Governor Cooper’s Year in Photos: 2021

Governor Roy Cooper
8 min readDec 28, 2021

North Carolinians have continued to show grace, grit and resilience as we’ve battled this pandemic. We’ve worked together to address some of our biggest challenges and move our state forward. Here’s a look at some of the photos that best capture Governor Cooper’s year.

Photo: Kate Medley

January 9, 2021 — Gov. Cooper is sworn in for his second term as Governor of North Carolina. “I am humbled by the trust that you, the people of North Carolina have placed in me to serve again as your Governor… Together, may we continue to be strong, resilient and ready.”

February 17, 2021 — Following a tornado in Brunswick County, Gov. Cooper meets with local emergency management officials and residents who were impacted. The 22-mile-long tornado caused severe damage to homes in the Ocean Ridge Plantation neighborhood.

March 3, 2021 — Vaccines are safe, effective and free. Gov. Cooper receives his first COVID-19 shot.

March 10, 2021 — Students learn best in the classroom. Gov. Cooper announces an agreement with education, health and legislative leaders to safely return schools to in-person learning while retaining the ability to protect students and educators.

March 10, 2021 — Each COVID-19 vaccine makes the state a safer and healthier place for all. A collaboration among federal, state and local officials, the Federally-Supported Vaccination Center in Greensboro was open every day for eight weeks, with the capacity to provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day.

April 26, 2021 — Welcome to North Carolina, Apple. Innovation has long been North Carolina’s calling card, and that continues with Apple’s announcement of its new campus that will be built in the Research Triangle. Apple’s new campus will invest more than $1 billion in the state and create 3,000 jobs.

April 26, 2021 — Gov. Cooper highlights North Carolinians’ resilience throughout the pandemic and reinforces the need for legislators to work together to ensure a shared recovery in his third State of the State address.

Throughout the address, Gov. Cooper recognizes North Carolinians who have supported their communities during the pandemic, including a sixth grade math teacher at Knox Middle School, a provider at an independent family practice, the owner of The Bar-B-Q Center, the owner of The Little Believers Academy, a nurse at CarolinaEast Medical Center, the president of Custom Contract Furnishings, a critical care nurse and Finish Line Grant recipient, a Lieutenant Colonel in the North Carolina National Guard and the CEO of Parkdale Mills. While COVID-19 precautions didn’t allow for the Governor’s guests to be present for the address, Gov. Cooper spoke with them via Zoom.

April 30, 2021 — The First Family gets a little bigger. The Coopers welcome Violet, a special needs dog from the Wake County SPCA, to the family.

June 11, 2021 — Gov. Cooper makes his TikTok debut after meeting Felecia Young, a sixth-grade math teacher at Knox Middle School. Felecia was recognized in the Governor’s State of the State address for her innovative ways to keep students engaged during the pandemic.

July 22, 2021 — Sadie, a friend to the First Pets, takes a break from overseeing the landscaping work at the Executive Mansion.

August 19, 2021 — The film and TV industry is back in North Carolina! Gov. Cooper announces that the state’s film production reached a new investment high with a spending amount of $409 million. Combined, these productions will create more than 25,000 job opportunities in the state.

August 19, 2021 — The flood damage in Western North Carolina was devastating to families, businesses and public institutions. Gov. Cooper meets with residents, business owners and local officials to survey the damage from the floods after Tropical Storm Fred.

August 19, 2021 (continued) — Six deaths were attributed to the storm that caused record-setting floods along the Pigeon River, along with more than $18.7 million estimated in damages to public infrastructure, 56 homes destroyed and more than 200 homes that suffered major damage.

The Governor requested a federal major disaster declaration which was granted on September 8. The declaration provided assistance for Western North Carolina communities to rebuild stronger and smarter.

August 26, 2021 — When businesses require vaccines, they’re protecting their workers, customers and communities. Gov. Cooper visits Pizzeria Mercato owner Gabe Barker in Carrboro, who has implemented a vaccine verification policy for anyone who visits the restaurant.

September 10, 2021 — Governor Cooper signed legislation to make the state more equitable and just for all including House Bill 536: Law Enforcement Duty to Intervene, Senate Bill 300: Criminal Justice Reform, House Bill 608: Dignity for Women Who are Incarcerated and House Bill 769: Foster Parents’ Bill of Rights. Here he is after signing House Bill 608: Dignity for Women Who are Incarcerated.

September 28, 2021 — North Carolina’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes showed the world what the state is all about. Gov. Cooper welcomes them to the Executive Mansion and congratulates them on their outstanding achievements.

October 2, 2021 — Gov. Cooper introduces North Carolina’s own Steep Canyon Rangers before their headlining show at the International Bluegrass Festival. After taking a year off due to COVID, the world’s largest bluegrass festival was back in action in Raleigh this year.

October 7, 2021 — Early child care is critical for children’s development and parents who need to work. Gov. Cooper visits the Community School for People Under Six in Carrboro to highlight the historic, federal investment of $805 million in the state’s early care and learning child care programs.

The North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants, made possible by funding from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, will support working families with access to high-quality, affordable child care.

October 13, 2021 — North Carolina moves boldly into a reliable and affordable clean energy future. Gov. Cooper signs House Bill 951: Energy Solutions for North Carolina that requires North Carolina utilities to reduce power generation carbon emissions 70% by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

October 14, 2021 — Gov. Cooper’s State Fair food of choice? A caramel apple.

November 4, 2021 — Children ages 5–11 can get their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine so they can continue to go to school, spend time with their friends and play sports safely.

Photo: Billy Barrier

November 18, 2021 — Supply chain problems? Here comes the Carolina Connector! The CCX in Edgecombe County will spur economic development, help meet the region’s growing transportation needs and create good paying jobs to boot.

The 330-acre site allows trucks to bring cargo containers to a rail yard where they are transferred to trains for transport. The facility will provide regional industries with efficient access to rail, helping connect products to consumers nationwide.

November 18, 2021 — After months of negotiating with legislative leaders, Gov. Cooper signs the budget into law. This budget moves the state forward in important ways including funding for high speed internet, universities and community colleges, clean air and water and needed pay increases for teachers and state employees.

November 22, 2021 — Service members make tremendous sacrifices to protect the state and country. Gov. Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper join President Biden and First Lady Biden for a Thanksgiving dinner with service members and their families at Fort Bragg.

November 23, 2021 — Gov. Cooper helps pack boxes at the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

December 2, 2021 — Gov. Cooper joins Vice President Harris and Transportation Secretary Buttigeg in Charlotte to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The legislation will bring good-paying jobs and much-needed infrastructure modernization to North Carolina including improvements to roads, bridges, public transit systems and supply chains, high-speed internet networks, clean water and disaster preparedness.

December 2, 2021 — The Pilot Mountain community is resilient. Gov. Cooper surveys the damage and thanks firefighters and first responders who fought the wildfire that burned more than 1,000 acres of land.

Photo: Greensboro Chamber of Commerce

December 7, 2021 — Toyota will build its first North American battery manufacturing plant in North Carolina. The clean energy project will create 1,750 jobs and invest $1.29 billion at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, strengthening the state’s position as a leader in the nation’s clean energy economy.

December 9, 2021 — There is no doubt: North Carolina is home to the nation’s best Christmas trees. Gov. Cooper and the first family lead the festivities at the annual North Carolina Christmas Tree Lighting at the State Capitol in Raleigh.



Governor Roy Cooper

Roy Cooper understands the challenges facing our families and communities and wants to build a North Carolina that works for everyone.