Former Governor Jim Hunt and business leaders from across the state descended on the General Assembly today calling on legislators to preserve funding for Smart Start. Bankers, real estate agents, small business owners and farmers were among those who joined the Governor to tell lawmakers that early childhood investments are vital to North Carolina’s economy. The event included a press conference featuring Gov. Hunt; Robert A. Ingram, General Partner of Hatteras Venture Partners; Todd Hildebran, owner of Hildebran Management Consulting; and Dr. Olson Huff, Board Chair of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., the organization that leads Smart Start.
“These programs clearly provide a return on investment,” said Todd Hildebran, owner of Hildebran Management Consulting, who drove in from Rowan County to participate in the event. “When children perform at grade level, everybody wins. The children thrive in school and the state saves millions a year on special education and remediation. The evidence is clear. These programs pay for themselves and create less of a burden for our K-12 system. I know the children in Rowan have seen the benefits of caring providers and Smart Start improvements. That is why I’m here today.”
WRAL ran Gov. Hunt’s entire address to the audience and media.