Editorial: Roy Cooper and the triumph of leadership
Posted January 6
A CBC Editorial: Friday, Jan. 6, 2017; Editorial# 8107
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
This week Gov. Roy Cooper told the state’s top business leaders he wanted to be “an aggressive recruiter,” building North Carolina’s economy and stressing three initiatives: expand Medicaid; improve public education funding and repeal House Bill 2.
He had specific goals:
- Use federal Medicaid funds so 500,000 low income North Carolinians would have medical coverage. This would boost the state’s economy by up to $4 billion, create thousands of jobs and help sustain rural hospitals
- Move public school teacher pay to the national average within four years and increase investment in community colleges and universities
- Work to repeal HB2 and reach out to businesses, now bypassing the state, to expand and come to North Carolina.
Cooper also laid out expectations from the high-profile audience:
- North Carolina’s hospitals need to fill the small funding gap to secure the federal dollars.
- Business leaders must press legislators to refocus and demand adequate investments in education.
- Business leaders also need to pressure the legislature’s GOP leaders to free rank-and-file lawmakers to vote on HB2 repeal. Cooper said there are enough Republicans who will join with Democrats to pass a no-strings-attached HB2 repeal.
Cooper made his case in a clear, compelling fashion. He avoided empty catch-phrases like “Carolina comeback.” Missing were unspecified accusations of “broken systems.” Absent were petty, partisan, personal potshots at those who might disagree with him.
It wasn’t the showmanship of style over substance. It wasn’t partisan one-upmanship. It wasn’t dictatorial. It wasn’t Democratic or Republican.
It was leadership. It was refreshing.
Unfortunately the reaction from the top leader of the legislature didn’t follow the same tone.
Senate Republican leader Phil Berger’s quick retort was personal, inaccurate and mean. No surprise.
Cooper’s proposals are certainly not above examination or criticism. But Berger’s response was neither. It was the vitriolic and belittling claptrap that plays to the narrow political base of a gerrymandered legislature. After six years, it is tired, boring and insulting.
Cooper, by contrast, demonstrated in his remarks Wednesday he has a broader constituency. He is looking out for all of the people of North Carolina.
The state’s legislators should pay attention. You can’t gerrymander an entire state and thwart the will of the majority forever.
With court-mandated redistricting, 2017 is an election-year for the General Assembly. It is likely there will be some clear choices ahead. As Berger and his allies continue to divide North Carolinians, Cooper will be doing the opposite.
Roy Cooper wants to work for and lead all North Carolinians. Phil Berger and his legislative cronies want only to work for those who follow their narrow, ideologically-driven agenda.
This fall voters will have a choice: narrow divisiveness or genuine consensus building. That choice should be obvious.