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. 

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Image of Theodore Roosevelt
Library of Congress

The 2016 race for the White House is full of expectations from both sides of the aisle about the role of the 45th president. How has that office evolved? And what does history tell us about how presidents are judged?

A picture of a gavel on a document.
Brian Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina legislature votes today on new congressional district maps. The move is required by a ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that declared the current districts unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering.

Lawmakers are expected to move the primary date for the congressional races from March 15 to June 7 and reopen the filing period for those races. The measure also calls for the elimination of runoff elections. 

The modern day race for political office includes a series of competitions for endorsements and money. And the race for chief executive of North Carolina is no exception.

Republican Governor Pat McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper have each raised millions of dollars in advance of a gubernatorial election that is expected to be among the closest in the country.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina voters will head to the polls to cast their primary ballots in about one month. As the election draws near, candidates are working hard to gain support, particularly financial backing.

The end of January marked the deadline for campaign committees to report their end-of-year financials, and WUNC examined contributions to the two frontrunners in the governor’s race: incumbent Pat McCrory and democratic challenger Roy Cooper.

Cooper received smaller donations than McCrory on average, but the attorney general raised more money overall. 

The Republican presidential field has thinned with Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina dropping out. Ohio Governor John Kasich remains and will try to keep up the momentum follwing his second-place finish in New Hampshire.
Alex Hanson / Flickr Creative Commons

The race for the White House heats up as voters in Iowa and New Hampshire made their choices. Several candidates, including Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina, dropped out after poor showings in the first two contests.

And in North Carolina, the March 15 primary is in flux because of a court ruling declaring two congressional districts unconstitutional.

What Is In A Kiss?

Feb 10, 2016
A new multimedia installation in Raleigh looks at the intimacy of the kiss on public display.
Prayitno / Flickr Creative Commons

When Thomas Edison put the first kiss on film at his Black Maria studio in 1896, it was nothing short of scandalous. The 23-second, silent, black and white footage put the intimate on public display.

A new interactive multimedia project in Raleigh explores the intimacy of the kiss by inviting members of the public to have their kisses filmed in the same style as that first infamous lip-locking.

Litigation, legal, gavel
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal appellate court declared North Carolina's 1st and 12th Congressional Districts unconstitutional because they were gerrymandered on race. The court ordered legislators to redraw the districts within two weeks.

The ruling puts many issues surrounding the March 15 primary, including early voting and absentee ballots, in question.

US Embassy Canada / Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina is one of the leading states in solar energy. 

But the recent elimination of some tax credits and the possibility of solar permitting may slow the growth of solar energy in the state. And the Department of Environmental Quality is considering a change to the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards that could affect renewable energy production in the state. 

North Carolina is considering changes to state health insurance plans that would eliminate the 80/20 plans.
TaxRebate.org.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

The Board of Trustees that manages the state health insurance plans for government employees is considering major changes to the state health plan.

The board is considering proposed elimination of the 80/20 plan. The measure is in response to a legislative order to reduce costs for the more than 690,000 employees and retirees who receive health benefits through the state. 

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.

Phil Roeder / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal trial over North Carolina’s new voting requirements began yesterday in Winston-Salem.

The key issue is the photo identification requirement passed by the North Carolina legislature that’s set to go into effect during the March primary. Republican leaders say the measure is designed to prevent voter fraud.

Opponents, including the state’s NAACP chapter, argue that the law effectively disenfranchises minority voters.

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?

Snow Scene
Billy Wilson (thebillywilson.com) via Flickr

Many regions of the Old North State are blanketed in snow today. As North Carolinians dig out from the storm, we dug back through the archives for these five snow day finds: 

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.

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. 

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