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June 15, 2021

Roy Cooper: Road to a brighter future runs through North Carolina

By Roy Cooper

North Carolina is emerging from a worldwide pandemic strong and growing, with new jobs and new neighbors arriving daily. We welcome this growth, but in order for our communities to thrive, our infrastructure must catch up and keep up. In recent weeks, Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff visited North Carolina with a plan to help transform our state and nation’s infrastructure.

That means resilient roads and bridges. Rail and commuter transportation. Job training and trade skills through community colleges. Affordable housing opportunities, particularly in our historically underserved areas. Access to high-speed internet. These are all building blocks for strong communities where businesses can flourish and families can thrive.

I know North Carolina will come out on the other side of this pandemic stronger than ever. But it’s critical that everybody has the opportunity to share in our state’s successes — not just those at the top — and the American Jobs Plan will help us get that done.

This historic plan includes transformational investments for infrastructure in our communities that are right on time.

The American Jobs Plan will do exactly what it says — support good-paying jobs for people with all types of skill sets and education backgrounds. By employing their talent to strengthen our roads, rebuild our bridges and improve the structures that deliver drinking water, these investments will return dividends for decades to come.

This plan invests in North Carolina’s talented and growing workforce by investing in education from cradle to career. When I talk to CEOs, they tell me that education, including early childhood education and access to skills training for high-demand jobs, is key to creating a top-notch workforce. The American Jobs Plan will help us build the foundation for our next generation of leaders by funding hundreds of millions of dollars for our state’s community colleges, providing people the training and skills needed to be ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

If there’s one word to describe North Carolinians, it’s resilient. Our strength during this pandemic and past natural disasters like hurricanes shows that. But true resiliency doesn’t start and end when the rain and wind from big storms is over. The $50 billion resiliency funding included in President Biden’s infrastructure plan will support recovery efforts and help us rebuild houses and businesses so we are truly prepared for future natural disasters.

North Carolina is becoming a leader in the fight against climate change, and we are working to slow greenhouse gas emissions that have made storms more frequent and more intense. I recently joined Vice President Harris to tour Thomas Built Buses, an electric school bus manufacturer in High Point. Investing in more jobs to build things like electric vehicles has a double payoff by supporting workers here in our state while combatting climate change.

One of the many lessons of this pandemic is that access to high-speed internet is a necessity, not a luxury. In North Carolina, we already have a plan and funding from the American Jobs Plan will help us get fast internet service to every household in North Carolina, linking people to new skills, global markets, education and health care.

The path to rebuilding from this pandemic and getting our country on-track runs through North Carolina. And this jobs plan delivers.

The American Jobs Plan will keep us rolling and create opportunities for North Carolinians in all 100 counties. Let’s get it done.

Roy Cooper is governor of North Carolina.

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