Attorney General Roy Cooper finds himself in a unique position. He is the first Democratic Attorney General to serve in an all-GOP government since reconstruction.
The governor’s mansion and both chambers of the General Assembly are in Republican control. So he finds himself having to defend the legality of laws he disagrees with.
Cooper told host Frank Stasio on the State of Things that he is able to fulfill his responsibility, even when it comes to issues he strenuously opposes like opposition to gay marriage.
“I support Marriage Equality, I do,” he said. “It’s important for the state attorney general, regardless of the law that has been passed by the General Assembly, to do its duty to defend the state when it gets sued.”
North Carolina has been sued by residents who oppose the amendment passed in North Carolina, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Cooper said he is loyal to the law, but he reserves the right to state his political opinions.
“I think my ultimate duty is to the people of North Carolina, which means I’m going to speak out on policy that I think is bad for the people,” he said.
Cooper also discussed the possibility that he will run against Governor Pat McCrory in the 2016 election.
“It’s a little too early for a formal announcement, but I intend to be a big part in trying to change our state, change the direction, and make sure that we move forward with ideas based on public education, jobs and the economy,” he said.
He also answered charges that blame for the problems in the State Bureau of Investigation -- regarding their handling of many high-profile cases -- ultimately lays at his door. He said he does accept responsibility, but he’s made changes to address the problems.
“I feel very confident about where they are. We’ve taken a situation where there were problems, and we didn’t put a band-aid on it,” he said. He added later, “We went in and systematically changed the whole process of the way evidence was handled and how legal decisions were made, and it’s a very positive situation now.”