Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) talks with WUNC's Frank Stasio
Andrew Tie / WUNC

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) quickly ascended from a seat on the parks and recreation commission in Cornelius, N.C., to speaker of the North Carolina House in 2011, and finally U.S. Senator.

In his first five months, Tillis has taken a particular interest in the military with seats in the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Tillis about national security, deregulation, immigration and other issues in Washington.

National Security

In the wake of events in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) leads the Congressional Black Caucus at a tumultuous time for race relations in the country.

The congressman told Frank Stasio of WUNC’s The State of Things that he sees racial and socioeconomic tensions across the U.S. “There are Fergusons and Baltimores all across this country. It’s not unique to these communities. It could even be here in North Carolina,” Rep. Butterfield said.

a teacher in a classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

A Senate committee approved a plan on Wednesday that would keep school employees from taking part in political activity during work hours.

Senate Bill 480 would prohibit school employees from campaigning for office while they're on the job or using any work resources, like telephones or computers, for political reasons.

Bill sponsors say state employees already follow similar rules, and that the measure is intended to mirror them. Currently, North Carolina’s 115 school districts abide by different rules for its employees.

Image of actor Alphonse NIcholson playing the character Abel Green in Frieght.
Nick Graetz


A new one-man show by playwright Howard Craft tells the story of a man who exists in five incarnations at different points in American history. 

The shooting of Michael Brown set off a series of protest nationwide and had Americans questioning the role of police in their communities.

  From the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress, 2014 saw many pivotal moments in the country's narrative. 

Frank Stasio talked live with Congressman Howard Coble 12/16/2014.
Ivan Saul Cutler / Governor Morehead Forum for Economic Development

  At 83, Congressman Howard Coble is retiring and leaving Capitol Hill after 30 years. 

President Lyndon Johnson, President-elect Richard Nixon, Rev. Billy Graham and Vice President-elect Spiro Agnew during a prayer at swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol January 20, 1969.

Newly released excerpts from H.R. Haldeman’s diary provide new insights into the relationship between Billy Graham and Richard Nixon. 

Audio journals from Nixon’s chief of staff reveal Graham’s firm grasp of political craftsmanship, and Nixon’s reliance on the televangelist for more than spiritual advice.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Carolina Public Press reporter Jon Elliston about the audio journals and what they revealed. 

Beth Wood
NC Auditor's Office

The state auditor's office is preparing detailed audits of six state government agencies in order to comply with a request from state lawmakers. Earlier this week, lawmakers on the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee asked for the audits. The request will provide specific line item details on how state funds are actually spent, says State Auditor Beth Wood.

Photo from the Renee Ellmers and Clay Aiken debate.
Jessica Jones

As we inch closer toward election day, healthcare remains an important issue for the campaigns. 

The Supreme Court elections are coming and things are getting interesting (gavel on tabletop).


The North Carolina Supreme Court is supposed to be above hyper-partisan politics, but what happens when groups from outside the state become the biggest donors? 

Political Junkie Ken Rudin
Ken Rudin

  Governor Pat McCrory says there are big problems with legislature’s approach to Duke Energy’s coal ash cleanup.  He will not sign the measures they passed, but he will let them become law. He is expected to challenge them later. Plus democratic Senator Kay Hagan says she will not participate in the Time Warner Cable debate with her challenger, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. Organizers say the debate will proceed without her. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about coal ash, the debates and other political news around the state.

Image of Veteran AIDS Activist Sean Strub
Sean Strub


Sean Strub is best known as the founder of POZ magazine and the first openly HIV-positive person to run for Congress. 

Woodhouse Divided
Bryan Miller

 The nation’s gap between conservatives and liberals is ever widening and this division is personal for one set of North Carolina brothers. 

Brad Woodhouse led communications for the Democratic party. Dallas Woodhouse ran the state’s chapter of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.

The Politics Of Calling In Sick

Sep 2, 2014

Got the flu? Or a new baby? Perhaps a little one with chicken pox? In most countries, your employer must pay your wages if you stay home sick or to care for others. Not in America.

But a growing grass-roots movement aims to change that — starting with paid sick leave.

Already the movement has met some success. This past weekend, California became the second state in the country to mandate sick leave for employees.

Harold Brubaker

The most influential lobbyist in North Carolina is former state House speaker Harold Brubaker, according to a report from the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research.

Brubaker, a Republican who represented Randolph County for 18 terms, counts Alliance for Access to Dental Care, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and 21st Century Oncology among his current clients.

President Obama To Speak To Veterans In Charlotte Today

Aug 26, 2014
Obama speaking in Mooresville, NC.
The White House

President Barack Obama is coming to North Carolina to speak to the American Legion convention, where Sen. Kay Hagan says she will talk to him about Washington's commitment to the state's military veterans.

voting sign
Flickr creative commons

Appalachian State University will not have a early voting site on campus for this year's general election. 

The state Board of Elections denied a request from Watauga County Board of Elections member Kathleen Campbell, who submitted a separate early voting plan from the two other members. 


Gerry Cohen is probably the most important North Carolina politician you don't know.


Stories shape how we think about ourselves and the world around us, and insights from science, history, and biology confirm that humans are storytelling animals. 

Ken Bosma / Flickr/Creative Commons

Last week voters in North Carolina chose Baptist minister Mark Walker over Phil Berger Jr. in the 6th District Republican primary runoff.  Walker was arguably the more conservative of the two candidates.   A new study in the Journal of Politics finds that political moderates are less likely to run for Congress. The study looked at state legislatures around the country.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

House and Senate leaders are back in Raleigh today to try to resolve large differences in their spending plans for the year. 

They're now two weeks past their deadline, as they've been at odds over how much to pay teachers and at what cost. Senators want to give large raises of about 11 percent, but they would pay for them in part by cutting more than 6,000 teacher assistants. 

House leaders have been adamant about providing more modest raises without laying off any educators or impacting the state's Medicaid health insurance program.


Today is the first day of the new fiscal year, but there’s no state budget adjustment in sight. That’s because legislators can’t agree on two big issues: Medicaid funding and teacher raises. Last week, the House passed a partial spending plan that would’ve given teachers average raises of five percent despite the absence of a larger budget deal, but last night the Senate rejected the measure.

A woman is arrested at the state capitol as a part of a Moral Mondays protest.

The Moral Monday protests from Raleigh have garnered national attention over the past year. A key component of the protests has been media attention on arrests. Dozens were arrested this year for various non-violent offenses, a move some say is becoming an overt aim of many protestors.

Amy Laura Hall is a professor of ethics at the Duke Divinity School.  She has participated in the Moral Monday protests from the start, but she says the tactic of getting arrested -- or "orderly submission" as she calls it -- is flawed.   

photo of NC Legislature
creative commons

North Carolina counties are bracing themselves for statewide education cuts under consideration by the General Assembly. Guilford County schools stand to lose between $6 million and $21 million from the state. 

In an effort to mitigate the loss, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is considering a referendum on increasing the sales tax rate. Host Frank Stasio talks with News & Record reporter Kelly Poe.

A North Carolina Senate committee has recommended a conservative member for the state commission that hears worker’s compensation claims, a placement that critics say would make a majority of the board more likely to side with businesses.

In a 20-minute hearing Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Commerce Committee recommended Charlton Allen to the state Industrial Commission, a six-member board that is similar to a court and makes decisions when workers file compensation claims against their employers and on the state’s eugenics compensation fund.