Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper delivered his third State of the State address on Monday. The speech highlighted North Carolinians’ resilience throughout the pandemic and reinforced the need for legislators to work together to help the state rebuild from the pandemic even stronger by expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, investing in workforce training and solidifying the state’s infrastructure.
“I believe that North Carolina is Strong, Resilient and Ready to face the challenges of the future,” Cooper said. “I believe that we will rebuild from this pandemic to be even stronger than before. And I believe that we can roar into the future together, creating a shared recovery that ensures our best days lie ahead.”
North Carolina is one of few states that has not expanded Medicaid. Now, with even more federal dollars available, Cooper urged both parties to work together and get this done. Medicaid expansion would provide billions of federal dollars to cover over 500,000 North Carolinians, help rural hospitals, provide mental health services and keep working people healthy.
Cooper also pushed for more workforce training to ensure students and adult workers can find fulfilling, good-paying jobs, as more companies from all over continue to bring new jobs to the state.
The governor called on legislators to invest in K-12 and higher education, teacher pay, infrastructure, high-speed internet, clean energy, and economic development for a stronger and more prosperous future.
“In a year of hardship and loss, we owe it to ourselves and each other – and, as leaders, we owe it to the people who elected us – to build a state that is truly more educated, equitable, healthier and prosperous,” said Cooper.
Throughout the speech, the governor recognized North Carolinians who have supported their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
♦ Felecia Young, Salisbury; Sixth Grade Math Teacher at Knox Middle School;
♦ Dr. Karen Smith, Raeford; Provider at Independent Family Practice;
♦ Cecil Conrad, Lexington; Owner of The Bar-B-Q Center;
♦ Cassandra Brooks, Clayton; Owner of The Little Believers Academy;
♦ Natesha Fields, New Bern; Nurse at CarolinaEast Medical Center;
♦ Chris Morris, High Point; President, Custom Contract Furnishings;
♦ Lexine Merrill, Monroe; Critical Care Nurse;
♦ Lieutenant Colonel David Walliser, Raleigh; North Carolina National Guard; and
♦ Anderson “Andy” Warlick, Gastonia; CEO, Parkdale Mills
♦ Read Gov. Cooper’s full remarks HERE.
♦ Learn more about the guests and watch Gov. Cooper’s Zoom conversations with them HERE.
♦ Read the guests’ full biographies HERE.