GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Governor Roy Cooper’s trip across eastern North Carolina included in New Bern where he discussed education and in Kinston where he met with local officials on Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts.
Cooper spoke at Partners In Education Spring Luncheon in New Bern, where he stressed how proud of the public school system he is and also addressed his understanding of teachers needing more funding in the classroom and in their own pockets.
The event was catered by the Chelsea Restaurant and will host more than 700 educators, business leaders, and elected officials across Craven County.
Educators say they’re hopeful North Carolina lawmakers will also hear their pleas, siding with the governor who ran on making education improvements.
Lori Worley, who works for the Weyerhaeuser Company said no matter who you are you should be concerned about the state of education in North Carolina.
“Get involved and listen to the message that he sends and how universal it is to all of us,” said Worley.
Educators say the focus is on funding.
“We would all like to have more money — teachers would like to have a raise — but I think one of the most important things is that we need to be sure that our art and music and sports programs are all funded,” said Darlene Brown with Craven County Partners in Education.
Cooper also stressed his personal connection to educators, mentioning his mother was a teacher in eastern North Carolina.
Cooper toured several areas in the city of Kinston affected by Hurricane Matthew.
The governor’s first stop was to meet with local leaders at the city and county level to get updates on the progress of Matthew relief.
He made his way through the city speaking with those affected by the storm, including Joseph Noble.
“It absolutely meant a lot to us, especially here in eastern North Carolina,” said Noble. “We’re still going through the recovery process and it means a lot that the Governor took time to be here to ask questions. He asked me personally what we’re experiencing, what were our struggles, what are our plans going forward. He began to share with us some of the things that they’re planning to do.”
Like so many in the area, Noble’s family was flooded out of their home. Today was their move in day.
Noble said, “On one side it’s been a nightmare, certainly you don’t want to leave your home. A disaster forces you to do that. We left our home and had to leave it quickly. You gather your belonging and then you go.”
Governor Cooper said, “For a victim of flooding help doesn’t come fast enough. So what we have to do is to continue to work with them to find affordable housing.”
Cooper said the federal government is on board but moving slower than expected.
“We need significantly more help from them as we for example, try to mitigate what’s happened,” said Cooper. “We don’t want to go right back into place we know will flood again. We want to be smart about this and we want to make sure we also work toward preventing future floods.”
As for Noble, he said his family’s focused on moving forward in their new life.
“We’re moving home, we’re still under repair and have more repairs to be made, but we are at least home,” Noble said. “We’re thankful for that.”
Cooper said a little more than $1 billion has been given in relief but that’s not nearly enough to cover the estimated $4.8 billion in damage it did to the area.