Rusty Jacobs

Political Reporter

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

republican elephant, democratic donkey
DonkeyHotey / Flickr/Creative Commons

Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled General Assembly have extolled the streamlined budget process this session. Democrats say the public has been shut out of an important discussion.

The states in darker blue use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Department of Labor

Democrats in the state legislature joined labor leaders to launch an effort to raise North Carolina's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, drawing a clear battle line for the November mid-term elections.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this week's episode of the WUNCPolitics podcast, host Rusty Jacobs has an extended conversation about the aftermath of the Teacher Rally, possible incentives for Apple, and the coming budget discussions in the General Assembly.

Supporters of increased school funding gathered in front of the legislative building on Wednesday.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Top Republicans on the House Select Committee on School Safety say they are poised to introduce bills for more than $20 million in funding for new initiatives.

republican elephant, democratic donkey
DonkeyHotey / Flickr/Creative Commons

North Carolina democrats laid out their legislative priorities for the upcoming short session, and a plan they hope will win them votes in this year's mid-term elections to break the republican veto-proof majority in the General Assembly.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

This week’s WUNCPolitics podcast is an extended version of our regular Week In State Politics segment that airs every Friday with Rob Schofield, executive director of the progressive N.C. Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, senior vice president of the conservative John Locke Foundation.

Gov. Roy Cooper addresses reporters on Thursday, May 10, 2018 regarding his $24.5 billion spending proposal.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper and top legislative Republicans agree on one thing: North Carolina is enjoying a fourth consecutive revenue surplus this fiscal year. They just disagree on what to do with it.

File photo of Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC), right, smiling at Vice President Mike Pence, left, after a tax policy event in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 20, 2018. Pittenger lost a close primary race to Republican Mark Harris.
Chuck Burton / AP

There was at least one big upset in North Carolina congressional primaries Tuesday: incumbent Robert Pittenger lost a close race to Republican Mark Harris, a challenger he beat by only 134 votes two years ago.

Voting sign
Wikipedia Commons

Polls are open today as voters select party nominees for congressional, state legislative and local offices.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

This week in North Carolina politics, a conversation about the divide in North Carolina over confederate monuments and the upcoming primary.

WUNC’s reporter Rusty Jacobs discusses these topics with our regular guests: Becki Gray, senior vice president of the conservative John Locke Foundation; and Rob Schofield, executive director of the progressive N.C. Policy Watch.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Primaries are less than a week away and even though Democrats hope this year’s mid-term elections will be swept up in a blue wave, flipping GOP congressional districts in North Carolina will still be a tall order.

WUNC’s Data Reporter Jason DeBruyn joins us this week to talk about the latest campaign finance reports.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

With President Donald Trump’s approval rating low, Democrats nationwide are hoping midterm elections will trigger a blue wave this year that will change the balance of power in Congress. Some political observers believe that wave could wash over some North Carolina districts, including the 2nd, where three Democrats are battling for the chance to replace incumbent Republican George Holding.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Democrats suing Republican legislative leaders over a law canceling judicial primaries this year subpoenaed records from the North Carolina GOP, which, this week, turned up memos outlining the state Republican Party's strategy targeting political opponents.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

On this week’s review of the week in North Carolina politics: high school students and legislators are on different tracks when it comes to school safety; California billionaire Tom Steyer announces he’ll put $1 million into efforts to flip North Carolina’s 9th District; and Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest says conservatives have faith in God, while liberals answer to no higher power than politics.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss those topics and more with WUNC Political Reporter Rusty Jacobs.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this week's episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Politics Reporter Rusty Jacobs sits down with Meredith College Political Science Professor David McLennan, who also directs Meredith Poll.

The two talk about the races for U.S. Congress in North Carolina that are most likely to be competitive in next month’s primary, and this fall’s general election.

portrait of Fayetteville Councilman Tyrone Williams
Courtesy of City of Fayetteville

Fayetteville City Council members asked one of their own to resign last night. Nine members voted unanimously to approve a letter demanding that Councilman Tyrone Williams step down immediately in the wake of an audio recording in which Williams could be heard seemingly soliciting a bribe from a developer.

New UNC research ties pharmaceutical industry payments to higher prescription rates.
Flickr

A study from UNC-Chapel Hill shows cancer doctors who received money from pharmaceutical companies for meals and lodging were more likely to prescribe medicines from those drug makers.

A vote here sign in Chapel Hill
Amy Townsend / WUNC

The Green Party has become North Carolina's fourth official political party thanks to a new law offering more options to qualify, giving more candidate choices to some voters this fall.

A protest sign against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Francine Stephenson's property in Johnston County.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Crews are already cutting trees in Northampton and Robeson counties to make way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the 600-mile-long delivery system that will carry natural gas from West Virginia, across Virginia, and through North Carolina. The pipeline will cut an eight-county, 200-mile-long path across the Tar Heel State with supporters and opponents all along the route.

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.

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