MONROE – North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper is well over 50 percent of the way to her goal of making meaningful visits to every county in North Carolina by 2020.
The First Lady set that goal after her husband, Gov. Roy Cooper, ascended to the state’s top spot after he defeated then-incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory in November 2016. So far, Cooper has visited 63 of the state’s 100 counties. Cooper was in Union County on Nov. 14 when she visited the Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle School.
Cooper visited 27 counties the first year her husband was in office in 2017. She said the visits are very beneficial.
While in Monroe, Cooper toured the academy and took part in a question-and-answer session with selected students and school personnel and Union County Public Schools representatives. Monroe Mayor Bobby Kilgore also attended the event.
“It’s been a great journey for us,” Cooper said. “We want to find out what is unique about each individual county. People are more alike than different but there are things that are unique. There are places that don’t have WiFi. There are places that can’t attract teachers. We learn a lot.”
As expected, the First Lady discusses her trips with the governor.
“For us, it is a learning thing,” Cooper said. “We want people to tell us what can we do to make their lives better. We represent all North Carolinians. The First Lady’s office puts an emphasis on schools because it all starts with the kids.”
The number of mouths the Coopers must feed in the Executive Mansion in Raleigh has increased by one recently as the couple adopted a kitten that wandered into the garage at the mansion. The Coopers, who already have several rescued pets, named the new addition Jenny.
“She is fine, and I think she may be the most popular member of our family right now,” Cooper said with a laugh. “The cat found us. I put out a notice asking if anybody had lost a kitten. Someone got back and said, ‘Obviously, you don’t know how things work. The kitten found you.’”