WUNCPolitics

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The WUNCPolitics Podcast is a free-flowing discussion of what we're hearing in the back hallways of the General Assembly and on the campaign trail across North Carolina. 

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We knew Republican U.S. Senator Thom Tillis was running for re-election, but he made a bit of news about impeachment when he filed. And Tillis is not running unopposed.

News & Observer reporter Dawn Vaughan joins the WUNC Politics Podcast to talk about the races for senate, congress, and lieutenant governor in North Carolina, and why she thinks the potrayal of a female newspaper reporter in the new movie Richard Jewell is, "a bunch of crap!"


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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faced criticism this week for its decision to pay the Sons of Confederate Veterans $2.5 million, and hand over the Confederate monument Silent Sam which was erected during the Jim Crow era and loomed over the school’s campus until it was toppled in August, 2018.

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Darren Jackson wants to be the next Speaker of the North Carolina House.

Jackson (D-Wake) is currently the Democratic leader in House. He says if Democrats can take back the chamber he will insist on redistricting reform at the General Assembly.

In a wide ranging conversation, Jackson discusses candidate filing for the 2020 elections, which began Monday. And he addresses a friendship with David Lewis (R-Harnett) that soured after a controversial budget-override vote on September 11th.

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Plans to overhaul North Carolina's Medicaid program are on an indefinite hold — another casualty of the budget impasse. 

A Republican-led investigation concluded Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper improperly handled negotiations over a mitigation fund related to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

And, on the heels of legislative redistricting, a five-term state senator has announced his retirement. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation give their takes — from the left and the right — on what's behind the week's political news. 


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Rufus Edmisten knows something about impeachment hearings.

In the summer of 1973, while working as a staffer to U.S. Senator Sam Ervin, it was Edmisten who hand-delivered a subpoena to the White House. He called it a footnote in American history.

Following his role in the Watergate hearings, Edmisten served as North Carolina Attorney General, and later Secretary of State. Edmisten was also defeated during a bruising 1984 gubernatorial campaign. Edmisten discusses these topics, as well as his passion for gardening, on the latest episode of the WUNCPolitics Podcast.


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North Carolina's General Assembly approved a replacement congressional map. 

Newly elected Republican Congressman Dan Bishop tweeted out the name of the person he believes is the whistleblower at the center of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. 

And state lawmakers adjourned an extra-long legislative session without resolving a budget impasse.  

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch — on the left —and Mitch Kokai of the John Locke Foundation— on the right — weigh in on the week's political news. 


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Republican Dan Forest wants to be promoted to governor of North Carolina.  

Forest, in his second-term as lieutenant governor, says  Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper is too liberal.

On this edition of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Forest gives his take on Medicaid expansion, why he believes a significant expansion of charter schools would benefit public education, and why he's happy to have a primary opponent for 2020. 


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The most powerful politician in North Carolina was accused of misusing campaign funds this week.

But Phil Berger's staff says this is much ado about nothing, and that the Republican from Rockingham County has twice received approval.

Mitch Kokai, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, review whether or not what Berger did should be illegal. And they also provide thoughts on the latest layer of drama within the UNC System.


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Lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly have begun redrawing congressional districts again. 

Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Walker is in his third term representing what is currently known as the 6th District. The boundaries have already shifted several times since he first took office. 

Walker talks about the frustrations of constant redistricting, why he joined a protest against the impeachment inquiry process, and why he's pushing to let college athletes get paid. 


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The North Carolina General Assembly concluded this week with a decresendo. Legislators adjourned for a two-week recess without overriding a budget veto or finding much in the way of compromise. 

Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Mitch Kokai of the John Lock Foundation discuss the heightened acrimony, and the court ruling that all but guarantees lawmakers will be returning to another round of redistricting. 

And Mitch and Rob share their reflections on the career of former U.S. Senator Kay Hagan who died this week at age 66.
 


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Republican State Treasurer Dale Folwell went to battle with the General Assembly earlier this year over healthcare. He lost the battle, but the war over pricing, transparency, and reforming a system in North Carolina may not be over. 

On this episode of the podcast, a conversation with Folwell about that dispute, as well as the State Health Plan open enrollment, and a recent hobby which left him injured.


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More "mini budgets" advanced in the North Carolina General Assembly this week. 

Lawmakers recieved warning that the planned transformation of the Medicaid program could be disrupted by the absense of a complete state budget.

And, for the first time in years, a legislative committee discussed proposals for reforming the redistricting process.

Billy Ball of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation review some of the happenings in North Carolina politics this week. 
 


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Rep. John Szoka identifies himself as an "oddball" Republican.

A fourth term member of the North Carolina House from Cumberland County, Szoka is an ally of renewables and solar and has, on occasion, stepped out against powerful Duke Energy.

He talks about that on this edition of the WUNC Politics Podcast, his career in the military, and having his district redrawn for 2020. 
 


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Republicans in North Carolina's congressional delegation are split on President Donald Trump's withdrawal of troops from northern Syria. 

A class action lawsuit challenged the use of solitary confinement in state prisons. 

In our weekly look back at North Carolina politics, Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss those developments and why the state has been slow to reveal details of drinking water contamination in Pittsboro.
 


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State Rep. Graig Meyer thinks the money it takes to campaign for seats in the North Carolina General Assembly is really a lot. The Democrat also happens to be a key player in bringing in what his party needs to have a chance at reclaiming power.

On this edition of the podcast, Meyer details fundraising and recruitment efforts, what the policy priorities would be for a Democratic majority, and why his name (pronounced "Greg") is spelled that way.  
 


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A powerful state lawmaker borrowed $500,000 from a friend and political donor for a personal loan. Months later, that lender was indicted on federal bribery charges.

However, the lawmaker - David Lewis (R-Harnett) - said he knew nothing of the investigation into his friend. And there is no evidence to suggest this loan was part of the federal investigation.

That story is among the topics Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss in the latest review of the week in North Carolina politics.

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More trouble in the UNC System this week with a chancellor suspended after being caught on film at a bar with co-eds. 

A former congressman and North Carolina GOP chairman pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during an investigation of a bribery scheme.

And state lawmakers ressurected a controversial bill, backed by Duke Energy, that would, among other things, give the energy company more autonomy to set rates. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss all that and whether the General Assembly will adjourn before Halloween. 


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Expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover more low income North Carolinians could lead to 37,000 new jobs in the state. That's the projection from a George Washington University professor who produced a report earlier this year on the potential economic benefits of Gov. Roy Cooper's proposal. Dr. Leighton Ku shares his message for lawmakers on this edition of the politics podcast. 


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Democrats have filed another lawsuit challenging North Carolina's political boundaries, this time charging that the congressional map is too partisan. Could it make tensions between state Republicans and Democrats worse? This week the finger-pointing between lawmakers in the General Assembly included calls for lie detector tests.

Meanwhile, more resignations made us wonder who would want to be president of the UNC System. And video of a drunk driver raised questions about whether Blue Cross NC properly reported the arrest of its CEO. 

Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch synthesize the week's political news.

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Sen. Dan Blue is the longest serving member of the North Carolina General Assembly. With 36 years of experience in the Legislature, the Wake County Democrat is well-versed in redistricting, budget negotiations, and working with Republicans.

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North Carolina legislators completed their court-ordered redistricting this week. Lawmakers were working on a swift turnaround and, for more transparency, the mapping sessions were livestreamed. The process drew criticism and praise. Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss the meaning of "independent" redistricting and whether anything has changed with lawmakers' return to consideration of Medicaid expansion. 
 


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The North Carolina General Assembly is again sending redrawn district maps back to the court for review.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr weighs in and remembers former Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, who wrote another precedent-setting decision on redistricting. Orr also has an eye on a proposal in California that would let college athletes earn compensation from sponsorships.

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Even for relatively chaotic North Carolina, it was a wild week in state politics.

There was a major vote that caught many by surprise, court-ordered redistricting carried on, and a judicial pioneer passed away.

Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, and Mitch Kokai, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss those stories, as well as an incident involving a state senator, a journalist, and a phone that went flying.

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A major court ruling is forcing state lawmakers to redraw North Carolina General Assembly districts for 2020. And Hurricane Dorian interrupted early voting in two special congressional elections.

Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation discuss this week in state politics.

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A major court ruling came Tuesday when three state judges rules that dozens of North Carolina legislative boundaries are illegal.

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This episode of the Politics Podcast is an extended conversation from the Week in State Politics, a weekly conversation featured in All Things Considered.

With a state budget impasse about to enter its third month, legislators in Raleigh are adjusting their approach.

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Several of North Carolina's congressional districts are the focus of this week's politics podcast.

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State lawmakers are showing no signs of a budget breakthrough as the fiscal year marks it's 40th day. On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Travis Fain (@travisfain), statehouse reporter for WRAL, addresses that as well as the latest mass shootings and why policy action is unlikely in Raleigh. Fain also meanders through life as a journalist, SEC football venues, and Big Sky country.

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North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore is a nine-term legislator from Cleveland County.

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It’s the fourth week of the fiscal year, however, legislators and the Governor have yet to agree on a new budget for North Carolina.

Democrat Roy Cooper and Republican legislators are in a standstill over whether, and then how, to expand Medicaid – the federal healthcare program for people living in poverty and with disabilities.

On this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast, Gov. Cooper discusses the policy and politics of Medicaid expansion, a new candidate for the 2020 gubernatorial race, as well as being a dad.

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