RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - In the almost two years since he took the oath of office to become the 75th Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper says he’s learned a lot about the fighting spirit of the people who live in the state. He’s watched as residents weathered two of the most devastating hurricanes in the state’s history, Matthew in 2017 and Florence in 2018. Gov. Cooper says some of his toughest days on the job came after visiting areas Florence hit hardest after making landfall in September.
“Meeting person after person whose life was so devastated,” he remembers. “To hear the stories of people not having a place to go because their house was underwater, a small business that just doesn’t have any idea of how they’re going to get started again, a church that has water up to the roof, talking with the minister and congregants wondering what’s going to happen to them, seeing a farmer that’s already leveraged to the hilt standing out in a field of cotton that is just absolutely destroyed. Coming home at the end of the night with all of the stories that I heard, sitting on the edge of the bed and thinking ‘how are we going to make sure that we get help to these people? How are we going to coordinate it?”
Cooper has battled GOP leaders in the General Assembly since taking office. He’s gone to court against the leadership over several issues, including changes made to the State Board of Elections, the governor’s authority to appoint members to several statewide boards and commissions, and proposed amendments to the state constitution. Just months into his term, Gov. Cooper signed a compromise bill into law that repealed the controversial House Bill 2 that brought a lot of negative attention to North Carolina.
Gov. Cooper does look forward to the new session of the legislature in 2019, when Republicans will not have the super-majority votes in both chambers to consistently overturn his vetoes. Republicans have used that strength to override 21 of Gov. Cooper’s 26 vetoes since he took office.
“What I hope is that I don’t have to veto as many because there will be more collaboration on the front end,” Gov. Cooper said. “They know I can veto and have that veto sustained. I think the people have sent us a strong message in November that they want balance, they want us to talk to each other. They want us to try to achieve consensus. We’ve been able to do that some in a limited way. We need to do more of it.”