Governor Cooper Office Of Public Engagement

Posted in: Madison Park

Dear Friends, 


I hope my message finds you and your family healthy and well.

With July 4th quickly approaching, I wish you and your family a Happy Independence Day!

Please share our newsletter so your friends and family can stay up to date with the latest news, information, and resources relevant to the Cooper Administration. 


Stephanie Pigues 


Office of the Governor 




From Murphy to Manteo, North Carolina is the place to be all summer long.



COVID-19 Fireside Chat & Tele-town Hall:

6 Months + Vaccines for Kids


Governor Cooper Visits North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher to Highlight State Budget Investments and Kick Off Summer Tourism Season

On June 15, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) Secretary Reid Wilson visited the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher to highlight investments in the aquarium from the 2021-22 state budget and kick off the summer tourism season in North Carolina.


“Our state is full of places that bring thousands of people to North Carolina every year, from our world-class hiking trails in the mountains to the beaches and aquariums here on the coast,” Governor Cooper said. “It’s critical that we invest in places like the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher that make our tourism industry strong and successful.”


“State-supported sites in southeastern North Carolina host more than 4 million visitors annually which benefits the local economy,” said Secretary Wilson. “The aquarium, state parks and recreational areas, historic sites, Battleship NC, and museums are drivers of tourism and require ongoing investments to continue offering excellent visitor experiences.”


“Governor Cooper’s visit energizes the team at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in our commitment to conservation both in our operation and in the immersive experiences that engage visitors to protect animals and habitats.” Hap Fatzinger, Director, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. “The Governor’s support of an additional $10 million toward our expansion, funds a new conservation wing while enhancing inclusion and access to magnificent animals in a natural setting –a stunning reminder to take action to preserve our natural treasures.”


In November 2021, Governor Cooper signed the state budget into law. In this budget, the Fort Fisher Aquarium received $10 million in the 2021-2022 Fiscal State Budget. The Governor’s recommended budget for FY 2022-2023 includes an additional $10 million for the aquarium. These funds will be used to help fund a proposed renovation to improve the accessibility and inclusion needs and highlight the conservation efforts of the aquarium, including a rooftop deck to overlook the marsh and beach, equipped with solar panels to highlight the aquarium’s clean energy goals.


In May, the North Carolina Department of Commerce announced that the North Carolina tourism industry saw a major recovery in 2021. North Carolina hosted nearly 45 million visitors last year, and they spent over $79 million per day. The hospitality industry in North Carolina employs over 400,000 people, and 200,000 people work in the tourism industry alone.


The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher hosts thousands of visitors every year. It is one of four Aquariums housed under NCDNCR that teaches visitors about North Carolina’s coasts and conservation efforts.


Rural Communities Awarded American Rescue Plan Transformation Grants to Boost Local Economies

Commerce Department fund provides resources for rural economic development

On June 16, Governor Roy Cooper announced that 30 local governments in rural areas across the state have been awarded grants from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, a new source of support for rural economic development projects in North Carolina funded by the federal American Rescue Plan. A total of $20.1 million will be issued in this first round of grantmaking from the Fund, which helps local governments overcome challenges that limit their economic competitiveness. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and its Rural Economic Development Division administers the $48 million grant fund.


“North Carolina’s rural communities are our heart and soul, and we are committed to helping them grow and become more competitive,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Today’s awards will provide both the funds and the expertise to help transform and expand North Carolina’s rural economies, create good jobs, and strong communities.”


The new grant fund, the centerpiece of a broader Rural Engagement and Investment Program from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, addresses a wide variety of needs, from revitalizing downtown districts, building the capacity of local government staffs, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering small business recovery, and generally supporting economic growth initiatives.


The Rural Transformation Grant Fund awarded grants in three categories today:


  • The Downtown Revitalization category supports downtown development initiatives that help grow and leverage a community’s commercial core into an asset for economic growth and prosperity.
  • The Resilient Neighborhoods category offers grants focused on community development and quality of life improvements, such as eliminating food deserts, creating healthy living initiatives, and increasing access to affordable housing options, among other initiatives.
  • The Community Enhancements for Economic Growth category provides grants to local governments to smooth the way for economic development opportunities, such as the acquisition of land and buildings, the preparation of business sites, and the removal of structural and physical barriers that may be limiting development.

Earlier, on May 24, a fourth category of the program known as Rural Community Capacity Building (RC2) announced an initial cohort of nineteen communities across the state that would participate in an educational initiative to bolster the professional development and planning capacity of local government staffs...READ MORE


Governor Cooper Proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth Day

Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth Day in North Carolina to honor the oldest known commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States.


“As we celebrate Black heritage, liberation, freedom and the great progress we have made, we must continue to be aware that systemic racism still persists,” Governor Cooper said. “Although we’ve come a long way since 1865, there’s more work to do.”


Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that the news of freedom reached some of the last enslaved men and women in the United States.


Despite over 150 years of progress since the abolition of slavery, Black communities still face economic, institutional and social barriers. To address the barriers that communities of color face, Governor Cooper established two task forces in June 2020. The Andrea Harris Task Force addresses the social, economic and health disparities in communities of color. The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice works on developing solutions to ensure racial equity in the state’s criminal justice system.


On June 1, the North Carolina Department of Administration’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) reopened applications for grant funds for certified HUBs and disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms impacted by COVID-19 through the RETOOLNC grant program. This program awards up to $25,000 to eligible certified small, underutilized businesses to help with pandemic recovery efforts. Since the RETOOLNC Program started in 2020, it has distributed over $21 million to HUBs and DBEs across the state.


Read the proclamation.


Learn more about the Andrea Harris Task Force.


Learn more about the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.


Governor Roy Cooper Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary of Clean Smokestacks Act

Milestone Air Quality Legislation Paved Way for Significant Environmental and Clean Energy Efforts

On June 20, Governor Roy Cooper celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Clean Smokestacks Act by acknowledging the impact of the landmark environmental legislation and reaffirming North Carolina’s commitment to protecting our resources and communities while transitioning to clean energy and growing the state’s economy.


“This legislation required our power plants to reduce pollution and when I was Attorney General, I was able to use it to reduce pollution coming into North Carolina from other states,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We are now at a critical point where a clean energy economy will not only fight climate change and improve people’s health, but lower energy costs and create high paying jobs as well.”


“North Carolinians continue to benefit from the dramatic emission reductions from the Clean Smokestacks Act both in improved health outcomes and in the economic impact of improved visibility at our state’s natural treasures,” said North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “That success shows what is possible when we work together to move toward a cleaner future.”


As a legislator and as Attorney General, Governor Cooper championed the Clean Smokestacks Act and used the legislation to limit the Tennessee Valley Authority’s pollution from impacting the health of our communities and the quality of our precious natural resources.


The Clean Smokestacks Act, officially titled the Air Quality/Electric Utilities Act (SB 1078), was enacted in July 2002 and requires significant actual emissions reductions from coal-fired power plants in North Carolina. The required emissions reductions represent about a one-third reduction of the total NOx emissions and a one-half reduction of the total SO2 emissions from all sources in the state.


The legislation provides meaningful health benefits for North Carolinians by significantly reducing pollution events that can trigger asthma and other respiratory problems. Air pollution has also greatly reduced visibility in the Smoky Mountains and this legislation helps North Carolina improve visibility by reducing pollution from in-state and out-of-state sources that contribute to the problem.


The Act also provided for the recovery of costs incurred by utilities to achieve the emissions limits, which applied to coal-fired electric generating units operated by Duke Energy. This provision differed from federal rules, which allowed utilities to buy pollution credits.


Governor Cooper has taken significant steps to advance clean energy and address climate change. In 2018, the Governor issued Executive Order 80 to transition North Carolina to clean energy and outline the state’s fight against climate change. The Order led to the development of the N.C. Clean Energy Plan and laid the foundation for the bipartisan landmark climate and clean energy legislation that overhauled North Carolina’s power sector known as House Bill 951.


In June 2021, the Governor issued Executive Order 218 to advance North Carolina’s offshore wind development, setting the state’s first offshore wind development goals of 2.8 gigawatts by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2050. In January 2022, the Governor issued Executive Order 246 to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the economy by setting new emissions reductions goals in the transportation sector and get more electric vehicles on the road in North Carolina.


Read more about the Clean Smokestacks Act here.


Governor Cooper Statement on Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade


DOA’s Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program Kicked Off

Program welcomes 13 North Carolina high school girls interested in exploring state government STEM careers

This year, 13 North Carolina high school girls will participate in the Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program, a summer enrichment opportunity nurturing student interest in state government science, technology, engineering and mathematic career fields. On June 27, students embarked on a 5-week hands-on educational experience at one of 10 participating state government agencies.


“This program is crucial as it extends classroom training to in-person experience for girls in career fields that are often dominated by men,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell. “As we seek to eliminate gender and occupational segregation across the state, mentorship programs like Lady Cardinal are essential to improving the outlook for not only women but families and our state as a whole.”


This summer marks the second year for the Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program, following a brief hiatus due to COVID-19.


Representing counties from as far west as Rowan to as far east as Johnston, each student will be assigned a special project and will work 40 hours per week. Mentees will dedicate 24-hours weekly working side-by-side with women leaders and 16 hours with other mentees on a group project. Additionally, students will engage in summer enrichment opportunities including lunch and learn sessions and site visits to various state government agencies. All mentees will earn a $2,100 stipend at the end of the program. 


Participating state agencies this year include the departments of Administration, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Information Technology, Natural and Cultural Resources, Public Safety, Revenue, Transportation, and the offices of the Governor and State Human Resources.


The Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program was created based on recommendations from the 2018 Status of Women in NC Employment and Earnings Report released by the Council for Women and Youth Involvement in collaboration with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. The report highlights the growing disparity in employment and earnings among women and men in North Carolina. If unchanged, the gender wage gap will not begin to close until year 2060. The report also underscores Governor Roy Cooper’s NC Job Ready Initiative, which advocates for more internships, training and apprenticeships to prepare North Carolinians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.


Visit the NCDOA website to learn more about the Lady Cardinal Mentorship Program




Celebrate the 4th with the NC State Capitol

This 4th of July, a Raleigh tradition continues! From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the State Capitol is hosting a free, fun-filled family event that offers musical performances and several hands-on activities for children to enjoy. Pie the redcoat or King George III or dress up like a Revolutionary era citizen! We will also have supplies available to write letters to support our troops courtesy of the organization A Million Thanks.


The day will host a ceremony that includes a reading from the Declaration of Independence and a wreath laying at the George Washington monument by the Sons of the American Revolution. Raleigh Concert Band will perform. Bring your chairs and a picnic lunch! The ceremony begins outdoors at noon. And to celebrate America’s independence, the Capitol will have birthday cupcakes for visitors at 1 p.m., for as long as supplies last. The Capitol will be open for self-guided tours from 11-3.


Please call (919) 733-4994 for more information.


The State Capitol’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history and function of the 1840 building and Union Square. It is within the Division of State Historic Sites within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and located at One Edenton Street, Raleigh. For additional information please call or visit


Crown Day Act Observance

Please email Windy Wills at to register.


North Carolina is Aging. Will We be Prepared?


Our population is aging. Approximately 1.7 million North Carolinians are age 65 or older and that number is growing. By 2030, fully one in five will be older than 65 and for the first time ever, North Carolina will be comprised more of older adults than children.


Our state’s aging population has become a cause for concern, as the nature of urban and rural development, daily living, work, leisure and retirement are expected to change in order to keep up.


In addition to our growing metro areas, North Carolina is a rural state, with 80 of our 100 counties being outside major metropolitan areas. Approximately 2.2 million people call rural North Carolina home.


What is Age My Way NC?


Age My Way NC is a collaborative effort between the State of North Carolina and AARP NC to help identify priorities for making our neighborhoods, towns, cities, and rural areas great places for people of all ages.


Age My Way NC is surveying people 45 plus all across the state to identify priorities such as safe and walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.











If you did not receive this email directly from us, sign up below for

Governor's Engagement Office programs and updates.

Advertise Here!

Promote Your Business or Product for $10/mo


For just $10/mo you can promote your business or product directly to nearby residents. Buy 12 months and save 50%!