Governor

The Governor is the head of the North Carolina state government. They lead the state in areas like public safety, emergency management, and public health. The Governor also tries to turn their campaign promises into new laws and policies.

There are 4 candidates for the office of North Carolina Governor in 2020.

Dan Forest (R)
Roy Cooper (D)
Albert L . Pisano (C)
Steven J DiFiore (L)
 
One candidate, Al Pisano (C), did not respond to our survey, so you will not see their answers below. 

All answers are provided in text and audio files for each candidate. To navigate through the questions you may either scroll through this page to read or listen to their answers, or use the links below to jump directly to specific questions.

The primary candidates for the office of North Carolina Governor were each asked the following questions:

The complete audio of all responses for Lt. Governor’s race:

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Question 1: What are your top three priorities?

Dan Forest

Dan Forest (R)

1. Creating jobs. With more than 1 million North Carolinians out of a job, we need to quickly get our state back to work and repair the damage to our economy. So many of society’s ills can be cured by a good job.
2. Putting students first. For too long, our education system has prioritized the system over the student.
3. Protecting law and order. The government’s first priority should be the security of the people.

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Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper (D)

I want all North Carolinians to be healthier, better educated, and have more money in their pockets. Individuals with disabilities often face barriers to these goals. As we begin an unprecedented school year, we need to make sure we are supporting our students with unique learning needs. That’s why I directed $95.6 million in new funding to help support K-12 and postsecondary students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who can benefit from support.

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Steven J. DiFiore (L)

(1) Improve our state's K-12 public education system through reform that offers greater equality of opportunity for families of limited means.
(2) Bring the skyrocketing costs of healthcare under control by repealing Certificate of Need laws which are designed to protect Hospital Monopolies.
(3) Promote relief for small businesses and working people hurt by COVID-19 by reducing their property tax burden and privatizing the ABC, which has been weaponized against bars, clubs, and restaurants.

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Question 2: What should be required in SRO training to ensure that students with disabilities remain safe?

Dan Forest

Dan Forest (R)

We will make sure every school in North Carolina has a security officer, and it’s vital that they’re properly trained. SROs serve students and should be aware of their needs — especially those with disabilities. SROs should go through intervention and de- escalation training and be knowledgeable about state and federal rules regarding seclusion and restraint. SROs should also be prepared with the knowledge of how to assist students with disabilities during a crisis situation.

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Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper (D)

SROs should be trained on mental health first aid and crisis intervention and be knowledgeable about how to respond to students with a disability as well as those in crisis. To do their jobs effectively, SROs need an understanding of child development, trauma-informed practices, and implicit bias. Educators and administrators also need training on the proper use of SROs, so that SROs are not involved in classroom issues that don’t pose a safety risk.

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Steven J. DiFiore (L)

SROs need to be student focused, first and foremost, and their training needs to reflect that priority. More attention needs to be spent on harm reduction and deescalation, particularly with students who may have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. This is an absolutely vital component of any training regiment, which must be continual and reoccurring throughout the school year.

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Question 3: What will you do to promote more affordable and accessible housing?

Dan Forest

Dan Forest (R)

This is where we need to unleash charities and the private sector. Local communities know best how to meet the needs of the disabled, and we can reduce barriers currently blocking nonprofits and companies who want to serve their communities. Government rules, regulations, and zoning add costs and often prohibit local developers from providing affordable housing. In North Carolina’s existing housing programs, we will ensure that they are appropriately serving citizens with disabilities in accordance with state and federal law.

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Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper (D)

My current budget proposal recommends placing a $4.3 billion infrastructure bond on the ballot that would invest $500 million for affordable housing. I will work with local and federal housing entities to determine how to expand the state's currently limited role to ensure access to affordable housing with attention to those with disabilities. We also must strengthen programs including the NC Housing Finance Agency and community reinvestment and duty to serve programs.

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Steven J. DiFiore (L)

By promoting legislation that will make it easier for local governments to build, zone, and maintain missing middle housing the supply of needed housing will grow. Additionally, by providing reasonable tax forgiveness to developers who build and maintain a balance of fair and accessible housing we will add another tool to the toolkit of local governments in tackling this issue.

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Question 4: What would you do to promote employment of people with disabilities on your staff, throughout state government, and in state government contracting?

Dan Forest

Dan Forest (R)

I believe all people find dignity through meaningful work. North Carolinians with disabilities have unique skills and perspectives that make a real difference for their employers while helping workers lead more fulfilled lives. We can ensure that job-link centers and community colleges are prepared to help people with disabilities who are looking for work. But we also must continue to communicate with businesses with jobs that fit these communities to see what others can learn. This includes state government and my staff.

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Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper (D)

I signed the Employment First for North Carolinians with Disabilities Executive Order No. 92 to increase opportunities for fair wages, employments, and careers for individuals with disabilities. The order directs the Office of State Human Resources to enhance recruitment efforts of potential workers with disabilities and to identify and attract qualified individuals with disabilities for state employment.

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Steven J. DiFiore (L)

I will encourage the employment of all qualified persons for positions in my staff and throughout the state government, regardless of their status of being from a protected group, including those with disabilities. It is right and just that all reasonable accommodations be extended so everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute and serve their state in whichever capacity they feel appropriate.

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Question 5: What will you do to address school violence without placing students with disabilities unnecessarily at risk of criminal justice involvement?

Dan Forest

Dan Forest (R)

The best way to avoid school violence is to reach students before they get into trouble. Children must be actively engaged in an environment where they can thrive, and we’ll open up opportunities for parents to find the setting that works best for their family. This requires an adequate assessment of student needs to be effective. We will ensure students have basic access to mental healthcare in school and counseling within their schools.

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Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper (D)

In 2019, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and I released the School Justice Partnership Toolkit, which is focused on keeping students with a routine misconduct violation in school and out of court. This initiative brings together community stakeholders, including law enforcement officials, judges, district attorneys, juvenile court counselors, teachers, and school administrators and focuses on minimizing suspensions, expulsions, and school-based referrals to court for minor misconduct.

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Steven J. DiFiore (L)

The priority of law enforcement in our schools seems punitive first and supportive of students in difficult circumstances second, if at all. This is the inverse of how it should be. More resources in mental healthcare and social workers in schools will aid in addressing at risk youth before a situation gets out of control. A proactive approach will yield better results and halt the school to prison pipeline.

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Question 6: What would you do to address schools/school systems in North Carolina that repeatedly violate the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or other laws protecting the educational rights of students with disabilities?

Dan Forest

Dan Forest (R)

School districts must be held accountable if they are violating laws that protect students with disabilities. Too many parents are unaware of the rights their children have and the services available to them. We will ensure every parent has full access to the information they need and a straightforward way to challenge decisions and inaction harming their children.

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Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper (D)

My office has made major strides in the Leandro case, which addresses the disproportionate funding and underfunding of our schools. The state has agreed to lift the cap on funding for students with disabilities and increase funding by more than $460 million over the next eight years and we will work to get that done. As a downpayment on those investments, I included $6.2 million in state funding and $17 million in federal funding to provide more supports to students with disabilities.

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Steven J. DiFiore (L)

I would need to investigate the specifics of a violation or complaint before recommending solutions. However, I am familiar with violations in our court system. Technology has afforded greater autonomy to the visually impaired and we would consider it unreasonable to take away a notepad and pencil for the sighted, but that is exactly the effect of denying these tools to the blind. I will pressure the courts publicly to change these unfair practices.

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Question 7: Recently access to the Legislative Office Building and Legislative Building has been restricted resulting in enormous burdens for people with disabilities who visit the buildings for work or to engage with their elected officials. What will you do to ensure our state government is accessible to people with disabilities?

Dan Forest

Dan Forest (R)

State government buildings belong to the people of North Carolina and should be easily accessible to all. We will review accessibility features of all state government properties and ensure that they are in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper (D)

Our state has made progress but we have more to do to assure equal and full participation in community life for North Carolinians with disabilities. The Legislative Building is controlled by the legislature and new leadership is needed.
Participating in the lawmaking process by visiting the legislative buildings should be encouraged when pandemic restrictions are eased. Other restrictions should be eased and necessary modifications made.

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Steven J. DiFiore (L)

I would need to first investigate the barriers to access that have been imposed upon persons with disabilities and the justification for those barriers. A barrier that blocks all may not be justified, but a barrier that predominantly blocks the disabled is never justified. I would direct the appropriate agency and personnel to find alternatives that do not impede on every citizens right to have access to their government and representatives.

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