McCrory, Cooper appear at forum in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In front of dozens of educators and community college leaders, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor took the stage, addressing ways to make community colleges in the state better.

“We have to come together to make people realize this is what where we need to invest,” said Attorney General Roy Cooper, Democratic gubernatorial candidate. “Public education is the key to opportunity.”

"The number one question we get from employers is, ‘Do you have the talent to fill the gap?’ and the first place we go to is the community colleges," said Gov. Pat McCrory, Republican gubernatorial incumbent.

The two spoke at a forum hosted by North Carolina’s Association of Community College Trustees.

Cooper discussed some of the challenges within the community college system like affordability and teacher pay.

"We've not seen enough of an effort paying our faculty at our community colleges," Cooper said.

He also took a jab at his opponent, citing how the economic fallout caused by House Bill 2 may affect job opportunities for students.

“We also need leaders who are going to put the best interest of jobs and schools and the best interest of our state ahead of partisan political ideology,” Cooper said. “We don't need things like House Bill 2 that create an unnecessary obstacle to economic development and recruitment."

McCrory pushed back on Cooper's HB2 remark while speaking with reporters.

"I'm a man of action and a leader of ideas,” McCrory said. “I don't just talk about them, we do them. Frankly, my opponent has no record of doing anything at all."

The area that the candidates did agree on was the need for community colleges to receive more funding.