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Roy Cooper

Office District Status
Attorney General Statewide Incumbent
Party In Office Since Term Ends
Democrat 2000 2012
Level of Government  
Council of State  
Date of Birth Birthplace Now Lives In
June 13, 1957 Nashville, NC Raleigh, NC

Synopsis

Roy Cooper is North Carolina's top cop. The son of a country lawyer, he was elected to the N.C. House of Representatives in 1986 and named to the state Senate in 1991. He was elected Attorney General in 2000 and again in 2004 and 2008, when he was the top vote-getter. As the state's top law enforcement official, he's focused on fighting sexual predators, methamphatemine use and predatory lending. He was criticized for retrying former death row inmate Alan Gell and gained national media attention for dropping all charges in the Duke lacrosse case. Despite widespread expectations, he declined to run for U.S. Senate in 2009.

Trivia

Friends still call him by his childhood nickname, "Coop."

Endorsements

Biography

Marital Status
Married
Spouse
Kristin
Children
Daughters, Hilary, Natalie and Claire

Roy Cooper is the three-term state attorney general.

Early Life and Education

Roy Asberry Cooper III was born June 13, 1957, in Nashville, N.C., to Beverly and Roy Cooper Jr. His father was a farmer and a country lawyer; his mother, a school teacher.

As a teen-ager, Cooper worked in his father's tobacco fields.

In high school, he played basketball and football, where he was the quarterback. He graduated from Northern Nash High, just outside Rocky Mount, in 1975.

He then attended UNC-Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar, graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology and political science in 1979.

While a law student at UNC in 1980, he was appointed to the state Goals and Policy Board by Gov. Jim Hunt

He earned a law degree in 1982. 

Professional Career

Cooper worked in a family law firm, specializing in civil suits, personal injury cases and insurance defense. He was awarded an AV rating, the highest mark, by Martindale-Hubbell for his courtroom work.

Religious Affiliation

A Presbyterian, he has served as a Sunday school teacher, church deacon and elder.

Political Career 

Cooper ran for public office for the first time in 1986, beating a 12-term state House incumbent with 76 percent of the vote. 

He was named to the state Senate in 1991, serving as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee.

In 1997, his colleagues chose him as the Democratic Majority Leader.

As a legislator, he pushed for juvenile justice reform, crime victims' rights and predatory lending regulation, among other things. He wrote the state's first children's health insurance initiative.

In December of 1999, then-Gov Hunt inducted him into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Hunt had earlier inducted him in December of 1980.

Attorney General 

He was elected Attorney General in 2000 and re-elected in 2004 and 2008.

His first race was the most hard-fought. Cooper defeated Raleigh attorney Dan Boyce 51 to 46 percent by outspending him four-to-one and airing an attack ad that said Boyce had overbilled in a class-action lawsuit against the state.

Boyce sued for defamation, saying it was his father who worked on the case. After several years of delays, a trial has been set for 2009.

As the state's top law enforcement official, he's focused on fighting child predators, methamphatemine use and predatory lending.

He was criticized for retrying former death row inmate Alan Gell and gained national media attention for dropping all charges in the Duke lacrosse case.

He also won a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority for polluting Western North Carolina air. 

He reportedly considered running for governor in 2008, but instead chose to run for re-election.

That year, he won the most votes of any statewide candidate, defeating challenger Bob Crumley, 61 to 39 percent.

2010 Senate

Cooper was widely expected to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010 to face off against Republican Sen. Richard Burr

In April of 2009, he said he would decide "very soon." In mid May, he announced that he would not run for Senate, despite being personally lobbied by President Obama.

Research and reporting by Ryan Teague Beckwith. 

Occupation

Attorney







Community Involvement:
Not specified.

Contact Info

N.C. Department of Justice
9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-9001
919-716-6400
Roy Cooper Campaign
P.O. Box 10587, Raleigh, N.C. 27605
919-821-0404


Education

bachelor of arts
UNC-Chapel Hill
Graduated: 1979
juris doctorate
UNC-Chapel Hill
Graduated: 1982


Military

Not specified.
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