Jorge Valencia

Capitol Reporter

Jorge Valencia joined North Carolina Public Radio's reporting team in 2013. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station in 2012. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun. On Twitter: @jorgeavalencia.

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Politics & Government
8:25 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Ex-Idol Clay Aiken Officially Secures Democratic Nomination For Congress

Clay Aiken, the former American Idol singer, secured the Democratic nomination for North Carolina’s second congressional district Tuesday, officially receiving enough votes to avert a runoff in his party’s primary elections.

Aiken received 40.9% of the vote, over his closest opponent, former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco, who got 39.4% of the vote, according to the State Board of Election’s official results released today.

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Politics & Government
8:50 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Five Actions NC Lawmakers Want To Take On Fracking This Spring

A rig and gas well operation in the Marcellus Shale in Jackson Township, Pa.
Credit WCN 24-7 via flickr

North Carolina lawmakers approved on Thursday the draft of a bill that outlines how drilling companies may be able to conduct a controversial type of natural gas extraction in the state.

The bill, which the General Assembly will deliberate when it convenes for session this month, includes provisions on the chemicals used for gas extraction, the possibility of water contamination, and local government ordinances.

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Politics & Government
7:39 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Supreme Court Justice Survives Ad Blitz, More To Come

From left: Eric Levinson, Jeanette Doran and Robin Hudson
Credit Campaign photos

Two experienced judges won the right to run for North Carolina’s Supreme Court on Tuesday night.

Incumbent Justice Robin Hudson got 43 percent of the vote and Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson got 37 percent to Raleigh attorney Jeanette Doran's 21 percent, according to the State Board of Elections.

Judicial races are usually sedate, but this one is getting attention because out-of-state funders spent more than half a million dollars in negative advertising against Hudson.

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Politics & Government
7:38 am
Wed May 7, 2014

The Incumbent NC Lawmakers Who Lost Their Seats In The Primary Elections

At least four North Carolina lawmakers were unseated in Tuesday night’s primary elections.

Representative Robert Brawley, a Republican from Mooresville, was defeated by a business owner and political newcomer. Last year, Brawley publicly criticized state House Speaker Thom Tillis and his bid for the GOP nomination for senate.

Brawley was connected to the Tea Party while his opponent John Fraley describes himself as a business conservative.

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Politics & Government
7:32 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Too Close To Call: Ex-Idol Clay Aiken And Keith Crisco Go Home Without Knowing Winner

The contest for the Democratic nomination to North Carolina’s second congressional district was still too narrow today for either of the leading candidates, former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken and local businessman Keith Crisco, to declare victory.

The outcome of the race could be more than a week, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

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Politics & Government
8:47 am
Fri May 2, 2014

The TV Ad That’s Rattling The Campaign For NC Supreme Court

Eric Levinson, Jeanette Doran, Robin Hudson
Credit Campaign photos

North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race isn’t the only one attracting lots of campaign money ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

Incumbent Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson is facing two challengers. She also faces more than a half-million dollars in negative advertisements from out-of-state funders.

Some say money is changing the non-partisan tone of court races in North Carolina. In this race, people are talking about one particular television ad that concludes with:  

“Justice Robin Hudson. Not tough on child molesters. Not fair to victims.”

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Politics & Government
8:39 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Why No One Is Challenging A Third Of NC Lawmakers In This Year's General Elections

Cumberland County, NC
Credit Cumberland County Government

The May 6 primary election is a week from today, and television air waves are crowded with ads for North Carolina’s US Senate seat. But some campaigns for the state General Assembly aren’t being advertised at all.

That’s because there is no challenger in about a third of the districts represented in the assembly.

In Central North Carolina, Representative John Szoka likes visiting elementary schools in his district.

“Now,” Szoka says, “we have a lot of state symbols, right? What’s the state bird? What’s the state tree?”

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Environment
10:50 am
Wed April 23, 2014

This Is How Much Money It Would Cost To Relocate Duke Energy’s 33 Coal Ash Dumps

A map of Duke Energy's 33 coal ash ponds and their operational status in 14 energy plants across the state.
Credit Duke Energy

Duke Energy told North Carolina law makers Tuesday that it would cost up to $10 billion and could take 30 years to remove all the company’s coal ash from areas near rivers and lakes across the state.  

In a hearing called specifically to address the coal ash basins, Duke’s North Carolina President Paul Newton told law makers the company needed flexibility to find faster and less costlier alternatives to ensure its ash won’t contaminate bodies of water.

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Politics & Government
10:13 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Food Deserts: NC Lawmakers Want More People To Know About Healthful Eating, Take More Action

State lawmakers want to bring better access to fresh foods to areas known as food deserts
Credit Deep Roots Coop

A committee from the North Carolina House of Representatives spent four months looking into how to address food deserts across the state.  Monday afternoon they made their proposals: to expand education about healthy eating and exercising habits across the state and to start a joint committee with members of the senate to continue looking at how to address the problem.

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Environment
5:06 am
Thu April 17, 2014

NC’s Mining Commission Is On Track To Usher Fracking Wells By Spring 2015

A hydraulic fracturing site near Shreveport, La.
Credit Daniel Foster via Flickr

The commission that’s been writing North Carolina’s policies on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas rushed on Wednesday to complete a set of rules that are necessary for drilling to start in the state next year.

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