By: Olivia Cohen
In a conclusion to an arduous gubernatorial race, Roy Cooper was officially elected as the governor of North Carolina on Dec. 5, 2016. The election was extended out almost a month after the election due to a requested recount by current governor Pat McCrory.
“We now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper,” said McCrory in a video released by his administration.
Democrats around the state were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief at Cooper’s acceptance rally on Dec. 6. Although his victory celebrated, his first public speech since election day was overshadowed by Donald Trump’s visit to Fayetteville that same night.
“We have probably never been as politically divided as we are now,” said Cooper at the event. “With your help, we can leave the politics of cynicism and fear in the rear-view mirror, and together we can build something better.”
To follow through on his plan to build something better, Cooper is choosing to focus his attention on education, jobs/economy, health care, the environment, and voting rights.
In opposition to McCrory’s stance on education, Cooper has made the state’s school system his first priority by focusing on increasing teacher pay, preventing layoffs, and providing more money for classroom supplies. In addition, Cooper intends to reinstate a teaching fellows program and manage the number of charter schools to ensure public school funding and diversity.
“Teachers will ultimately know we respect them when our policy reflects our rhetoric,” stated Cooper on his campaign website.
To promote a growing economy, Cooper is stressing the importance of small and medium-sized businesses, rather than larger corporations. While some North Carolinians believe that tax cuts for big companies are the best for the economy, Cooper believes it will be more efficient to increase regulations on consumer and efficiency reviews.
Cooper’s concern over NC’s delay in Medicaid usage has led him to conclude that while the service cannot necessarily be made cheaper, there are reforms that can be enacted to make it more accessible for citizens. These include making bills easier to understand, access, get refunds for, and verify with insurance companies.
Continuing with his active role in local environmental decisions, Cooper intends to keep searching for alternative energy production sources. Another item on his agenda is to quickly progress with the coal ash cleanup from the Dan River spill in 2014.
“As Attorney General, I have awarded over $25 million in grants to groups across North Carolina including land trusts, soil and water conservation districts, and other environmental and conservation groups with a focus on acquiring, restoring and protecting lands to protect the state’s waterways and water quality,” said Cooper.
Finally, Cooper intends to increase voting rights to citizens across the state. His plans include creating online voter registration, reinstating same day registration and voting, extending the early voting period, and more.
“I will work to expand voter opportunities and create a non-partisan Redistricting Commission to make voting districts fair and competitive,” said Cooper.
With the next four years ahead, Cooper has his work cut out for him. Nonetheless, his detailed agenda is sure to leave North Carolina very different than it is today.
Photos courtesy of yahoo.com and newsweek.com