Wilmington, N.C. — Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Attorney General Roy Cooper, his Democratic challenger in the November election, took the stage in front of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators Friday afternoon in Wilmington to discuss teacher pay.
McCrory has proposed raising the average teacher salary to $50,000 a year, but Cooper called it a political move.
"That doesn’t mean three years of a little bit of progress, and a promise of 5 percent during an election year," Cooper said. "It means a real plan for North Carolina."
McCrory said he’s been working on a plan for longer than Cooper suggested.
"Between 2013 and 2014 and 2015, in years in which there were no elections, North Carolina passed the largest pay raise in the U.S.," McCrory said. "That was a 7 percent average pay increase."
McCrory also defended House Bill 2 on Friday in Wilmington, calling it common sense.
The measure, which McCrory signed into law hours after the General Assembly approved it in a one-day special session last month, requires that people use the public bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates, excludes gay and transgender people from protections against employment and public accommodations discrimination and bars cities and counties from extending such protections to them.
"This is not about discrimination, it is about common-sense etiquette, and I’m going to fight for that common-sense etiquette," McCrory said.
Cooper said there is a lot more at stake than good manners.
"Federal funds are at risk with House Bill 2, as well as good-paying jobs and our economy," he said. "The governor and the House and the Senate need to get rid of it."