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North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC
The WUNC Politics 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.
3 days ago
Hello Mr. President, Goodbye State Fair
This week: North Carolina played host to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Meanwhile, David Lewis, a powerful state legislator, will not be on the ballot, as previously expected. And with the State Fair canceled for the first time since the second World War, Becki Gray and Rob Schofield ponder whether college athletics can realistically take place this fall.
6 days ago
The First Nine Weeks: A Rural Superintendent Talks Remote Education
Anthony Jackson has been an educator for more than 30 years, but there's never been a school year that’s begun like this one. Jackson is the superintendent of Vance County Schools, and like many other districts across North Carolina, his decided to start the upcoming semester with all-remote instruction. On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, Jackson discusses the state of education in his rural district, whether there will be a "COVID-19 slide" for students, and how he stays centered during this unprecedented time.
Jul 24, 2020
Reversing Course: From Face Coverings To Conventions
This week in state politics: The effects of the pandemic continue to be felt in wide and various ways. From touchscreen voting machines to an annual bar exam, there are questions about risk and necessity. In their weekly review of state politics, Becki Gray and Rob Schofield discuss remote learning, elections preparations, and President Donald Trump’s decision to roll back plans for the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.
Jul 17, 2020
No Way Around It: Gov. Cooper Makes The Inevitable Choice On Schools
This week in state politics: More remote learning became a reality this week when Gov. Roy Cooper announced North Carolina public schools will not return like normal next month as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise. Rob Schofield and Becki Gray discuss the governor's choice to recommend a mix of online and in-person schooling for K-12 students. Meanwhile, the latest campaign finance reports show Democrats are building a financial advantage. And in Asheville, city council members unanimously voted to provide Black residents with reparations.
Jul 15, 2020
This Progressive Organizer Says Black Women Can Change The Political Paradigm
Aisha Dew first volunteered on a political campaign 30 years ago, when she was a young girl. In 2016, she was leading Bernie Sanders' campaign in North Carolina. Today, she works with Higher Heights, seeking to mobilize Black women and increase their participation – and representation – in politics. On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, Dew discusses her focus for 2020, and whether one institutional hurdle for Black candidates is getting any lower.
Jul 10, 2020
The Reopening Fight Wages On
This week in state politics: North Carolina lawmakers failed to override the governor's vetoes so that gyms and skating rinks that were shutdown because of the pandemic could reopen. But in court, a group of bowling alleys won their argument that they're no riskier than resturants operating at limited capacity. Meanwhile, the tension over how Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is calling the shots during the COVID-19 emergency brought an abrupt end to a meeting of top state elected officials. Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation discuss those developments, plus record-breaking fundraising in the U.S. Senate race, and one early outcome of protests over police misconduct.
Jul 3, 2020
This School Choice Isn’t Simple: No Decision (Yet) On Public Schools
This Week In State Politics: the Governor delayed a decision about whether public schools would open in the fall. As Democrat Roy Cooper said he needed more time, he was also served with a lawsuit. His political opponent, Republican Dan Forest, contends that the Governor is implementing too much unilateral authority. And with lawmakers away for a little while, news trickled out of the General Assembly that a lobbyist tested positive for COVID-19. Rob Schofield and Becki Gray discuss those stories, as well as their fireworks plans for this weekend.
Jun 30, 2020
Rep. Deb 'I Will Not Yield' Butler On Redistricting, Racism, And Pride
Democratic state Rep. Deb Butler made national headlines last September when, following a surprise and controversial veto override vote, she grabbed a microphone and lit into Republican House Speaker Tim Moore. Gerrymandering, she says, has polarized lawmakers and it's nearly paralyzed the General Assembly. She'd rather they were legislating on middle ground. On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, Butler talks about the hope for redistricting reform. She also reveals the pulse of Wilmington as North Carolina and the nation faces a racial reckoning. And, she explains why she reached for a little champagne last week.
Jun 26, 2020
Monuments Come Down, Mask Requirement Goes Up, And Legislators Leave Town
Another bustling week in North Carolina politics included the toppling of Confederate monuments in the state capitol and elsewhere, the governor's decision to mandate face coverings statewide because of the coronavirus, and an after-hours marathon session at the General Assembly. Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation discuss executive actions, legislative inaction, and what the addition of GOP donor and policy wonk Art Pope may mean for the UNC Board of Governors.
Jun 19, 2020
A Constitutional Case For Removing Confederate Monuments, And A Plug For Masks
North Carolina lawmakers this week approved a plan to provide teachers with a one-time bonus. Meanwhile temperature checks at the General Assembly building were halted — albeit briefly — as the capital city moved to require masks to curb COVID-19. And a group of lawyers sent a letter to the governor and legislative leaders arguing Confederate monuments violate the state constitution. Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch discuss those developments, and two major rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jun 16, 2020
Unrest In Fayetteville, Up Close
Journalist Paul Woolverton was covering the protests in Fayetteville the last Saturday in May when he was attacked. He suffered a concussion, and still doesn’t remember some of what transpired outside the Cross Creek Mall. On this episode of the Politics Podcast from WUNC, the longtime Fayetteville reporter discusses how the unrest has played out in his city, the local landmark that was set on fire, and some of the fallout.
Jun 12, 2020
Criminal Justice Reforms Get Resurrected In Raleigh
After weeks of unrest over police brutality and systemic racism, North Carolina lawmakers turned attention back to two pieces of legislation: One would ease expungement of criminal records, another would let judges avoid some sentencing mandates. Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch and Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation talk about how significant these bills are, and where they come down on the idea of renaming military bases named for Confederate generals. Also, did they feel any relief with the announcement this week that the RNC is officially heading to Jacksonville, Florida for President Trump's renomination?
Jun 5, 2020
A Week Of Civil Unrest
As protests took place across North Carolina and the nation, calling for justice after the killing of George Floyd, President Donald Trump called for a greater use of force. In North Carolina two task forces were announced —one by the governor, one by lawmakers — aimed at trying to help bridge the racial divide. Meanwhile, it looks less likely that the Republican National Convention will take place in Charlotte this August. Becki Gray of the John Locke Foundation and Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch review what was a historic week in the state and country.
Jun 2, 2020
Is Anything (Still) Normal About The 2020 Elections?
How does a campaign fundraise during a pandemic? If the RNC departs from Charlotte, does that give anyone a political advantage? Will we see the customary election-year rallies this fall? North Carolina political strategist Jonathan Felts offers his answers on this episode of the WUNC Politics Podcast. And he talks about working with future candidates for office in Afghanistan.
May 29, 2020
North Carolina Confronts An RNC Ultimatum
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.
May 22, 2020
Dine-In Service, Haircuts, And Worries For A Holiday Weekend
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.
May 19, 2020
Imagining Elections During A Pandemic
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".
May 15, 2020
Sheriffs Won't Stop Indoor Church Services, And The FBI Seizes Senator Burr's Phone
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.
May 8, 2020
Easing Into Reopening
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.
May 5, 2020
The State Health Secretary Is Facing The Challenge Of Her Career
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).