Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

This week began with President Trump trying to lure Gov. Roy Cooper into a tussle on Twitter.

It concluded with North Carolina's health secretary pressing for more details about how the organizers of the Republican National Convention plan to safely hold the event in Charlotte this August. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch ponder that, and also state lawmakers' bipartisan agreement on an elections bill and discord over letting bars reopen sooner rather than later while COVID-19 remains a threat.  
 


Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Perhaps you are grateful for the lack of election news. While coverage of presidential primary contenders started back in 2018, former Vice President Joe Biden has all but disappeared from the news. 

Deuel News Co./UNC Libraries Commons

Coming of age in a decaying milltown is a common American recipe for brain drain. While growing up in Canton, Zeb Smathers anxiously watched his community struggle with the fallout from globalization. 

Top GOP leaders said  Thursday their health protocols for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte will rely on pre-travel health surveys, daily health care questions that can be answered by an app and thermal scans of all attendees.

Vote Here sign
Erik Hersman / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/1ezRl1S

 

Temporary and permanent changes to mail-in absentee ballot rules in North Carolina and funds to improve safety at in-person voting sites this year during the COVID-19 pandemic received overwhelming approval Thursday by the state House.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina voters would have more options in requesting absentee ballots and officials would get funds to keep precincts cleaned and staffed, according to legislation advancing at the General Assembly to address COVID-19 challenges.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina legislators are starting to debate proposed election rule changes this fall so people have wider paths to cast ballots despite COVID-19  health risks.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/49567608077/

President Donald Trump’s demand for a full-capacity Republican convention in August is putting pressure on North Carolina health officials — and local Republicans — as coronavirus cases surge in the host county and statewide.

President Donald Trump, pictured here with his cabinet at a COVID-19 briefing.
White House / Twitter

President Donald Trump threatened Monday to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state's Democratic governor doesn't immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

As restaurants, salons and pools reopen (partially) in North Carolina over the Memorial Day weekend, there are varying levels of worry about the coronavirus. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation chat about the loosening of public health restrictions, more record-setting unemployment numbers, and the news that there will be no criminal charges against the chemical manufacturer Chemours for contamination in the Cape Fear River. 


Dan Meyer, left, of Raleigh, NC, waits one hour to pick up a Mother's Day brunch on Sunday at Flying Biscuit in Raleigh's Cameron Village.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

A Friday morning meeting of the state's popularly elected department heads had a partisan edge to it as members of the Council of State's GOP majority questioned Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen on their plan for easing coronavirus-related public health restrictions.

Pittman Drug Co. / UNC Libraries

Summers were spent at his father’s gas station. Charles Townsend met all sorts of folks while manning the ice house. In the muggy lowlands of Robeson County, ice was a sought after commodity — no matter if you were raising tobacco or bidding on it in the warehouses. But as the cash crop went into decline, and Townsend considered his career prospects, he chose to leave the town of 2,000 people to work in retail. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Among the political disputes playing out in North Carolina these days is how best to hold elections this November. 

There are safety concerns for casting ballots in person, and financial considerations for elections officials expecting a significantly larger contingent wanting to vote by mail because of the coronavirus. 

Author David Daley joins the WUNC Politics Podcast to talk about the perils for democracy during a pandemic. And he discusses his 2016 book about gerrymandering, "Ratf**ed". 
 


www.ncleg.net / NC General Assembly

The North Carolina legislature resumed its annual session on Monday after a two-week break prompted by COVID-19, with lawmakers returning in part to address a state economy and government revenue socked by the pandemic.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Several sheriffs across the state signaled this week they won't enforce North Carolina's ban on church services held indoors. 

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are getting ready to meet in Raleigh again next week for a session where the coronavirus pandemic will still be looming large. 

The John Locke Foundation's Becki Gray and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch consider those developments and whether it's a matter of if or now when U.S. Sen. Richard Burr steps aside as he's dogged by an insider trading investigation. 


Cooper sitting leaned over a table with reporters standing behind him.
NC Governor Roy Cooper

Hundreds of people protested Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home restrictions for churches in Raleigh Thursday morning.

Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr
Kara Lynne Wiley / WUNC

Updated at 4:50 p.m.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday after the FBI served a search warrant for his cellphone as part of an investigation into a well-timed sale of stocks tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jason deBruyn/WUNC

A small group, mostly armed, walked the streets of downtown Raleigh Saturday in support of their Second Amendment rights. 

Courtesy of UNC Libraries

Work-arounds are his specialty. In the Bull City, ID cards are available to undocumented residents, and a chunk of property tax revenues recycle back into affordable housing initiatives. But Steve Schewel’s use of establishment power to bend establishment norms took some practice. 

N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

Stating “pandemics cannot be partisan,” North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday defended his eased stay-at-home order as criticism mounted from elected Republican officials and demonstrators who gather weekly outside his home.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

North Carolina is entering the first phase of reopening after the coronavirus-related shutdowns. Outdoor church services are OK now, shoppers can return to malls, and the gates on state parks are coming up. 

As they review the week's political news, Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation say wheher they'll be venturing out. 

And they offer their reactions to more outbreaks of COVID-19 at meat processing plants, the governor signing a pair of coronavirus relief bills, and the state transportation agency getting a scathing audit report. 
 


N.C. Governor Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen.
N.C. Department of Public Safety

COVID-19  remains a "lethal threat" to North Carolina residents who don't take it seriously, Gov. Roy Cooper said on Friday as rules he issued so more businesses can open and the public enjoy more of the outdoors take effect.

A large-letter post card of Fayetteville
Steven R. Shook / Schiffer Publishing

He leads in ribbon-cuttings and celebrations of life. Mitch Colvin took over his family’s funeral home before running for office. His day-job provides insight into buileint community in difficult times. 

Illustration of a downtown street.
Courtesy of UNC Libraries

He personally put up the barricades to keep visitors out in order to protect his mountain hometown from the coronavirus. But James Reid remembers when the problem was folks no longer stopping through Andrews. 

https://twitter.com/ncgop

The North Carolina Republican Party has delayed its convention by two months because of the continuing COVID-19 outbreak.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Since the coronavirus pandemic swept into North Carolina a couple of months ago, Dr. Mandy Cohen has become a familiar figure.

The state health and human services secretary appears in near daily briefings with the governor and other officials leading the response. 

The decisions are hard, she says, especially when the science around COVID-19 is still evolving. 
 
On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, she talks about balancing public health protections with the consequences, how worried she is about reopening the economy, and how much sleep she's getting (hint: not much). 
 


Steven R Shook

She did not expect to be the only person of color in a classroom, and certainly not as the teacher.  Before she was elected mayor of Elizabeth City, Bettie J. Parker taught math for 33 years at the local high school.
 

 

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper hold a press conference on Monday, May 4, 2020.
Courtesy of NC Governor Roy Cooper via Twitter

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a pair of bills on Monday which will provide a $1.6 billion infusion for schools, hospitals, local governments and researchers battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Legislators look out the window to see packed protestors.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

The General Assembly on Saturday finalized a relief package to address the new coronavirus pandemic  in North Carolina, agreeing to send money to schools, hospitals, local governments and researchers.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

This week in state politics, lawmakers returned to the North Carolina General Assembly to deliberate how much of the available federal aid should be dolled out immediately.  

Meanwhile, another wave of unemployment claims rolled in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

And a giant of the state Legislature died. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss balancing economic health and public health, and the legacy of the dry-witted former Sen. Tony Rand. 


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