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View from the Hill

Cooper hosts youth at UNC, hints at run for governor

On Saturday, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper hosted at-risk youth at UNC through the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. The University Day event was created to introduce students to the possibility of attending college.

Cooper has been hinting at a possible run against Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016.

View from the Hill interviewed Cooper about the event and his political future.

View from the Hill: Why did you decide to take part?

Roy Cooper: We started Badges for Baseball in North Carolina over three years ago. We teamed up with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to help young people and to make sure they knew what was out there if they worked hard.

A lot of kids grow up in difficult situations and one of the best ways to fight crime is to prevent it from happening to start with. And that is encouraging kids to stay away from gangs, work in school, to do something positive, oftentimes using athletics and we’ve got officers out here.

This program’s called Badges for Baseball is great because the officers often become better at their jobs because they learn the kind of situations these kids face and the kids learn that the officers are really good people. So we want kids running to police cars instead of from them.

That’s one of the reasons we started. We have, I think, 17 sites across North Carolina. We use existing facilities, mostly Boys and Girls clubs. We have a character program — you guys are going to see quickball in a minute which is a lot of fun.

Everybody at every skill level can play quickball and move like that, and I’m gonna pitch it a little bit and I’m gonna get shelled, I’m sure, but it’s a fun game and a fun thing to do.

VFTH: Do you think coming to a university like UNC gives kids something to aspire to?

RC: Many kids have never even been on a university campus. This effort is to show them where they could be some day if they work hard and put time into it. Many of them have no idea about college life and what goes on here.

So today they’ll get to do some great things. They’ll get to tour the campus. They’ll eating at the Kenan field house. They’ll get to hear from some of the coaches and some of the professors here about life at Carolina. And the idea is they might go back home and say, “Hey this is something I can do.” It may be here. It may be at some other university throughout the state but to give them an aspirational goal of “hey I’d like to be a part of that.” So it’s an exciting time for me.

VFTH: Are you still considering possibly running for Governor?

RC: 2016 is a long way away, but I’m concerned about the direction of our state is headed and I want to play a large part in changing that direction. One thing’s important to note — I’m going to work very hard these three years as Attorney General and I’m going to continue to do my job. But I’m also going to be planning about how I can lead North Carolina in the future and that’s certainly something that I’ll consider.

Below are tweets from the event.

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