VIDEO: Roy Cooper Talks Education, HB2 in WNC
NC Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper paid a visit to Fairview on Saturday. The Democratic Attorney General addressed dozens of Democrats at the home of state Rep. John Ager in what was billed as a "candidates meet and greet." He was scheduled to attend a fundraiser later in the day.
Cooper started his remarks talking about public education. "People are hungry for leaders who truly believe in public education and will do something about it instead of just talking about it."
Cooper also criticized his opponent, Republican Governor Pat McCrory for not expanding Medicaid, noting other conservative governors across the country did so, despite their being ideologically opposed to the Affordable Care Act.
Cooper also blasted McCrory for signing House Bill 2. "It is time to repeal this law. It is time for the governor of North Carolina to be a leader and to say 'This was wrong. We've got to step up for the good of our state and make a change. But have we seen it? No."
HB2 requires transgender people to use public restrooms and locker room facilities that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates. It also prevents local municipalities from offering broader LGBT protections and from raising the minimum wage. McCrory and Republican legislative leaders have said the bill is needed to protect girls and children from sexual predators. It was launched back into the spotlight over the past week when the NCAA and then the ACC both pulled championship events from the state, citing HB2 as the reason. McCrory has also run campaign ads talking about the issue.
Cooper said the state is going to elect leaders in November that make it easier to register and vote, that believe in renewable energy, that "actually believe in science and data and facts and making decisions based on that." His full remarks and video are below.
Cooper's remarks came before a number of Democrats from WNC, including state Representatives John Ager and Susan Fisher and state Senator Terry Van Duyn, all of Buncombe County. Ager, the owner of Hickory Nut Gap Farm, is battling in what's expected to be a competitive race against Republican Dr. Frank Moretz, a physician and co-owner of Highland Brewing Company.
I caught up with Rep. Ager after his remarks to ask him about the latest developments on House Bill 2.
Also in attendance was Rep. Susan Fisher of Buncombe County. Fisher was instrumental in the defeat of a bill that would have mandated a districting system for the Asheville City Council, which was vigorously opposed by the entire council and every other lawmaker representing Buncombe County except for former Republican state Sen. Tom Apodaca, who introduced. I spoke with Fisher about the dramatic moment the bill failed on the House floor on the final day of the recent short session. We also talked about HB2 and the election.
I also caught up with a number of other democratic candidates for various offices in Buncombe County. Those interviews are below: