Gov. Cooper 'cares about the little towns'

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Governor Roy Cooper shook hands and talked with employees as he toured Regulator Marine on Friday.

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By Miles Layton

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Governor Roy Cooper toured Regulator Marine and had lunch at the Downtown Soda Shoppe during his visit to Edenton on Friday.

In contrast to many politicians, Cooper was punctual for the 12:30 p.m. visit to Regulator Marine, even a bit early when he arrived around 12:25ish at the plant that is growing by leaps and bounds in terms of sales and reputation. Earlier, Cooper had been touting the state’s new Finish Line grants during a visit to the College of the Albemarle campus in Elizabeth City. Following the Governor's stopover in Chowan County, he traveled to Windsor for meetings.

After tours of duty in the Legislature, Cooper served four terms as the state's Attorney General before moving to the Governor's Mansion.

No matter what your politics, no one could deny that Cooper was courteous and kind to folks as was befitting the longtime Democratic politico who grew up in rural Nash County where he worked in tobacco fields during the summer as a teenager.

Among the notables who joined Cooper during his visit to Edenton were Mayor Roland Vaughan; Jennifer Harriss, director of Destination Downtown Edenton; Ron Wesson, a Bertie County commissioner and candidate for the state House in District 1: Edenton Police Chief Henry King.

While at Regulator Marine, Cooper chatted with employees as he and Joan Maxwell toured the sports fishing boat manufacturing company she and her husband Owen started 30 years ago.

“We get customers all the time who want to walk through the plant and meet the people who build these boats,” Joan Maxwell said. “Governor Cooper, you're meeting the talent in this place. They build the boats and to have them tell a customer what they do is priceless.”

Cooper chimed it, “That's fantastic. That's teamwork.”

Regulator Marine has planned a 55,000-square foot factory expansion that will be completed in early 2019.

“They're doing great things at Regulator Marine — creating good jobs for people and helping contribute to our economy,” Cooper said. “This is particularly good for eastern North Carolina. We need the jobs and we want to encourage it.”

Edenton and Chowan County businesses like Regulator Marine, Jimbo's Jumbos and Colony Tire are growing, expanding.

“There is so much going on in Edenton right now,” said A.R. Chesson, owner of A.R. Chesson Construction of Williamston, who was along for the tour. Chesson’s company has been busy doing the construction work at Kellogg’s Supply Company — which opens in late summer/early Fall — as well as the renovation/repairs, which are ahead of schedule, for the Edenton-Chowan Schools’ administrative offices planned at the Edenton campus of College of the Albemarle.  

Toward the tail end of the tour, Mrs. Maxwell introduced Cooper to office workers like Angela Brothers, who worked at the company as she was earning her bachelors' degree NC Wesleyan – Class of 2017. As Cooper offered praise to Brothers for her work ethic, he met Buddy, the Maxwell's  top dog. Cooper said the lovable Retriever reminded him of his own dogs, cats and a Praying Mantis – dubbed the First Pets.

When the tour was completed, the Governor was whisked away to the Downtown Soda Shoppe that was crowded with lunchgoers.  

Cooper shook hands and spoke briefly with Edenton Police Chief King, formerly of the Rocky Mount Police Department – a city the Governor is very familiar not only by virtue of working with law enforcement during his tenure as Attorney General, but by representing “The Mount” in the Legislature.

Cooper warmly greeted Nancy Morgan of Hertford and Elizabeth Huff, a retired guidance counselor at John A. Holmes High School. News as to Huff – far too young to retire – she's working in the Bertie County School system. Also, Huff is still wearing her trademark circle glasses – glad to see some things haven't changed.

“Welcome to Edenton,” Mary Scott Haigler said to the Governor as he approached the family's table where she was having lunch with her family.

Haigler's three children Cecelia, Bear and Eloise, tried to convince Cooper to consider ordering a chicken salad sandwich. Cooper nodded his head and said, “I think I will try the chicken salad.”

After Cooper walked away, Mary Scott Haigler said, “It's always nice to see the governor in town. It's always nice to see people from Raleigh in Edenton.”

Mary Scott's mother-in-law Beth Haigler added, “He cares about the little towns in this state.”