State Politics

Political news from around NC (and beyond).

New York Times reporter Adam Liptak discusses his career covering the Supreme Court of the United States.
Supermac1961 / Flickr Creative Commons

It takes a certain kind of reporter to cover the Supreme Court of the United States. Interpreting the Constitution is one thing, and interpreting complicated legal decisions is another. 

Adam Liptak of The New York Times has made a career out of dissecting SCOTUS, including the decades of legal battles over same-sex marriage and the court's place in the judicial systems of other developed countries. 

Asheville 'Bans The Box'

Feb 3, 2016
Asheville is removing questions from city job applications that ask about criminal convictions. The city hopes to remove this hindrance for job seekers who have a criminal history.
Kathryn Decker / Flickr Creative Commons

Asheville passed a policy last week that will remove any question about criminal convictions from city job applications.

Proponents want to “ban the box” that job seekers check for convictions because they claim it puts previous criminals at a disadvantage. Though this doesn’t preclude private companies from including questions about criminal histories, the city hopes to lead by example.

Ken Spaulding is a Democrat from Durham running for Governor. Political scientists, polls and campaign finance reports indicate he is a long-shot. Spaulding continues to campaign across the state, believing he can win a primary contest against Roy Cooper,
KenSpaulding.com

Nine months from now voters will cast ballots in what is expected to be one of the tightest gubernatorial races in the country.

Donald Trump made news by skipping the GOP Fox News debate, instead holding his own event in Des Moines.
Marc Nozell / Flickr Creative Commons

The Iowa caucuses are just a few days away, and presidential candidates are making their final pushes before the primary season begins.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump did not attend the Fox News debate last night and instead hosted his own event in Des Moines.

How did his absence affect the debate? And campaign finance data from 2015 has started rolling in. Who leads the money race?

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

Polls show Donald Trump continues to lead the Republican race ahead of the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1.
Ninian Reid / Flickr Creative Commons

The Iowa caucuses are less than a week away and early voting for North Carolina’s primary starts in just more than a month.

Campaigns are heating up, but how are voters responding? And are North Carolinians more or less politically engaged this cycle than in previous years?

First responders in Guilford County have administered hundreds of doses of Naloxone, or NARCAN, this year. Heroin overdoses and deaths are on the rise.
Jeff Tiberii

Members of a task force on mental illness are developing policy recommendations for state legislators.

The task force was called for by Gov. Pat McCrory, and is made up of about 30 people who are considering how to improve issues of mental illness, substance abuse, public housing, and support systems throughout the state.  State officials are optimistic a task force on mental health can have an impact.

Image of special agent Rosalynde Fenner
Rosalynde Fenner

Rosalynde Fenner has always been fearless. As a young kid growing up in Durham, she called cabs for herself and took them alone wherever she wanted to go. In high school, she spent a week doing ride-alongs with an officer in the Durham Police Department. And at the age of 22, she embarked on a 25 year career as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, including stints in Guatemala, Bolivia, New York City, and Puerto Rico. 

An image of a CSX train
Flickr upload bot / Wiki Creative Commons

Opposition to a proposed CSX transportation hub in Johnston County is growing. CSX announced plans for an intermodal cargo center last week.

Val Kerry / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama has repeatedly called for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, but this month marks 14 years since the first detainees landed on Cuban shores.

Several detainees have participated in hunger strikes in protest of their imprisonment. A federal judge has ordered the release of videos showing guards force-feeding detainees but the government has until Friday to appeal the ruling.

Host Frank Stasio talks with VICE News reporter Jason Leopold about the latest.

Ballot Box
Wikipedia

Whether it is the local elections or the race to the White House, each vote counts. But what is driving voters as they cast their ballots in 2016?

 The State of Things is taking a look at the political mood of the state and wants to hear from you. 
As a North Carolinian, are you more or less politically engaged this year than in the past? Why? Send your response to sot@wunc.org with “politics” in the subject line.

The North Carolina Association of Educators is endorsed Democratic candidate Roy Cooper for governor in early December.
Jess Clark

Attorney General Roy Cooper's bid to be Governor has significant labor support. The North Carolina chapter of the AFL-CIO is throwing its endorsement behind the current Attorney General.

Meet Robert Brown

Jan 18, 2016
Image of Robert Brown (second from right) meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his assistant Bernard Lee and Rev. L.V. Booth.
Robert Brown

Note: This is a rebroadcast from last year. To hear a follow up to this interview with Robert Brown, click here

Robert Brown is one of the most influential North Carolinians you’ve never heard of.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The North Carolina primary is just two months from today and the campaigns are in full swing.

Republican hopefuls met in another presidential debate last night in South Carolina and Democratic contenders face-off on Sunday.

The President's State of the Union address could affect the race for the White House. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the debates, the President’s address and the latest in political news. 

Retelling The Story Of The Wilmington Ten

Jan 15, 2016
The Wilmington Ten held a press conference at Central Prison in Raleigh to denounce Governor Jim Hunt’s decision not to pardon them.
Steve Murray / News and Observer

Despite court-mandated integration in 1968,the relationship between black and white students grew more hostile in New Hanover County, North Carolina. 

In early 1971, a group of black students boycotted and demanded changes in the school system. They faced harassment and eventually violence from white supremacist groups. Law enforcement intervened after the interactions escalated into a fire and a death.

Image of US Capitol
ttarasiuk / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama gave his final State of the Union address last night. He outlined his vision for the coming year and detailed what he sees as the biggest challenges for the nation moving forward.

Host Frank Stasio gets a recap and analysis from Geoff Bennett, Washington reporter for Time Warner Cable News, and Political Junkie Ken Rudin.

This food was on the back of the Grocers on Wheels truck one recent Saturday
Carol Jackson

Some North Carolina residents who receive food assistance must now prove that they're working, volunteering or taking classes. The change was implemented in urban counties with the New Year.

Election placards placed near a polling location in Apex, N.C.
Magnus manske / Wikipedia

A new study from High Point University questions the effectiveness of political lawn signs. 

Researchers say millions of dollars are spent on the signs across the country each election cycle.  Brandon Lenoir  is an assistant professor of Political Communication and Campaigns at the university.

"We actually found that unless the race is, is within only a percentage or two point spread between the two candidates, lawn signs have no effect on the outcome of the election."

Rubio addressed a crowd at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh on Saturday. He has received endorsements from about a dozen state lawmakers.
Jeff Tiberii

With just three weeks until the Iowa Caucuses, Presidential candidates are hop-scotching across the United States making their political pitch. Donald Trump is in Windham, New Hampshire Monday morning. Ted Cruz has a Monday afternoon event scheduled in Baton Rouge. And Republican hopeful Marco Rubio is in Sarasota, Florida to deliver an economic address on taxes and spending. This past weekend Rubio rallied in Raleigh.

The debate over gun control continues after President Obama's executive action this week designed to curb gun violence.
Peretz Partensky / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama issued an executive action this week designed to curb gun violence. The president said this country's routine mass shootings compelled him to act.

Republican members of Congress swiftly responded with promises to defend Americans' constitutional right to bear arms. But it's not yet clear whether the president's action will change the culture of gun ownership in the United States or where it fits into the national conversation about gun laws. 

(Left to right) Lyons Gray, Jeff Epstein, Governor Pat McCrory, Lee Roberts. Gray is the outgoing Secretary of Revenue; Epstein will take over in February; Roberts is returning to the private sector after 18 months in the McCrory administration.
Jeff Tiberii

Governor Pat McCory is welcoming a new secretary and budget director to his administration.

At the Executive Mansion on Thursday afternoon, McCrory appointed Secretary of Revenue Lyons Gray to serve on the North Carolina Utilities Commission.  Replacing Gray as Secretary of Revenue is Jeff Epstein, the current chief operating officer of that department.

Veteran journalist Chuck Lewis says investigative journalism has declined over the years as newsrooms shrink and costs of longer, in-depth reporting grow.
Roger H. Goun / Flickr Creative Commons

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

Chuck Lewis has had a long career as an investigative journalist. He has worked for national news shows, including CBS News' "60 Minutes," and he helped to create the Center for Public Integrity. 

But in the decades since he started digging for the truth, the reporting industry has suffered a serious decline in investigative reporting.

Photo: North Carolina Supreme Court
Giant Sloth / Flickr

The North Carolina Supreme Court has upheld the state’s congressional and legislative maps for a second time, ruling that Republican state lawmakers did not illegally consider race when they drew voting districts.

The high state court, divided along party lines in a 4-to-3 decision, found that Republican lawmakers used race as one of several factors in drawing the maps after they took control of the General Assembly in 2011.

Some polls show Ted Cruz leading in Iowa, but Donald Trump continues to do well nationally.
Marc Nozell / Flickr Creative Commons

The Republican presidential candidates met again this week in their fifth debate. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is leading the field of GOP contenders in Iowa but Donald Trump is still polling strong nationally. 

The democratic candidates will meet for another debate on Saturday.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the race for the White House and other recent political news. 

Four Men Who Shaped The CIA

Dec 18, 2015

There were many firsts for the United States during World War II, but the formation of the first international foreign intelligence collection service is one that still affects the country today.

The precursor to the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), ran covert operations in Europe and used espionage and saboteur tactics to advance the Allies’ mission.

Photo: A voting ballot
Flickr Creative Commons/ Ken Zirkel

A federal judge in Raleigh is hearing arguments this week on a case that challenges the legality of new electoral maps for the Wake County boards of commissioners and education. While several lawsuits have challenged the constitutionality of districts drawn by the Republican-majority General Assembly since 2011, this one focuses on the maps in only one county.

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