John Ager

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.  

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

A bill forcing districts on the city of Asheville needs several more votes before becoming law.  It's on the House schedule for Thursday, possibly the last day of session.  The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Chris Sgro, the leader of the state LGBT rights group Equality NC, has announced he's stepping down at the end of May after nearly four years with the group.  He's taking a job with the national gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.  He'll be their communications director.  Sgro spoke with BPR about his time with ENC and about the bill that partly repealed HB2.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

With lawmakers back in Raleigh, we’re speaking with some of those members from out here in the west.  Today, John Ager, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  Ager is a farmer out of Fairview serving his second term in the North Carolina House.


Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Early voting starts Thursday in North Carolina and all week we've been focusing on local and state politics.  Now we look at the hotly contested race for NC House District 115 in Buncombe County.  The race is likely to be close.  Incumbent Democrat John Ager, owner of Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Fairview, won the last election by fewer than 500 votes.  Now he faces Republican Frank Moretz, a retired anesthesiologist and co-owner of Highland Brewing Company.  Ager and Moretz both stopped by WCQS to talk about the issues.  Those full conversations are above.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

NC Gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper paid a visit to Fairview on Saturday.  The Democratic Attorney General addressed dozens of Democrats at the home of state Rep. John Ager in what was billed as a "candidates meet and greet."  He was scheduled to attend a fundraiser later in the day.  

Cooper started his remarks talking about public education.  "People are hungry for leaders who truly believe in public education and will do something about it instead of just talking about it."

Asheville Citizen-Times

Political observers and the public alike were scratching their heads after a bill that would impose districts on the city of Asheville for city council elections failed.  The bill was being pushed by a powerful state lawmaker and had sailed through two committees and the full Senate with little but Democratic resistance.  And then, on its last stop in the full House, all of that changed.  Debate seemed to persuade lawmakers at the last minute, and that is something rarely seen in politics today.  But in truth, there were probably multiple factors at play, and they had occurred not just over

In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council.  

Senate Bill 897 was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County over the strong objection of the entire city council and all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.   It would split Asheville into six districts drawn by the General Assembly for the purpose of electing council members.  But the bill failed by a vote of 48-58. 

SOGGY6 / FLICKR

In a stunning defeat, the North Carolina House voted down a bill that would have made changes to the Asheville city council.  Senate Bill 897 was introduced by Republican Senator Tom Apodaca of Henderson County, over the strong objection of the entire city council and all other state lawmakers representing Buncombe County.  Apodaca is considered one of the most powerful lawmakers in the General Assembly.  But this bill went down by a vote of 48-58. 

Legislative Wrap: Rep. John Ager

Nov 5, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

WCQS has been speaking with state lawmakers about the recently completed legislative session in Raleigh.  We continue our series with Rep. John Ager, Democrat of Buncombe County.  As a farmer, Ager was able to speak about a range of topics dealing with agriculture and the environment.  Highlights of the interview are below.  The full conversation is above.

In Their Words: WCQS Speaks With Lawmakers

Apr 17, 2015

As part of an ongoing series, WCQS is reaching out to lawmakers from western North Carolina and beyond for in-depth, wide-ranging discussions on the issues that matter to you.  The goal of the series we're calling "In Their Words" is for you to have a chance to hear from the people running our local, state, and federal government in an open, honest, unfiltered way.  We will update the series over time.

In Their Words: Rep. Joe Sam Queen

Apr 14, 2015
blueridgeheritage.com

We’ve been hearing from area lawmakers over the past week.  Many were home last week for their version of spring break and that gave us a chance to speak with many of them.  Today we hear from Joe Sam Queen.  He’s a Democrat representing Haywood, Jackson, and Swain counties in the state House. 

Area Democrats are not backing down on their call for the state to expand Medicaid, something the Republican-led General Assembly has refused to do.   Queen says North Carolinians are already footing the bill.

In Their Words: Rep. John Ager

Apr 12, 2015
Katie Bailey/Asheville Citizen-Times

We’ve been conducting interviews with area lawmakers over the past week, as many were home for their version of spring break.  Our conversations continue with Representative John Ager, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  In the segment below, we talked to Ager about recent changes the legislature made to the state gasoline tax, which was immediately cut by a cent and a half, but that initial cut actually prevented the tax from dropping much further -as was projected, because the gas tax is tied to the wholesale price of gasoline.