In a survey conducted by the DTH, UNC students said the issues they care about most are health care, student debt, civil rights, wages/labor, the environment and LGBTQ rights and policies.
Neither Cooper nor Forest responded to requests for comment on those issues; the following information comes from their campaign websites, government websites and press conferences:
If he is reelected, Cooper hopes to expand Medicaid and continue to fight the drug use crisis in North Carolina. According to Cooper’s website, Medicaid expansion will not cost taxpayers any additional money.
“Gov. Cooper is leading the charge to close the health care coverage gap by expanding access to Medicaid,” his website said. “This would cover over 500,000 North Carolinians, bring more than $4 billion into our economy, create 40,000 new jobs and help control private insurance premiums.”
Forest is strongly against Medicaid expansion, stating that expanding Medicaid would bankrupt North Carolina. Forest’s healthcare goals are to get more doctors to practice in rural communities in N.C., increase price transparency for prescription medications and healthcare services and help those not covered by the Affordable Care Act get private insurance.
Cooper said he hopes to continue to expand renewable energy as well as prohibit drilling off the N.C. coast. Cooper also said he hopes to increase spending on pollution prevention.
“Every family in North Carolina deserves access to clean drinking water and air,” his website said. “His budget invests in more resources to analyze pollutants, encourage clean energy and protect waterways and green space.”
Forest said renewable energy, such as wind and solar, will never be able to solely support the energy needs of North Carolina.
“Currently available energies like nuclear, coal, and natural gas will continue to predominate, because it is impossible to meet the base amount of energy needed by our population solely through the use of alternative and renewable sources of energy,” his website said.
Forest also plans to expand both on-shore and off-shore drilling in North Carolina.
There is no clearly stated response to COVID-19 on Cooper’s website; however throughout the course of the pandemic, he has formed a COVID-19 task force in preparation for the pandemic, issued stay-at-home orders, enforced multi-stage reopening plans for businesses and schools and passed a statewide mask mandate.
In September, Forest said if elected Governor, he planned on repealing the statewide mask mandate put in place by Cooper as well as opening schools immediately. Forest’s website also said he hopes to put more of a focus on protecting those in nursing homes from COVID-19.
According to Cooper’s website, other important issues to him are helping small businesses and rural communities, improving all levels of education, increasing training opportunities for the workforce, increasing natural disaster preparedness, improving veterans affairs, strengthening infrastructure and increasing prison safety.
According to Forest’s website, other issues important to him are defending the first and second amendments, decreasing illegal immigration, ending human trafficking, fighting for anti-abortion legislation, raising teacher pay and helping the coastal fishing industry.
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