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“Power Breakfast” with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper – Part 1 of 2

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaking at the April 6th Triangle Business Journal “Power Breakfast.” (PHOTO: Triangle Business Journal)

The Triangle Business Journal, the very well-read and respected business weekly newspaper for the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, holds a quarterly “Power Breakfast” featuring an area senior leader with a few hundred local business leaders. The Spring 2017 breakfast held April 6, 2017 featured the newly elected NC Governor Roy Cooper. Governor Cooper is quite unique as he was the first challenger to defeat a sitting governor in our state since 1850!

One of the major issues in our state which helped lead to Governor Cooper’s election was the unpopular HB2 law passed last Spring (see my latest blog on HB2) which dictated the bathroom transgender people needed to use in public venues, curtailed the ability of cities and counties to pass their own non-discrimination ordinances, and more. Accordingly, this ongoing issue was a major part of the April 6th breakfast discussion.

Since I am a diversity and career development consultant with a deep expertise in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace, Part 1 will overview all of Governor Cooper’s remarks, and Part 2, coming next week, will be a much deeper dive into the overall diversity and LGBT components of the breakfast.

It is important to note that this meeting was not for the LGBT community, but for general business leaders. Therefore it was quite remarkable that within 30 seconds of taking the stage, Governor Cooper stated that he loves his state of North Carolina with its diverse mix of people of different genders, races and sexual orientations; that diversity is all over our state, and “that we need to encourage diversity at every step.” Look for an expansion of this theme in part 2.

Popular NC State Attorney General Roy Cooper was the first candidate to defeat a sitting Governor in NC since 1850! (PHOTO: Citizen Times)

Key points from our Governor:

• My goal is to see North Carolina better educated, healthier, with more money in people’s pockets with them living a more abundant and purposeful life.

• In terms of economic development, we need to attract better paying jobs to North Carolina, pay attention to the businesses that are already here, and remember that small businesses are a major economic engine.

• Education has to be a key initiative in North Carolina – my goal is for NC to be one of the “Top 10 best educated states.” Building our education system is certainly a common ground issue that all legislators can agree on. Education goals:
1. Participation in pre-kindergarten education increased from 22% to 55%
2. High school graduation rate increased from the low 80% to 90s
3. More people with advanced degrees from 38% to 55%

• We can make people healthier by taking advantage of the federal funding provided for health care.

• We have cut taxes enough; it is now time to invest in our state as well as run things more effectively and efficiently. (Side note from Stan – I am sure our new state Secretary of Administration Machelle Sanders (link) will see to that!)

• We have to keep in mind that we are competing in a global economy (not just with bordering South Carolina.)

• Art and music are important elements for the quality of life in North Carolina, including attracting leading businesses to our state.

This is certainly an enlightened agenda to positively impact the lives of all North Carolinians.

More next week on diversity, the LGBT community and HB2!

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