Roy Cooper should focus on his current job

Roy Cooper should focus on his current job

Erica Bandenchini

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper released a new video, which slams Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled General Assembly and promises to take action against the legislature.

While he has not announced that he will run for governor in 2016, the state GOP declared that the video amounts to a formal campaign kick-off, according to the News & Observer.

The election is still more than two years away. While Cooper certainly has the right to run for governor when the time comes, it is far more important that he focuses on his duties as attorney general for the time being.

Instead, he has decided to spend his time promoting his message to Democrats about how he plans to change the situation in North Carolina for the better. His video opens with mocking national news coverage of the GOP-run state legislature, then mourns the loss of progress in the state, which he seems to attribute to policy missteps by McCrory, according to WRAL.

“What has taken decades to build is now being torn down right before our eyes,” Cooper said in the video.

He talks about how he is building an organization in coming months, and promotes his recently-launched website

This absolutely seems like an early start to a 2016 campaign, but Morgan Jackson, campaign adviser to Cooper, told WRAL that the video had nothing to do with Cooper’s plan to run for governor. Instead, he says its purpose was to put public pressure on the General Assembly.

If Cooper and Jackson think that statement is fooling North Carolinians, they are wrong.

Cooper’s intentions are crystal clear. He undoubtedly plans to run for governor in 2016, and Jackson’s comment to WRAL is definitely not hiding that fact.

In September, the Cooper for North Carolina Committee filed a statement of organization listing the office sought as attorney general but also included in parentheses, “subject to amendment in 2015,” according to the News & Observer, further indicating his ambition.

Since Cooper seems to be taking steps in his campaign, he may as well publicly announce his decision to run for governor. All of the evidence certainly points in that direction.

But in the meantime, it is important for him to remember he has a job to do.

If he hopes to secure votes in 2016, the best way he can campaign is by proving to North Carolina that he is a good attorney general during the next two years. Promotional videos can come later when the election is in full swing.

Of course every action taken by the legislature is not perfect, and Cooper has every right to protest changes that have been made in favor of what he feels would be ideal for North Carolina. But until it comes time for him to focus on his campaign, he should do his best to serve the state and advocate new action in the position he holds.

“North Carolina deserves an attorney general who is fully committed to the job he has now, not the job he wants in three years,” North Carolina Republican Chairman Claude Pope said in a news release in October.

Perhaps Cooper should take Pope’s statement to heart and put the campaigning on the back burner for a little while. He has a job to do and it is vital that he remembers it.

Erica Badenchini, a freshman journalism major from Apex, is an opinion writer.