Gov. Roy Cooper talks COVID-19 response, future of healthcare in State of the State address

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — On Monday, Governor Roy Cooper delivered his State of the State address, covering a number of topics.

This was the governor’s third State of the State address, and the first since his November reelection. He started off by emphasizing the resiliency of North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The decisive actions we have taken saved lives and prevented our hospitals from being overwhelmed,” Cooper said. “I would like to recognize and thank health care workers across our state, your commitment and courage have made all the difference.”

The governor says the past year highlighted inequities that already existed in our state. One of those is access to quality public education.

“If we want to recruit and keep the best educators, we need to pay them better,” he said.

He says another is access to health care, calling on lawmakers to expand Medicaid.

“One in five childcare workers don’t have health insurance,” Cooper said. “That’s not right. Expanding Medicaid does all the things we agreed on in our bipartisan council meeting.”

The governor also discussed infrastructure and the need for expanded high speed internet access.

“The future world where we work from home, see a doctor, and connect over screen is thrust on us right now,” he said. “If you don’t have access, the screen, or the money to subscribe, you’re left out.”

Following Cooper’s speech, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore delivered the GOP’s response.

“We all want North Carolina to be a place where people can have good jobs, safe homes, and provide their children with the very best educational opportunities,” Moore said. “We may have very different views on how to achieve those goals, but I and my fellow republicans intend to try and find as much common ground as possible.”

The governor also called attention to racial injustices in North Carolina, as well as vaccination efforts, job training and the future of clean energy.

You can watch the full speech here.