GOP Council of State members want to meet with Gov. Cooper to discuss reopening the state

Republican Council of State members want to meet with Gov. Roy Cooper “as soon as possible” to discuss reopening the state’s economy.

“We all understand that the shelter-in-place cannot exist forever,” the GOP members said in an emailed message to Cooper. “With the rest of the Southeast, and the majority of our country already providing structure and clarity to struggling businesses and workers, North Carolina is lagging in communication.”

Cooper’s office was not immediately available for comment.

But he responded to questions about the letter during a press conference Tuesday.

“We’re going rely on the science and the facts tell us when to reopen,” Cooper said. “I know that people are hurting because of this virus and I know that our economy is hurting because of this virus. But the health of our people and the health of our economy go hand in hand.”

He said that his administration has offered to set up a meeting with Council of State about the COVID-19 crisis.

“We look forward to doing that,” Cooper said.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

The message from Republicans is signed by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is challenging Cooper for the governor’s seat in November. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Causey, Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry and Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson also signed the message.

It’s dated May 12, the same day Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, warned lawmakers in Washington that there could be a surge of COVID-19 cases if states, cities and regions reopen too soon.

Gov. Roy Cooper

The five GOP Council of State members here said businesses in North Carolina are ready to reopen. They said their offices are being “flooded with phone calls” from businesses owners who expected to open May 1.

“Now, you [Cooper] are telling them that they have to wait at least another two weeks, with minimal guidance from you,” they wrote.

The Republican Council of State members are the majority.

“We are asking that you convene the Council of State as soon as possible so that we understand your plan for North Carolina,” they said. “We also need the ability to provide clarity to businesses across our state that are dangerously close to permanently closing. And we need clarity as to why you aren’t allowing specific industries to open as our neighboring states have done.

The Republicans were critical of the Cooper administration’s handling of 1 million unemployment claims filed since March when nonessential businesses were ordered closed.

“It is heartbreaking to hear the unending high volume of phone calls many of us receive daily from hopeless citizens down to their last dollars,” they said. “There are numerous ways to protect lives and livelihoods while allowing healthy North Carolina citizens to return to work and giving them the ability to provide for themselves and their families.”

Cooper is following White House guidance for reopening states.

But the five Republican noted that the guidance coming from Washington is not law and that governors have flexibility in deciding when to reopen states.

“The fact that North Carolina is faring better in cases and deaths on a per capita level than the rest of the nation, and the majority of deaths are from government-regulated congregant living centers, proves that our citizens can properly social distance and abide by COVID-19 business regulations,” the letter said.

Nearly 600 people have died from the coronavirus in North Carolina and at least 15,591 have tested positive for the virus.


  1. Stewart

    May 13, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    What ridiculous political nonsense. The Governor’s plan for reopening is quite clear and has been laid out in accordance with the best scientific and medical advice. Any attempt to short-circuit that process will have us going the way of Georgia (to name one of the states in the “rest of the Southeast” they seem to want to emulate) and seeing a spike in cases and resultant deaths. Their concern is more like concern trolling.

    Then there’s the rank hypocrisy of them criticizing how unemployment claims are being handled. It was the Republicans themselves who used the Legislature to make our unemployment system as difficult and cheap as possible in order to prevent as many people as possible from successfully filing unemployment claims as a favor to their business friends. To now criticize the Governor for the built-in inadequacies of the system when they’re the ones who did the building-in is both disgusting and gaslighting of the highest order, pretending that they are not themselves to blame for the problem they created.

    I do hope Cooper calls them out on all this and more. Of course, if they think this is somehow going to get little Danny Forest elected over Cooper, their not just gaslighting the public, they’re deluding themselves.

  2. Benny

    May 13, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    I agree with Stewart above, Gov. Cooper has laid out a clear set of metrics to meet to reopen and keep the most people safe. Science and Medical experts, not politicians in this case make the best decisions for the right reasons. All the political propaganda and rhetoric is not appropriate in this type of situation.

  3. Rachel

    May 13, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    The federal guidance suggests many additional businesses open in Phase 1 that we did not include. He also continues to not give any clear answers as to who exactly will fall into Phase 2 and it’s about a week away (if things continue to go well). Also, the federal gating only suggests 14 days without spikes- not 4-6 weeks as he’s said for Phase 2. Why so long?

    I don’t like that Dr. Cohen stressed 4 key indicators and that they HAD to be met. When the federal guidance shows an OR for total cases trending down OR % positive to total trending down. It’s not an AND. She kept giving that big fat red X for it. So now everyone is panicking as the total cases rise and don’t understand the % total to positive. Now there is back pedaling. Trying to explain that “we have to look at them as a whole” after weeks of saying they are all important and must be met.

    Lastly- I’m tired of hearing how our schools will be SO different in the fall. And already preparing for additional distance learning and possible alternate days. When in Phase 1 we just heard about how it’s VERY important to reopen day camps and daycares to new children as parents return to work. Ummm…don’t those same parents need the same care come fall? We can’t work partial days as our children are working remotely some days and others not. That will fail miserably. Where do we send our kids on their “remote days”? An alternate childcare facility where we dish out money for kids to sit on iPads all day (after we’ve paid taxes for public school!)? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of we just shift kids around? What are the long term effects mentally and emotionally on our children? They don’t understand social distancing. They thrive off relationships – something we’ve said is highly important and now it’s suddenly the plague?
    Studies suggest too much electronic time is detrimental to our kids well being- and now it’s ok? To spend 4-8 hours per day on one at age 6-7?

    I’ve said before and I’ll say it again- the ripple effects of non-covid issues related to this virus will kill more people than anything.

  4. william mcabee

    May 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Gov Roy Cooper is obviously following the Democratic party line and certainly not the data with respect to opening NC businesses and services. He claims to be making his decisions with the health of his fellow citizens as his major concern. When in fact, by refusing to to restart our economy he is most certainly causing prolonged financial hardship, health affecting stress, and suffering to those very citizens he professes to be protecting. It is time for our Gov to stop playing partisan politics and to begin to show genuine care and concern for our state and it’s people. Reopen NC ASAP!!!!!!

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