The Governor is the highest executive office in each state and serves as the commander-in chief and head executive for terms of 4 years. In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper's seat is up for grabs in 2020.
Cooper's Platform TLDR
Cooper’s priorities as Governor are steadfast: “good-paying jobs, strong public schools, access to quality, affordable health care, and a safer and more just North Carolina.
Fierce opponent to HB2 ("bathroom bill")
Executive Order 15: formed the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, in the wake of the George Floyd murder.
Executive Order 93: address the problem of equal pay for the women of North Carolina.
Launched the state’s Clean Energy Plan.
Strongly opposes the termination of DACA.
Forest's Platform TLDR
Forest is running on a three-legged platform:
Forest has been vocal about Gov. Cooper’s COVID response, urging the state open.
On education, Forest believes in school choice and local control over public schools.
As a highly devout man, Forest is aligned with socially conservative views, especially on abortion.
Meet the candidates:
Bio: Cooper says he is running because he wants "a North Carolina where people are better educated, healthier, have more money in their pockets, and have the opportunity to live lives of purpose and abundance.” Born and raised in NC and a graduate of UNC, Cooper has remained community centric, teaching in public schools and Sunday Schools. While a NC Legislator, Cooper fought to increase teacher pay and wrote NC’s first children’s health insurance initiative. As Attorney General, Cooper cracked down on child predators and saw an astounding 30% decrease in crime. Roy’s priorities as governor have been to secure “good-paying jobs, strong public schools, access to quality, affordable health care, and a safer and more just North Carolina.” He worked hard and fast to mitigate the fallout of the Bathroom Bill with members of the GOP in his state. He has demonstrated the leadership to navigate through disasters like hurricanes and floods
Bio: Dan Forest has served as Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina since 2013. He ran on what he called a “three-legged stool platform” - smaller government, lower taxes, personal responsibility - to combat unemployment and advocate for greater job creation. He calls NC a strong business climate with “low taxes, good roads, and safe communities.” As a highly devout man, Forest is aligned with socially conservative views. The News & Observer reported that in a speech given to Civitas, Forest insinuated that issues like gun control and climate change were the “religion of the left” who “have no hope in a higher power.” According to Wikipedia, in a June 2019 speech at church, Forest stated that no nation "has survived the diversity and multiculturalism that America faces today"; the remark prompted criticism. Forest has sharply condemned nearly every measure taken by Gov. Cooper, demanding reopening of public places with no government oversight. He has (incorrectly) claimed that the flu had killed more in NC than COVID. He has publicly attended that COVID restrictions are a deliberate plot by the left to attack Christianity.
who's supporting who?
On the issues:
US House of Reps candidates
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Cooper believes abortion should be legal.
Forest identifies as pro-life and believes North Carolina should limit abortion to "protect those who cannot protect themselves." He has repeatedly emphasized his Christian values. In a speech on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2020, he stated that Planned Parenthood was founded to ‘destroy the entire black race.'
Forest strongly believes abortion should be illegal.
2. Civil Rights
Cooper strongly opposes NC HB2, the "bathroom bill." In response to the death of George Floyd, he formed the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equality. Cooper is endorsed by Equality NC, a Raleigh-based advocacy group for LGBTQIA+ rights, and by the Black Economic Alliance, a non-partisan alliance for prosperity in the Black community.
Cooper has used executive action in support of LGBTQ rights and racial justice.
Forest has previously claimed that 'transgenderism' is a 'feeling' and was a strong supporter of NC's HB2 "bathroom bill" which he said protected women from transgender men in their bathrooms. When a federal judge struck down North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage, Forest called it “judicial tyranny.” He has referred to LGBTQIA+ rights as proof we've turned our backs on God. He has raised alarm about "rampant" voter fraud in support of NC's voter ID law (struck down by a federal judge in January 2020).
Forest supports NC's HB2 and voter ID laws.
Since the launch of Cooper's Opioid Action Plan in 2017, opioid dispensing has decreased by 24% and North Carolina has seen the first major decline in emergency department visits. In 2017, he served on President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which provided policy recommendations for combating the addiction crisis. In 2019, he signed into law a "death by distribution" act that allows drug dealers to be charged with second-degree murder in opioid deaths and protects doctors with a "Good Samaritan" clause. Cooper does not believe the time is right for legalization in North Carolina.
Cooper has used executive power against the opioid crisis and opposes marijuana legalization.
In response to Cooper's call to expand Medicaid to combat the opioid crisis, Forest has stated that "Medicaid expansion will bankrupt the state." He has, however, stated, "I believe in medical malpractice reform." Beyond this, Forest has no recorded stance on this issue.
Forest opposes Cooper's policies on the opioid crisis.
Cooper issued Executive Order 80, which calls for the protection of North Carolina’s environment and growing clean energy technologies. He supports EPA oversight and believes "Every family in North Carolina deserves access to clean drinking water and air." He received an A rating from the NC League of Conservation Voters and is endorsed by the Sierra Club.
Cooper is committed to fighting climate change and transitioning to a clean energy economy.
Forest says he supports 'good stewardship of the environment,' including clean resources and conservation. He supports energy independence for the state of North Carolina and the development of alternative and renewable sources of energy. However, he has previously called climate change "the religion of the left" and denied its effects in the wake of Hurricane Florence. He has labeled environmental protection laws "environmental terrorism" against farmers.
Forest warns against 'apocalyptic alarmism.'
5. Equal Pay
Cooper took executive action for equal pay.
While in office, Cooper has annually proclaimed March as Women's History Month, affirming both women's incredible contributions in NC and the need for equal pay for equal work, workplace policies supporting pregnant women and families, and other critical measures impacting women. On Equal Pay Day in 2019, Cooper signed Executive Order 93 to bar employers from the use of salary history during the hiring process. He noted at the time that "If current trends continue, working women in North Carolina would not see equal pay until 2060, and women of color would wait even longer."
Forest says he will fight for "family values," although he has not clarified the woman's role in the family in relation to equal pay. He has stated that his support for the defunct HB2 "bathroom bill" was to prevent 'discrimination' against women and girls.
Forest says he will fight for 'family values.'
Cooper once received A ratings and financing from the NRA, but he has increasingly embraced more stringent gun control measures, which has effectively lost him the support of gun lobbying industries. Cooper’s preferred legislation would increase the scope of background checks and allow family and law enforcement to petition a court to restrict an individual’s access to firearms, also known as "red flag laws" or "extreme risk protection orders."
Cooper supports increased background checks and red flag laws.
Forest has referred to gun control - along with MeToo and climate change - as “the religion of the left.” He believes gun violence is an issue of mental health and personal responsibility. Forest supported a 2017 proposal by conservative NC lawmakers (dubbed the “Firearms = Freedom Initiative") that would 'totally and permanently' abolish all laws regulating guns in the state. It would also allocate $10M to his own office annually for the mission of "blessing each individual firearm in the state." He is skeptical of "red flag laws" as an infringement on the Second Amendment. He is endorsed by the National Rifle Association and by Grass Roots NC.
Forest received an A rating from the National Rifle Association.
7. Health Care
Cooper supports federal action to ensure health insurance coverage.
Cooper emphasizes "the importance of getting coverage to keep families healthy." He helped write and pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and put in place the state's first opioid action plan. He has called for the expansion of Medicaid to combat the opioid crisis in North Carolina and served on President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. In the COVID-19 crisis, Cooper used an executive order to require face coverings for anyone in public when physical distancing of 6 feet is not possible as part of an aggressive early action to slow the spread. Bars and restaurants were also closed. For schools, he directed $96.5M in new funding for emergency support to school districts.
Forest is strongly opposed to Medicaid expansion, although the majority of North Carolinians support it. He has instead looked to the private sector to provide insurance solutions for small businesses and others. When asked in an interview about his priorities as governor, Forest declined to name health care. In the COVID-19 crisis, Forest expressed extreme skepticism about the severity of the pandemic and deeply criticised Gov. Cooper's response to it, going so far as to sue the administration in July for closing businesses and requiring masks. A Wake County judge ruled against Forest in the lawsuit in August 2020.
Forest opposes the Affordable Care Act and any expansion of Medicaid.
Cooper taken executive action to oppose the weaponization of fear in immigration policy.
In 2017, Cooper joined 10 other Governors in urging Congress to take action to protect the 800,000 "hard working young people" who are DACA recipients. In 2019, Cooper vetoed a bill that would require state sheriffs to cooperate with federal immigration officers, calling it "unconstitutional" and an instrument of "fear to divide us." Cooper's policies have changed a lot since 2015, when he drew criticism from Democrats for supporting a "pause" on the immigration of Syrian refugees. Now, he draws criticism from immigration 'hardliners' like Forest and President Trump.
Forest believes that illegal immigration is a major problem and sees it as "unsustainable" in the United States. His campaign calls for the abolition of sanctuary cities, saying, "North Carolina’s sheriffs should only be interested in protecting our citizens, not illegal immigrants." His proposals to remove undocumented immigrants include implementing E-VERIFY programs for employers, deputizing local law enforcement to act as federal immigration agents, implementing strict photo voter ID laws, and "mandat[ing] English as the official language of North Carolina.” In 2018, Forest falsely claimed that immigrants wanted by ICE have hurt "tens of thousands of children," encouraging the media to use terms such as "illegal," "alien," "criminal," "rapist," "murderer," and "child sex offender." In 2019, he warned of the dangers of "diversity and multiculturalism."
Forest sees illegal immigration and 'diversity' as intrinsically linked with crime.