The following is a column by Mark Shiver, host of the “What Matters in North Carolina” podcast.
Recently there appeared an article online applauding Gov. Roy Cooper’s “doggedly impressive start.” I thought I’d do my own appraisal of his first 100 days and see if I concur with that assessment. I do not.
Cooper has done very little of substance since being sworn in as governor. In his defense, the office of governor doesn’t have a lot of power in North Carolina, be it a Democrat or a Republican occupying the position. But to deem Cooper’s first 100 days as impressive, doggedly or otherwise, is a partisan stretch.
He did propose a budget, something all governors do early in the year. It was lavish in its proposed spending, and not congruent with the prudent use of taxpayer money that has been a hallmark of the NC General Assembly since the Republicans became the majority in January 2011.
The slanted assessment I read was glowing in its reporting of Cooper’s proposed increase of teacher pay. However, this is simply getting on the bandwagon of the General Assembly, which has been raising teacher pay for the past few years. This is a refreshing change for teachers who had their pay frozen the last time the Democrats were in the majority.
In an appearance on the “What Matters in North Carolina” podcast today, Speaker of the NC House Tim Moore said, “We [the Republican-led General Assembly] have put more money in education these last few years than in any time in the state’s history – period. That is a fact. That is indisputable. We have done that.”
“We are paying teachers now more than they have ever made,” Moore said. “We’re spending more on education.”
The General Assembly has taken the lead on education over the past six years, and Cooper is just getting on board, which in my opinion is not “doggedly impressive.”
Of course, Cooper did sign House Bill 142, which repealed HB 2. Whether this was impressive might depend on one’s perspective, as Cooper certainly did not impress many on the left by signing the bill into law:
#HB142 is probably one of the worst political treacheries perpetrated by a Democrat this year and no one outside of NC is talking about it.
— Asinus Pervicax (@Cato_of_Utica) April 22, 2017
If taken with Cooper’s work to undermine the state through joining the opposition to HB2, and his efforts to rally Democrats against the General Assembly’s efforts to come up with a repeal of HB 2, his signing of HB142 loses some of its luster.
Of course, come campaign time it will be heralded as one of the greatest accomplishments in state history. But the real “hat tip” goes to the General Assembly that made sure that women and girls are to be kept safe in private facilities.
Outside of vetoing a few bills, which were overridden, and attending a few sporting events, it’s unclear what is so “doggedly impressive” about the governor’s first 100 days. As Moore pointed out, the real work is being done by the General Assembly.
Moore said, “If you look at the legislation that has passed, it’s really good legislation. It’s all about improving education, and strengthening our criminal laws and improving our infrastructure for the state. Bills promoting and enhancing freedom. We’ve had legislation, for example, to crack down on sanctuary cities and make sure that our immigration laws are being followed.”
“It’s good conservative legislation that North Carolinians should feel very proud about,” Moore continued. “I feel very confident that the taxpayers are getting their money’s worth with the Republican-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House. We’ve been trying to move the state forward to bring more jobs to the state.”
Partisanship will no doubt skew one’s perspective on the performance of the governor or the legislature. But when objectivity is allowed a free hand, there is no question that the NC General Assembly is working to improve the lives of all the state’s citizens, and doing so very effectively.
To listen to the entire interview with NC House Speaker Tim Moore, click here.