Can Gov. Roy Cooper keep his campaign promises?

Gov. Roy Cooper was elected in November to a second four-year term, meaning it’s time to track how well he does with a new list of priorities.

The coronavirus pandemic upended the traditional campaign trail in 2020, limiting Cooper’s appearances outside of official briefings and making it harder for reporters to pin him down on specific policy proposals. So, to compile the list, WRAL News culled through Cooper’s campaign website and ads and re-watched his lone debate with Republican challenger Dan Forest and other virtual campaign forums.

Some promises, like expanding Medicaid and raising teacher salaries, are priorities he’s pushed for four years. Others, like boosting unemployment benefits and increasing teacher diversity are new. Some will require the Democratic governor to negotiate with the Republican-controlled General Assembly, while he may be able to achieve others on his own.

This tracker focuses on promises for which there is a clear metric, such as the establishment of a program or another concrete action.

How it works

Scroll down and click on a promise for a summary, its source, and its status. To return to this page, click the key at the top of the screen. We rate promises on the following scale:

Promise Tracker: Achieved

Achieved: This is the mark of a promise that has been kept. Cooper achieved the goal he set out for himself.

Promise Tracker: Kept so far

Kept so far: Cooper committed to an ongoing behavior, such as refusing to sign a particular type of bill. These are promises he can't really achieve full marks on until close to the end of his term.

Promise Tracker: In progress

In progress: Most promises start out as "In progress." These are pledges that Cooper may be working on but hasn't completed yet. These include promises where the administration may have hit some critical benchmarks in working toward a goal.

Promise Tracker: Mixed Results

Mixed results: Cooper has partially achieved his promise but fell short in some way. For example, governors often set deadlines that they miss but achieve an overall goal, albeit later than planned.

Promise Tracker: Failed

Failed: Cooper made an effort but ran into problems, such as opposition from the legislature, which blocked his way.

Promise Tracker: Broken

Broken: Cooper had the ability to follow through on his promise but did not do so.

What we're tracking

Here are the nine promises we're tracking. Click on each headline for more about what Cooper promised and how he is doing.

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