Jeremy Loeb

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Two Buncombe County Democrats took the lead in laying out the Democratic agenda in one of 6 news conferences held across the state.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb reports it primarily centered on expansion of Medicaid.

waynegoodwin.org

The North Carolina Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against Republican Senator Thom Tillis and the state Republican party over their involvement with data-collection company Cambridge Analytica.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin about it.

Mountain XPress

Buncombe County Democratic Senator Terry Van Duyn was sharply critical of a committee looking at changes to North Carolina's judiciary Friday.  The Joint Select Committee On Judicial Reform and Redistricting looked at proposals for new maps for judges.  They also discussed proposals to take the power of vacancy appointments away from Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and give it to the Republican-dominated General Assembly.  Towards the end of the t

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Asheville City Council member Vijay Kapoor was critical of the North Carolina legislature for moving towards forcing districts on the city of Asheville.  Speaking with BPR's Jeremy Loeb, the councilman of south Asheville said his election shows that voters from anywhere in the city are fully capable of being represented on council under the current system.  And he added that voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of districts in a voter referendum.

Matt Bush

Early voting begins Thursday for the May primaries.  Among the races on the ballot this year is Buncombe County district attorney.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb interviewed both candidates running for the office.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Recently released data from Duke Energy is raising new concerns about contaminated water at the Asheville coal plant and others around the state.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb reports groundwater at the Asheville plant had levels of radioactivity 38 times the federal safety standard.

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES/ASHEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Leaked video of an Asheville police officer beating an unarmed black man accused of jaywalking has brought renewed attention to the North Carolina law regarding the release of police body cam footage.  Lauren Horsch of NC Insider reports the Asheville incident is being cited by the law's critics as an example of its weaknesses.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen looking for information on election security in North Carolina.  This comes on the heels of last week's indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian businesses for interfering in the 2016 election.  Stein joined BPR's Jeremy Loeb to discuss that and other matters.

Public Schools First NC

The North Carolina legislature is adjourned until May.  Or are they?  BPR's Jeremy Loeb and Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper talk about the latest in North Carolina politics, from a loaded class-size bill critics call a "poison pill" to a stand-off over Gen-X, the latest in the neverending gerrymandering saga, and the 2018 midterms.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Buncombe County Democrats showed a united front as candidate filing began.  The four Asheville-area legislators, Democrats John Ager, Susan Fisher, Brian Turner and Terry Van Duyn filed for re-election together as filing got underway at noon Monday at the Buncombe County elections office.  Reps. Ager and Turner are likely to have competitive elections in 2018.  Rep. Fisher and Sen. Van Duyn are in districts more favorable to Democrats.  Fisher noted the strong presence of women candidates running in Buncombe County and statewide.  

BEN GRAUMANN, EQUALITY NC

A column last year in the News & Observer of Raleigh declared "North Carolina is no longer classified as a democracy."  The article went viral and prompted a range of heated reactions, even death threats.  The writer, Andrew Reynolds, a professor of political science at UNC Chapel Hill, recently updated us to say things had only gotten worse.  He joined BPR's Jeremy Loeb and WUNC's Jeff Tiberii to discuss.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

It’s a new year, and for many people, that means new fitness goals.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb checked in at the local YMCA to see how things were going.

Ben Graumann, Equality NC

Updated Thursday 4pm 

A highly anticipated judiciary committee meeting was held Thursday afternoon.  For nearly 3 hours, Senate and House lawmakers discussed various merit selection proposals as well as new district maps for judges.  Democrats were skeptical of the GOP plans, especially considering the number of maps drawn for legislative and Congressional members that heavily favored Republicans.

WRAL

Friday update:

(Associated Press) The North Carolina House leader predicts redrawn election districts for trial court judges can be finalized with Senate Republicans by the end of January. But he's unsure what his colleagues think about a Senate proposal eliminating head-to-head judicial elections.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger appointed Thursday members of a special bipartisan joint committee tasked with recommending judicial changes to the General Assembly.

plasticsoupfoundation.org

Updated 6:00am 12/21:  The Metropolitan Sewerage District has voted down a proposal to expand its board with 3 seats for Henderson County.  The 10-1 vote reflected the belief of board members that giving Henderson the same number of seats as Asheville would create an imbalance because Asheville customers make up a majority of those served.  There's also lingering mistrust after the state legislature tried to take over the Asheville water system and turn it over to MSD. 

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The Washington Post published an article this week looking at North Carolina's moves on taxes in recent years for clues to how the GOP tax plan making its way through Congress could impact the country.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was joined by WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii and Western Carolina Univeristy political scientist Chris Cooper for a discussion of North Carolina's example with regards to taxes.

YouTube

Senate Republicans in Congress could vote on their version of tax reform as soon as this week.  If the Senate bill passes, it would need to be reconciled with the House version and then voted on again.  There are still a number of Senate Republicans who have expressed reservations.  They can only lose two votes for the bill to still pass without any Democratic support.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb discusses its impact in Western North Carolina with NC State University economist Dr. Michael Walden.

WRAL

North Carolina’s Republican-dominated General Assembly has made a number of changes to the way judges are elected in the state, with many more proposals under current consideration.  They include making races partisan and changes to district lines and term lengths, even eliminating some vacancies and proposals to do away with elections for judges altogether.  Former state Supreme Court justice Robert Orr, a Republican, is no fan of the changes.  He spoke with BPR’s Jeremy Loeb about the proposals and about the state of the Republican party under President Donald Trump.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

A House GOP tax plan working its way through Congress would have a huge impact on Asheville with the elimination of the federal historic tax credit.  Of all North Carolina municipalities, only Durham had more projects benefit from the credit between 2002 and 2016, according to the D.C. based National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

ashvegas.com

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer got a resounding vote of confidence earlier this month, winning re-election with more than 80% of the vote.  She stopped by BPR to speak with Jeremy Loeb about the election results and to look forward to her second four-year term.  She also discussed possible actions the city might take in response to a legislative effort to force districts for council members, something Asheville voters overwhelmingly rejected.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Gerrymandering, where one party draws political maps that skew in their favor, is an issue that’s playing out in courts across the country.  Few regions have been impacted more heavily than Western North Carolina.  In Asheville, activists staged a creative event Saturday to draw attention to how our Congressional maps are drawn.  BPR's Jeremy Loeb was there.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Election Day is Tuesday for a number of municipalities across the state.  Polls will be open from 6:30am to 7:30pm.  Smaller races are often decided by much more local, personal issues than state and national races.  That could be true in Mills River, the small town 20 minutes south of Asheville in Henderson County.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb reports an industrial factory being built across from an elementary school has become an issue in a race there involving the town’s mayor.  

Facebook

There’s been a big change atop one of North Carolina’s most prominent civil rights organization.  The influential leader of the North Carolina NAACP is stepping down to lead a national effort focused on the rights of the poor.  BPR’s Jeremy Loeb reports on the man stepping up in his place.

BPR

New York Times political columnist and frequent commentator for NPR's All Things Considered David Brooks sat down with BPR's Jeremy Loeb for a discussion about the state of our country and media during the Trump presidency.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

The issue of how much partisan gerrymandering is too much is before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The court heard oral arguments Tuesday on a case out of Wisconsin challenging maps there for being too lopsided in favor of Republicans.  That case could have huge implications in North Carolina, which has a nearly identical political situation, and where a similar case is winding its way through the courts.  For the latest, BPR's Jeremy Loeb spoke with Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper. 

State lawmakers are heading back to Raleigh with major items up for consideration.  Republicans are pushing for a redrawing of judicial district lines that critics say would favor their party.  They also want to sweep away Democratic Governor Roy Cooper's vetoes.  Colin Campbell, editor of the Insider Government News Service, spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about session and about donations from the National Rifle Association to WNC Congressman Patrick McHenry.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Waynesville Democrat Joe Sam Queen lost the most closely-contested state legislative race in 2016.  Fewer than 300 votes separated him and Bryson City Republican Mike Clampitt.  Now Queen says he'll try to win back his seat from Clampitt in 2018.  It will be the fourth contest between the two in the 118th district, which includes Jackson, Swain, and Haywood Counties.  Queen won the first two before losing in 2018.  He spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb about why he's running again.

kff.org

Senate Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are once again floundering.  The bill currently lacks enough support.  But many times the effort has been called dead, only for it to reemerge.  The bill would need to pass by Friday.  Health groups are scrambling to find out the impact.  The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the original version of the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill would have cost North Carolina more than 8 billion dollars in federal funding.  Rachel Garfield is a senior researcher with Kaiser and one of the authors of the analysis.  She spoke with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.

NPR/AP/NOAA

Recent hurricanes Irma and Harvey were a stark reminder of the catastrophic impacts of climate change.   But the words “climate change” have become so politically polarizing that some even avoid saying them.  In Asheville, that’s not the case. 

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Democratic Representative Brian Turner of Buncombe County stopped by our studios in late July for a chat with BPR's Jeremy Loeb.  They covered his amendment to the Asheville districts bill, the overall redistricting process underway in the General Assembly now, a renewable energy bill signed by Governor Roy Cooper, and much more.  

Pages