Roy Cooper Official State Website
Roy Cooper’s WEBSITE
Do you support any expansion of Medicaid? Explain why or why not.
Right now, thousands of working North Carolinians fall into a health care coverage gap, which means they are working full-time, but still can’t afford health care. When they seek care in the emergency room, it’s expensive and the cost is increasing insurance premiums for everyone else. I’m fighting to expand Medicaid to close that coverage gap and extend coverage to half a million people, including families and veterans, without additional state tax dollars. No person in this state should have to choose between basic necessities and access to quality health care that saves lives. A large majority of states, red and blue, have expanded Medicaid with great success, including Vice President Mike Pence when he was Governor of Indiana. Expanding Medicaid would cover an estimated 500,000 or more North Carolinians, boost the economy by $4 billion and create an estimated 40,000 jobs.
What percent annual raises should teachers receive from the General Assembly? Do you think that should be the same raise as other state employees? If no, explain why higher or lower.
Education is the key to our future success, and students deserve a good teacher in every classroom. If we don’t keep our teacher salaries competitive we will lose good teachers to other states and the private sector. From my first day in office, I’ve fought for better teacher pay and funding for our classrooms and North Carolina has raised teacher pay, expanded pre-kindergarten programs and re-established the Teaching Fellows Program to recruit highly qualified teachers. General Assembly leaders have prioritized corporate tax cuts over teacher pay raises. We don’t have to pit teachers against other state employees. Instead of giving teachers significant raises comparable to those given to other state employees or passing a bond to build new schools and get students out of trailers, legislative leaders have focused on passing sweeping tax cuts for corporations which has shortchanged the people of North Carolina. My 2019-20 budget proposed a 9.1% increase for teachers, and my compromise offer included an increase of 8.5% over two years with no plateaus and a pay raise for every teacher. Legislative Republicans, on the other hand, want just a 3.9% increase over 2 years with some teachers left out.
What do you think is the biggest issue in North Carolina that you would be able to shape if elected?
My team and I have fought for better pay for teachers and other educators instead of sweeping corporate tax cuts. We’ve engineered success in recruiting jobs and growing businesses. I’ve vetoed bad budgets that valued corporate tax cuts over classrooms, clean water and better health care, and I’ve vetoed extreme right-wing social legislation that’s wrong for our people and our economy. We’ve worked hard and gotten results, but there’s more to do. I’m asking the people for a second term to complete our mission of a better educated, healthier and more prosperous North Carolina.
What’s a policy issue that you and the other party agree on?
In addition to being appointed by the President to serve on his Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, I’ve worked with the legislature across party lines to combat the opioid crisis in North Carolina. We launched the state’s first Opioid Action Plan in 2017 and, as a result, opioid prescriptions have dropped by 24%, emergency room visits for opioid misuse have declined by 10% and opioid related deaths have decreased by 5%. We have only begun to turn the tide on this epidemic, though, and we have more work ahead to keep helping people and saving lives.
What should the government do (or not do) to combat the effects of climate change?
Fighting to make sure North Carolinians have access to clean air and clean water and doing our part to reduce dangerous emissions is how we build a true line of defense against climate change. To date, my administration has secured historic environmental wins. We’ve ordered Duke Energy to dig up remaining coal ash ponds in North Carolina and worked to establish permanent water supplies for residents who have spent years drinking bottled water because of coal ash. We launched a Clean Energy Plan and established a goal to cut North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2025 and 70% by 2030, and renewed our state’s commitment to reducing pollution. We’ve fought offshore drilling and have stood against those who would threaten our coastal economy and our beaches. We need to continue to invest in renewables and make sure we achieve a carbon neutral North Carolina.
Would you change the state’s incentives programs, and how?
You can’t compete for new jobs and major companies with one arm tied behind your back, and we need every tool at our disposal to compete. My administration together with the legislature has demonstrated a commitment to job creation and wage growth by both supporting small business and attracting out of state talent to North Carolina to create jobs and contribute to a robust economy. We have recruited and announced tens of thousands of new jobs across the state. A large number of these projects are located in rural and economically distressed counties. Our exceptional workforce has drawn global companies to our state and more are coming. In attracting and retaining these companies, our workforce has been steadily growing the state into a worldwide leader in several key industries, including technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical companies, and others.