Matt Bush

News Director

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016.  Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C.  For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor.  Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis.  Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.

Matt has a B.A. in broadcasting from Point Park College in Pittsburgh.  His M.A. is in media entrepreneurship from American University in D.C.  In May 2017, he will graduate from the 35th class of Leadership Asheville at UNC-Asheville.

Ways to Connect

This week the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Tribal Council voted to remove principal chief Patrick Lambert from office.  It’s only the second time in tribe history this has occurred.  Lambert was brought up on 12 impeachment charges, and has been a controversial figure since he was first elected principal chief in 2015.

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville’s ‘Americana Burlesque & Sideshow Festival’ takes place this weekend.  Its theme this year is empowerment, as organizers say dancing, juggling, and politics are all connected.

Wikicommons

Few would argue the polarization of politics isn’t causing some kind of problem.  One of the reasons for that polarization is redistricting – how individual Congressional districts are drawn.  Western North Carolina saw the immediate effect of partisan redistricting more than anywhere else in the state.  But reforms are unlikely to occur.

Senator Thom Tillis Twitter account

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina collapsed during a Washington, D.C., race Wednesday morning and has been taken away by ambulance.

Tillis, 57, was seen on the ground being administered CPR by bystanders at about the two-mile mark in the three-mile race in Anacostia Park in the southeast part of the city.

Tillis at first appeared unconscious but was revived and breathing when taken away by ambulance from the ACLI Capital Challenge 3 Mile Team Race.

APD

A recent report showed Asheville police were pulling over far more African-American drivers than their white counterparts – even though the white population in the city dwarfs that of the black population.  Asheville Citizen-Times reporter Joel Burgess spoke with BPR’s Matt Bush about the

Wikicommons

Western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows is criticizing National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster's comment at a White House press briefing regarding the Western Wall, which is located in the city of Jerusalem.  McMaster declined to tell reporters whether President Trump believes the wall is part of the state of Israel, calling it a "policy decision."  The Western Wall is one of the holiest sites in Judiasm, and is part of land Israel seized during the Six-Day War in 1967.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper is a frequent guest of Blue Ridge Public Radio.  In his most recent visit, Cooper spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Matt Bush about the latest in state politics.  The conversation touched on the recently-passed Senate budget, a big Supreme Court punt on voter ID, the brewing (pun intended) legal battle involving craft beer, possible campaign finance mischief, Senator Richard Burr's role in the national spotlight, and some high-profile resignations for the progressive left in North Carolina.  

Buncombe County's larger population gives it advantages in economic development its smaller neighbors in Western North Carolina don't have.  So what's there to do for those counties?  Smoky Mountain News reporter Corey Vaillancourt has been looking at what Haywood County has been doing.

Pexels

Homeowners in Buncombe County are receiving their property tax bills, which arrive with this paradox – tax rates are going down, but the amount each homeowner must pay is almost universally going up.  Asheville Citizen-Times reporter Emily Patrick joined BPR’s Matt Bush in studio to explain how that’s possible.  She also touched on how taxes may end up increasing because of the brewery that did not relocate to Asheville aka Beer City U.S.A - Deschutes Brewery, which decided to build it's East Coast location in Roanoke, Virginia.  It's scheduled to open in August of this year.

Matt Bush BPR

Asheville isn't alone when it comes to problems with providing enough affordable housing.  Citizen-Times reporter Emily Patrick found the struggle is often greater in areas well outside of the city in Western North Carolina.

Matt Bush BPR

Sometimes work doesn’t feel like work.  That was the case for an Asheville contractor and his employees last week as they rehabbed an historic cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Wicked Weed of Asheville announced this week it was being sold to brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns such brands as Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois.  The company has been purchasing small craft breweries in recent years, creating "The High End" business unit for such brands.  In a statement announcing the sale, Wicked Weed co-founder Walt Dickinson called it an "exciting time for the entire brewing team.

Warren Wilson College

Warren Wilson College has named its new president, and for the first time in the school's 123-year history, it will be lead by a woman.  Dr. Lynn Morton will take over as president on July 1st.  She comes from Queens University in Charlotte, where she has spent the last 26 years.  She's currently the school's provost and vice president for academic affairs.  She takes over at Warren Wilson from Steven Solnick, who is leaving Western North Carolina to become the head of the Calhoun School in New York City.  Dr.

Matt Bush BPR

Congressional mid-term elections are 18 months away, but one challenger is getting into the race for Western North Carolina’s seat in the House of Representatives very early.  Democrat Matt Coffay announced he will seek his party’s nomination for the 11th district seat at a rally in Waynesville last month.  Should Coffay win the nomination, he’d face three-term incumbent Republican Mark Meadows in the general election.  BPR’s Matt Bush spoke with Smoky Mountain News reporter Corey Vaillancourt about the Democratic challenger.

Matt Bush BPR

Mission Health says its decision to stop delivering babies at Angel Medical Center in Macon County was made to keep the hospital open.  Mission estimates around 400 children a year are currently born at the Franklin facility, roughly one per day.  CEO Dr. Ronald Paulus says labor and delivery care at Angel Medical loses the hospital between $1 and $2-million per year, which he says puts all the other healthcare done at the facility in jeopardy. “We can’t let one program, even important, put all of the care at risk for a rural community.  We just can’t do it.”

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