Roy Cooper is the Democratic incumbent for North Carolina’s governor. The governor’s election is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.
Name: Roy Cooper
Race: N.C. Governor
Biography: Since 2017, I have proudly served as the governor of North Carolina. Before that, I served as attorney general for 16 years. I practiced law in Rocky Mount for 18 years and I also served as a state House member and Senate Majority Leader.
Why should the people of North Carolina re-elect you as Governor?
As governor of North Carolina, I’ve fought for good-paying jobs, strong public schools, access to quality, affordable health care, and a more prosperous North Carolina. It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead this state and strive toward those goals.
During this pandemic, I will continue to make the tough decisions based on science and data while putting the health and safety of North Carolinians first. We are slowing the spread of the virus while helping the unemployed, our schools and teachers and our small businesses. I am committed to getting us through this pandemic, as well as rebuilding North Carolina even stronger than before.
I look forward to continuing to build on my mission to build a North Carolina where people are better educated, healthier, and have more money in their pockets so that there will be more opportunities for people to have lives of purpose and abundance.
What is the most important legislative issue facing North Carolina, and what is your position on it?
We need to invest in schools, raise teacher pay, increase enrollment in early childhood education, ensure broadband access in rural schools, and keep our schools safe. Our Early Childhood Action Plan recognizes the value of strong investments in education and health care from cradle to career, and we’ve already seen a decline in infant mortality.
I’m fighting to expand Medicaid to close the coverage gap and extend coverage to more than half-a-million people, including families and veterans, without additional state tax dollars. More people have lost their health insurance due to job loss during the pandemic. I will keep fighting until legislative Republicans agree to expand Medicaid or until we beat them this November. No person in this state should have to choose between basic necessities and access to quality health care that saves lives. Expanding Medicaid would also boost the economy by $4 billion and create an estimated 40,000 jobs, while helping to save rural hospitals and reducing private health insurance premium costs, at no additional cost to the state.
We’ve recruited and announced tens of thousands of new jobs across North Carolina. A large number of these projects are located in rural and economically distressed counties. I remain committed to helping every North Carolinian find a good-paying job. I’ve created initiatives such as NC Job Ready, Finish Line Grants and Hometown Strong. Our Clean Energy Plan fights climate change while attracting good-paying clean energy jobs to our state.
What is the top challenge facing North Carolina, and how would you address it if elected?
Right now, in this state and across the country, we are facing an unprecedented challenge and a public health crisis. Medicaid expansion is more critical than ever to ensure every North Carolinian can access quality and affordable care and to keep rural hospitals open. As we seek to rebuild our economy and help those who are hurting, we must do so by strengthening our middle class. That means investing in our small businesses and supporting our middle class families. As coronavirus has forced classrooms to online learning, we have seen the disparities in broadband access and how that can impact our children’s education. I know that we can move through this tough time and rebuild North Carolina even stronger than before, with more access to health care, stronger schools, and a thriving economy.
In light of national gun control debates, what, if any, gun laws would you support changing?
Though the legislature has also refused to work with me to make our communities safe from guns, I signed an Executive Order to strengthen background checks to keep guns from criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
We need to continue to strengthen and require background checks. I have urged legislators to ban the sale of assault weapons to anyone under 21. I have also urged them to require a permit for certain gun purchases, a three-day waiting period and require anyone buying them — at a store, online, or at a gun show — to go through the same background check as they would for a handgun.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina, and how would you plan to address them?
Coronavirus has shone a bright light on policy areas that have been ignored for too long, including Medicaid expansion, education and broadband access.
During the pandemic, over 200,000 people have lost their health insurance. Expanding Medicaid is the best thing we can do to help those who have lost their health insurance by closing the coverage gap and covering over a half million people, including families and veterans, at no additional cost to the state.
As we begin an unprecedented school year, we need to make sure we are supporting our students with unique learning needs. That’s why I directed $95.6 million in new funding to help support K-12 and postsecondary students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who can benefit from support. I have fought hard to invest in our public schools. In my next term, I will continue to fight for our public educators and students because it’s the right thing to do and it makes our state stronger.
High-speed internet access is crucial for teachers, students and families in rural areas. In August, my administration awarded more than $12 million in grants to expand high-speed internet in 11 rural counties in North Carolina. I declared August 17 – 21 to be Rural Broadband Week in North Carolina, prioritizing the expansion of broadband infrastructure and closing the digital divide. I will continue to work to end the digital divide.
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