Rusty Jacobs

Political Reporter

Rusty Jacobs
Credit Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Rusty Jacobs is a politics reporter for WUNC. Rusty previously worked at WUNC as a reporter and substitute host from 2001 until 2007 and now returns after a nine-year absence during which he went to law school at Carolina and then worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Wake County.

As a reporter, he has covered a wide array of topics including military affairs, sports, government and damaging storms.

Ways to Connect

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

State regulators are testing fish from a privately-owned lake near the Chemours plant in Bladen County for the presence of GenX, the latest regulatory response to increasing questions about the risks posed by this emerging contaminant.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Wilmington city officials have had enough. The City Council unanimously passed a resolution this week asking the state Department of Environmental Quality to order Chemours to halt the production of GenX and other unregulated perfluorinated compounds.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

State representatives are clearly frustrated with senate colleagues for failing to support house legislation aimed at better regulating emerging chemicals like GenX. But lawmakers will have to wait until the short session in May to take a stab at bridging the gap between the two chambers.

Concerned residents gather during a public forum at the Bladen Community College to discuss GenX on February 1, 2018.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Bladen County residents like Kellie Hair were not happy when state officials said it would take more time to figure out the health and environmental impact of GenX and other fluorinated compounds released into the atmosphere by Chemours.

A sign at the entrance of the Fayetteville Works site on N.C. 87 in Bladen County, North Carolina.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

For many people in North Carolina, Chemours is synonymous with contamination of drinking water. News surfaced last year that the chemical manufacturer released GenX and other emerging contaminants into the Cape Fear River for years without knowing how they could affect humans. GenX has also ended up in residential wells near the company’s plant in Bladen County.

Brandon Lemasters, standing, helps a friend change a tire on his SUV on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, in Winston-Salem, after the vehicle slid through a curve on a ice-covered street the day before and hit a curb.
Skip Foreman / AP

Updated 5:45 p.m. | Jan. 18, 2018

Southerners shoveled, scraped and plowed their way Thursday out of a snowy deep freeze that caused a standstill across much of a region accustomed to mild winters.

Lanier Falls Cape Fear River, Raven Rock NC
bobistravelling / Flickr - Creative Commons

Ted Davis knows any legislation needs to get through a sharply divided General Assembly.

The Wilmington Republican who chairs the Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality has said more controversial issues like funding for the Department of Environmental Quality can come later.

Ducks sit together on a frozen pond in Concord, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Temperatures plummeted overnight.
Chuck Burton / AP

Governor Roy Cooper said he will declare a state of emergency for parts of North Carolina hit by the coming winter storm.

gavel at courtroom
William Johnson / US Airforce Photo

A senate committee looking at judicial redistricting and reform will meet Wednesday in Raleigh, a few weeks after Democrats walked out of a previous meeting.

The Republican chairs had refused to allow a retired superior court judge invited by Democrats to address the committee.

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, left, photographs training taking place at the N.C. Emergency Training Center on Dec. 7.
Courtesy of N.C. Department of Insurance

Stanly County Airport will be home to a major emergency training center, thanks to a partnership between the state insurance department and the North Carolina Air National Guard.

The TOWR Mobil Unit is currently used for testing and housed at RTI International’s facility in RTP.
Courtesy of RTI International

North Carolina-based RTI International is developing something that could reduce the number of troops injured while supporting forward operating bases: a new latrine system.

An aerial picture of the Port of Wilmington

Republicans and democrats in the sharply divided General Assembly might finally be able to find some common ground: Punishing Chemours, the DuPont-spinoff company that has contaminated drinking water in the Wilmington area and in residential wells in the vicinity of its Fayetteville plant.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

Tests have shown a total of 85 residential wells near the Chemours plant in Fayetteville with GenX levels above the state health advisory goal--and that number could very well go up as more results come in.

A picture of the NCNG logo.
North Carolina National Guard

Shifting populations and changing demographics. Those are the key drivers behind the initiative known as the Readiness Center Transformation Master Plan.

A picture of a sale sign in front of a home. / Flickr, Creative Commons

The North Carolina Rate Bureau, which represents homeowners insurance companies, has asked the state insurance department to approve an average 18.7 percent increase next year.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

The state Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday it is taking steps to revoke Chemours' wastewater permit for discharging certain fluorinated chemical compounds, including GenX. The Dupont-affiliated company manufactures GenX for use in non-stick surfaces like Teflon.

Toyota logo
Daniel / Flickr, Creative Commons,

The Triad's efforts to lure a major car manufacturer could pay off. The Randolph County's Planning Board this week quickly approved the rezoning of 370 acres that will expand the area's megasite.

First draft of the special master's legislative districts, submitted Nov. 12
Nathaniel Persily / Stanford

Friday is the deadline for submitting suggestions to the Stanford University law professor tasked with re-drafting North Carolina's legislative maps.

A federal judicial panel appointed the so-called special master to fix flaws in the maps submitted by Republican lawmakers.

Economic planners hope that expanding the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite will make the area even more attractive to a major manufacturer. The Randolph County Planning Board is meeting Tuesday night and is scheduled to take public comment on a proposal to re-zone an additional 370 acres that would be added to the 1,500 acres already zoned to accommodate a large industrial operation.

Durham County officials remove the Confederate statue that was pulled off its post by protestors.
Courtesy of Barry Yeoman

Durham prosecutors dropped all charges against three people accused of toppling a Confederate monument in Durham.

Charges against Alexander Caldwell, Taylor Cook, and Myles Spigner were dropped, according to their defense attorney Scott Holmes.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Updated 2:39 p.m. | Nov. 13, 2017

Mike Watters is angry. The military veteran lives in a subdivision about a mile from the center of Fayetteville Works, a plant owned by DuPont affiliate Chemours.

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated 3:16 p.m., October 20, 2017

Four North Carolina inmates are facing murder charges after the deadliest escape attempt in state prison history killed two prison workers, investigators said Friday.

Jim Flechtner, Executive Director of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

New Hanover County Commission Chairman Woody White found out about GenX the same way many others in and around Wilmington did. It was June 8th, and he slept in a little since he was on vacation.

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

Attorneys for the two sides in the battle over North Carolina's legislative voting maps each faced withering scrutiny from a federal judicial panel in Greensboro Thursday. And the judges issued an order late in the day indicating they may end up bringing in a neutral party to redraw the district plans.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Republican lawmakers used their super-majorities Wednesday to override another of Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes.

This time, the General Assembly vetoed an environmental bill that provides some money – but not enough, according to Cooper – to address a little-studied chemical discharged into a river.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

A special house committee met Thursday in Raleigh to discuss the discharge of unregulated chemicals into the Cape Fear River - but the committee heard more questions than answers about potential health effects.

Duke community members leave messages on a memorial wall in Duke Medicine Pavilion.
Jared Lazarus / Duke University

Mourners gathered at the chapel on Duke University's campus in Durham Wednesday to honor the four victims killed in the September 8 crash of a Duke Life Flight helicopter. Family, friends, and supporters filled the chapel's pews to capacity to hear about the lives of pilot Jeff Burke, nurses Kris Harrison and Crystal Sollinger, and the lone patient on board, Mary Bartlett, herself a retired nurse.

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Courtesy of Josh Stein

North Carolina's Attorney General says he is expanding an investigation into the role drug manufacturers may have played in the rising opioid crisis.


East Carolina University is starting a multi-disciplinary program to address social, health and economic disparities between rural and urban parts of the state.

construction continues on three large, glass-covered domes as part of an expansion of the campus in downtown Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / AP

North Carolina's economic development community is mounting efforts to lure Amazon's new HQ2 facility to the state. The project could provide 50,000 jobs over 15 years.