Governor Cooper Calls for Medicaid Expansion, School Construction Bond in State of the State Address
RALEIGH: Tonight, Governor Cooper gave his second State of the State address, which praised North Carolinians’ determination to strengthen their schools, communities, economy, and health—particularly following disasters like Hurricane Florence—and urged legislators to match that determination by expanding Medicaid and passing a robust school construction bond.
“Hurricane Florence showed us that we North Carolinians love our communities, that we help each other, that we’re resilient in tough times and that we’re determined to work together to rebuild even stronger and smarter. But the storm showed us it’s also time to come together to meet other challenges that people face every day across our state. And we have to bring that same determination to every challenge,” said Governor Cooper.
Medicaid Expansion would bring $4 billion into North Carolina’s economy, creating an estimated 40,000 jobs and providing more affordable health care for 500,000 people.
The governor also renewed his call to let North Carolinians vote on a school construction bond to invest in repairs and construction to aging schools across the state. K-12 schools need at least $8 billion in new construction and renovations and a bond would lock in financing, provide school districts with a stable plan for funding and taxpayers with fiscally responsible funding without cutting resources from other vital areas.
Gov. Cooper charged legislators with working together to invest in teacher pay and workforce training, protect natural resources vital to the economy and families’ health, and help communities and industries devastated by natural disasters to rebuild smarter and stronger than before.
“When I became your governor, I envisioned a North Carolina where people are healthier, better educated, with more money in their pockets, and where people have the opportunity to live lives of purpose and abundance.
“I envisioned a North Carolina where every child in every school would get an excellent education that allowed them to pursue their purpose. I envisioned a North Carolina where every family could live fulfilling lives without the cost of health care stealing their dreams. I envisioned a North Carolina where every worker had a big enough paycheck to provide for themselves and their families.
“Those of you sitting in this House chamber tonight know that what we’ve outlined is easier said than done. But it’s time to start doing,” Gov. Cooper said.
Throughout the speech, Governor Cooper recognized North Carolinians from around the state, including:
- Trooper Nicholas Stoneroad of Newport. Since joining the State Highway Patrol in 2014, Trooper Stoneroad has worked to keep people traveling in and through North Carolina safe. Despite losing nearly everything he owned in Hurricane Florence, he continued reporting for duty to help fellow storm survivors.
- NaShonda Cooke of Raleigh. Ms. Cooke has taught in North Carolina public schools for over 20 years and now teaches at Carroll Middle School in Raleigh. A mother of two, she has struggled to make ends meet on a teacher’s salary, but is devoted to her career as an educator. Ms. Cooke also serves on the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee.
- Tukeda Douglas of Gibsonville. Ms. Douglas, a mother of three, is training for a better-paying career at Alamance Community College. But when balancing the cost of childcare and tuition nearly forced her to drop out, she applied for a Finish Line Grant. Thanks to the grant, Ms. Douglas has remained enrolled and expects to graduate this summer.
- Lorenda and Harrell Overman of Goldsboro. Lorenda and Harrell Overman run Overman Farms, a row crop and hog farm that has been in their family for generations. While farms and other rural small businesses face challenges like lack of broadband internet access, trade tariffs and natural disasters, the Overmans are committed to keeping their family business thriving for years to come.
- Dr. Gregory Adams of Boone. Dr. Adams, a pediatrician practicing in Watauga County, has been in practice for more than 35 years. Dr. Adams is concerned about patients with chronic conditions being able to get the health care they need and believes our state should expand Medicaid.