By WECT Staff | April 26, 2021 at 6:01 AM EDT – Updated April 26 at 11:51 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) – Gov. Roy Cooper delivered his third State of the State address Monday evening. His message to the people was one of resilience and hope.
“We look to a future that can be even better than we imagine,” said Cooper. “The State of our State is strong.”
He added that people have shown compassion amid a year of loss; healthcare workers have made sacrifices, and neighbors and communities have exhibited kindness.
“We’ve lost 12,560 Carolinians to COVID-19,” said Cooper. “Their lives have forever enriched ours.”
Cooper said the pandemic has shown the critical need to strengthen our schools and has exposed gaps in internet access. He praised people who have taken on multiple jobs to make ends meet and said people need opportunities to get better paying jobs and health insurance.
“I’ve asked people to listen to health experts to help save lives and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed,” said Cooper.
He praised health care workers, “Your commitment and courage have made all the difference.”
Cooper said North Carolina ranks low in rates of death per capita from COVID and he commended the success of the vaccination program.
The governor also referenced the success of many relief programs including the Hope Program.
“Our state’s response to the pandemic has been strong,” said Cooper. “Our differences get the attention, but our similarities got billions of dollars to people who needed it.” The governor urged both parties to work together to expand Medicaid.
He also called on legislators to invest in K-12 and higher education because many teachers are working multiple jobs to make ends meet and said they missed out on pay increases in the last budget.
“If we want to recruit and train the best educators, we need to pay them better,” said Cooper and added that with low interest rates, passing a strong bond referendum would help pay for infrastructure to improve schools.
Cooper talked about racial injustice and said that we must all stand together to stop it in North Carolina.
“We must confront systems that favor some and harm others,” he said.
The governor said we should work together and that we owe it to ourselves and others to build a state that is truly more educated, healthier and prosperous. He reinforced the need for legislators to work together to help the state rebuild from the pandemic even stronger by expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, investing in workforce training and solidifying the state’s infrastructure.
“I believe that North Carolina is Strong, Resilient and Ready to face the challenges of the future,” said Cooper. “I believe that we will rebuild from this pandemic to be even stronger than before. And I believe that we can roar into the future together, creating a shared recovery that ensures our best days lie ahead.”
Tim Moore, Speaker of the North Carolina House, responded to Governor Cooper’s State of the State address.
“Republicans and Democrats will have to work hard together — and we won’t always agree on the best way to do things, but I assure you that we all agree that we want North Carolina to be the very best it can be — we want to leave North Carolina a more prosperous, healthier, and stronger state than we found it for our children,” said Moore. Read his full statement below:
The State of the State address is usually given in February or March of odd-numbered years, but things are different this year due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. This marks Cooper’s third State of the State address, and first since his reelection in November.
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