held its first meeting Feb. 24 at the White House.

“The council is focused sharply on developing an actionable plan to create jobs and improve American competitiveness,” said Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of the council, and chairman and chief executive officer of GE, in a prepared statement. “We look forward to discussing specific steps with the president in North Carolina.”

Discussions likely will include ways to educate the workforce. Obama’s last trip to North Carolina took him to Forsyth Tech Community College in December, where he toured biotech classrooms and spoke of the role technical colleges play in re-educating the workforce.

The state’s unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in April, the 10th highest in the country. Some counties have been hit much harder, with rates topping 15 percent.

The exact location of Obama’s June 13 visit has not been disclosed. It’s also unclear whether he’ll attend any fundraisers on the trip.

But expect visits from his administration to keep ratcheting up ahead of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, was just here Monday, and Tammy Duckworth, an assistant secretary for veterans affairs, is expected Thursday.

A new poll shows North Carolina is a key swing state in the election.

Obama has an approval rating of 50 percent and a 46 percent disapproval rating, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic leaning firm in Raleigh. It is the first time since June 2009, that the firm has found Obama with a majority approval rating in the state.

It is the second poll in recent days showing Obama in positive territory. A poll conducted for The Civitas Institute, a conservative advocacy group in Raleigh, found Obama with a 51 percent approval rating in the state.

News & Observer staff writer Rob Christensen contributed to this report.

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