Looking back on Cooper's first 100 days in office
Between controversial HB2 and budget negotiations, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper rounded out his first 100 days in office April 10.
Addressing HB2 just before a deadline set by the NCAA, the legislature and Cooper passed a partial repeal in House Bill 142. The law added a ban on local nondiscrimination ordinances until Dec. 1, 2020 — leaving some advocacy groups frustrated with the resolution.
Cooper released his recommended budget for 2017-2019 on March 1. The budget makes investments in education, health care, economic development and public safety without raising taxes, according to a statement made by the governor’s office.
Mitch Kokai, a senior political analyst with the John Locke Foundation, said repealing HB2 and releasing a budget are both major accomplishments for a governor’s first 100 days.
“He has worked on some other issues, but ask anyone what you expect are the top things Roy Cooper accomplished during his first few months in office, and those would be the ones,” he said.
But Kokai said Cooper will have a tough time getting things accomplished in the future if he doesn’t start working with the General Assembly, which has a Republican supermajority.
“Going out of his way to criticize the Republicans and the General Assembly, or to say that they’re doing a bad job, is in some respects shooting himself in the foot,” Kokai said.
Ferrel Guillory, a UNC journalism professor, said Cooper, as a Democrat, is facing a particularly challenging situation: It is the first time in modern North Carolina history where an incoming Democratic governor is confronted with an entrenched Republican legislature.
“I can't think of another Democrat who has faced such a politically difficult array of power in Raleigh,” he said.
Cooper’s success in the future will be largely determined by his ability to navigate these politically-challenging waters, Kokai said.
Moving forward, Cooper has a responsibility to assist Democrats in their effort to win more legislative seats and give his own agenda a better chance of being enacted, Guillory said. He also said Cooper should look to strengthen public education and tackle environmental and justice issues.
“There's a lot for him to do and he could do, but he can't be all things to all people,” Guillory said. “He's got to set a tight agenda.”
But Guillory and Kokai said 100 days is not enough time to adequately assess Cooper’s governorship.
“The dynamics of the North Carolina government make it hard to be definitive about a governor after 100 days,” Guillory said.
As it stands now, Cooper needs to look to the future.
“There's a lot of time to accomplish what he wants to accomplish," Kokai said. "And this is just sort of an interesting time to take a look at what has happened so far."