Keeping campaign promises a work in progress for Cooper

Posted August 8

Gov. Roy Cooper

— A little more than one-eighth into his term, Gov. Roy Cooper has a ways to go to fulfill the various promises he made last year as a candidate.

WRAL News assembled its Promise Tracker for Cooper shortly after he took office in January, culling 31 pledges he made in campaign materials or during gubernatorial debates, campaign appearances or candidate interviews last fall.

So far, he has kept two of them and failed on a third:

  • Cooper negotiated with lawmakers a repeal to House Bill 2 in March. Although LGBT advocates pan the replacement legislation, saying it still limits transgender access to public bathrooms and prohibits local nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020, the repeal was enough to lure major sporting events and some business expansions back to North Carolina.
  • Lawmakers included funding in the 2017-18 state budget to resurrect the Teaching Fellows program. The previous program was phased out several years ago, but Cooper and lawmakers saw a chance to entice teachers into science and math fields by providing forgivable loans.
  • Although Cooper pushed in his first days in office to expand Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act, Republican legislative leaders went to court to block the move. A federal judge agreed that state law prohibited any unilateral action by Cooper, and with President Donald Trump's administration's desire to repeal the ACA, Cooper hasn't made any more efforts on expanding Medicaid.

PROMISE TRACKER Gov. Roy Cooper campaign promise tracker The remaining 28 promises are a work in progress.

Some are moving ahead, such as raising teacher pay to the national average or expanding access to pre-kindergarten programs statewide. But other items that he pushed for in his budget proposal, such as reviving the state's tax incentives for film and television productions or expanding broadband access in rural areas, remain stalled after they were omitted in the final budget that lawmakers passed over his veto. Cooper has taken no obvious steps on still others, such as shifting incentives to small businesses and reversing a funding cap on financial aid at schools in the University of North Carolina system.


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