Cooper's first State of the State address follows conflict with GOP


RALEIGH - Gov. Roy Cooper will give his first State of the State address Monday to a Republican-controlled General Assembly, where many GOP legislators remain suspicious of his agenda.

NewsChannel 12 will livestream the governor's State of the State here on our website at 7 p.m. EST.

But Cooper's speech marks a major opportunity for the Democratic governor to press areas that could find bipartisan support. A statewide television audience also allows him to speak to voters and urge them to tell Republicans to work with him on other ideas. They include getting rid of House Bill 2, the law limiting LGBT rights.

Revenue surpluses increase the possibility Cooper, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger can find common ground on issues such as raising teacher pay.

The speech comes as Cooper and legislative leaders are still fighting in court over recent laws that stripped Cooper of powers.

Cooper is following gubernatorial predecessors by filling the audience for his speech to the General Assembly with people whose work and other accomplishments will reinforce his agenda.

Cooper's office identified six people who will be in the House gallery for Monday night's State of the State address to a joint House-Senate session. They include public school teachers expected to exemplify the need for higher pay for veteran educators and a loan program for college students who go into teaching.

Also slated to attend are a 12-year-old Wayne County girl who created a food pantry to help Hurricane Matthew survivors and the Nashville police chief, who's been involved in an opioid abuse rehabilitation program. Cooper sees Matthew relief and opioid addiction treatment legislation among areas of agreement with Republicans.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.