Laura Lee

Managing Editor

Laura Lee is the managing editor of The State of Things. Born and raised in Monroe, North Carolina, Laura returned to the Old North state in 2013 after several years in Washington, DC. She received her B.A. in political science and international studies from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002 and her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 2007.

Laura briefly strayed from her Tarheel allegiance in 2011 to obtain a masters degree in journalism from the University of Maryland where she was an Eleanor Merrill Fellow.  Prior to WUNC, Laura worked for NPR on the Washington desk, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. She was previously WUNC's assistant news director for talk programming. 

Ways to Connect

smiling headshot of ken rudin
Credit kenrudinpolitics.com

President Donald Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but they two leaders offered little indication of policies for what Trump had described as a "great" peace deal. Meanwhile, new reports show Trump campaign officials repeatedly communicated with Russian officials.

A judge's gavel
Wikimedia

The battle between the executive and judicial branches continues, both at the state and national levels. A three-judge panel halted the state Senate review of Governor Cooper's cabinet appointees, and the country awaits a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on President Trump’s travel ban. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest.

Wikimedia

Composer Philip Glass is one of the most influential musicians in the world, but his work wasn’t always so well-received. His minimalist style was unconventional and disruptive in the 60’s and 70’s. But over time Glass became an icon and wrote award-winning film scores and operas.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The U.S. Senate convened early this morning to move forward on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. In a rare move,  Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled the vote to advance the decision for 6:30am. Critics say DeVos lacks any educational experience and is unqualified to serve. DeVos is one of several controversial nominations by President Trump. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the confirmation and the latest in political news.

President Trump giving victory speech
By Michael Vadon, via Wikimedia Commons

The first weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency have been marked by a slew of controversial executive orders prompting sweeping policy changes on immigration and healthcare. But what does a Trump presidency show Americans about their perspectives on government, society and their role in the world? 

a windfarm near Elizabeth City
Jay Price / WUNC

ELIZABETH CITY — In the next few days, the last of an array of 104 wind turbines is expected to be hooked into the electrical grid, and North Carolina's largest wind farm — one of the biggest in the nation — will be complete.

Sign at the U.S. Border
Makaristos via Creative Commons

President Donald Trump signed an executive order ordering a wall along the 2,000 mile Mexican border.

He claims Mexico will pay for it, but Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto says otherwise. He canceled his trip to the U.S. where he was scheduled to meet with President Trump.

Host Frank Stasio talks with KJZZ Mexico City senior field correspondent Jorge Valencia about the latest.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

In his first five days in office, President Donald Trump has signed several executive orders, including a directive to build a wall on the Mexican border and a measure designed to begin the repeal of Obamacare. In an interview with ABC News last night, President Trump reiterated his belief that there was significant voter fraud in the election, causing his loss of the popular vote, despite no evidence showing widespread election fraud. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in the Trump administration.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Legislators filed  dozens of bills on the first day back since session officially opened, including a proposal to develop a plan to change how the state funds public schools.

Image of Shaw University President Tashni Dubroy
Terrence Jones / Shaw University

As a teenager in Jamaica, Tashni Dubroy struggled to understand chemistry. But after a breakthrough moment in her high school chemistry class, she fell in love with the science.

She moved to the United States to attend community college, and then to Raleigh to attend Shaw University.

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from December 15, 2016.

President Obama signed legislation this week allocating $1 billion dollars to address the nation's worsening opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are on the rise, and current policies are inadequate in addressing the issues. 

Henry B. Moore, Library of Congress via Wikipedia

In the modern financial world, Wall Street is king, but that ascent did not happen without exploitation. In particular, African slaves provided capital for some of the nation's most powerful financial institutions.

An image of bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull
Gina Binkley

Bluegrass singer and songwriter Sierra Hull has been playing music professionally since she was just a kid.

Now, at 25, Sierra has released a new album that is a departure from her previous work. "Weighted Mind" features a more stripped down version of Sierra Hull's sound- a departure from her earlier works. “Weighted Mind” is nominated for a Grammy.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Hull about her life and career, and she performs songs from her new album.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Members of the Senate Armed Services committee met this morning to address cybersecurity and threats to the United States. President-elect Donald Trump denies any interference by Russians in his election. 

And new members of Congress took their oaths. What are the legislative goals for 2017?

Host Frank Stasio talks with Time Warner Cable News Washington Reporter Geoff Bennett talks about the inquiry and the latest political news from Capitol Hill.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

It has been a wild year in American politics. A crowded field of presidential hopefuls whittled to two candidates: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

After months on the campaign trail, Clinton won the popular vote by the largest margin in history but Trump received more Electoral College votes. Meanwhile, President Obama finishes his eight-year stint in the White House. What legacy will he leave? Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the year in politics.

The State of Things host Frank Stasio, NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea, and The State of Things managing editor Laura Lee
Anita Rao

As 2016 comes to a close, The State of Things staff go “behind the glass” and join host Frank Stasio to discuss their favorite shows of the year.

One of managing editor Laura Lee’s favorite segments was a conversation with Bill Leuchtenberg, professor emeritus at UNC-Chapel Hill, about his book on the U.S. presidency. She also highlights a conversation with UNC System President Margaret Spellings recorded on her first day in office.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

   Lawmakers are back in Raleigh for yet another special session​the fifth of the year.This time they reconvened to consider repeal of the controversial House Bill 2, commonly called “the bathroom bill.” The Charlotte City Council voted to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance on the condition that the legislature repeal HB2. Now it appears the House may not have the votes needed for a repeal. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.​ 

Democratic governor-elect Roy Cooper
Logan Ulrich / WUNC

Governor-elect Roy Cooper fired back at Republican lawmakers Thursday in response to their attempts to limit his powers before he even enters office.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly meets this week in a special short session. Lame duck Governor Pat McCrory called the session to address disaster relief funding for victims of both Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the western part of the state.  
 

Meet Nancy Petty

Dec 12, 2016
Reverend Nancy Petty
CREDIT PULLEN BAPTIST CHURCH

As an activist pastor at Raleigh’s progressive Pullen Baptist Church, Nancy Petty is often making news. She is openly gay and has championed marriage equality and LGBT rights. She has led Moral Monday protests and chairs the Reverend William Barber’s Repairers of the Breach board. Most recently her work has focused on facilitating interfaith dialogue with Raleigh’s Muslim community and fighting Islamaphobia and racism.  Her transformative journey from her small town upbringing in Shelby, North Carolina, paralleled major social shifts happening in the churches she has served.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory conceded his re-election bid this week and congratulated his successor, Roy Cooper. The incumbent then met with President-Elect Donald Trump about a possible Cabinet position. In the meantime, McCrory plans to calls the North Carolina legislature to a special session set to begin on Tuesday. The agenda for that session remains largely unknown. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

Injections for veterans may aid in addressing PTSD
Wikimedia

For many veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment options are limited to medication and therapy.

But head and neck injections, a new treatment option, is being hailed as a "miracle" method. A Triangle-based organization, RTI International, received a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense to operate trials of the technique at three Army hospitals. Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina is one of the facilities using the new treatment on servicemembers as part of the trial. 

The Monti
Jessie Gladdek

 In the eight years since founding The Monti, a North Carolina-based storytelling organization, Jeff Polish has chosen a variety of topics for storytellers. Participants on The Monti stage have talked about their experiences around themes like "Fear," "The End of the Road," and "Humility." 

But one topic stayed off the list: God. When Polish eventually decided to broach the difficult subject of a higher power, the response was off-the-charts.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory conceded in his reelection bid after several weeks of disputing the results. The governor congratulated Governor-Elect Roy Cooper in a video message. 

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