Chuck Edwards

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A bill requiring the city of Asheville to adopt districts for the purpose of electing council members is one step closer to passage after picking up the key support of Rep. Brian Turner (D-Buncombe).  The bill put forward by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville got support not only from Turner but from at least one Republican who opposed a similar bill from his predecessor, Senator Tom Apodoca, also of Hendersonville.  But Turner told BPR he would be unlikely to support the bill if an amendment he plans to introduce is not adopted.  

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The city of Asheville is one step closer to having districts for city council members.  A House committee passed a bill Wednesday to require just that.  And it appears to have picked up key support for eventual passage.

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The North Carolina Senate passed a controversial bill Wednesday night that splits Asheville into six districts for the purpose of electing city council members.   Senate Bill 285 is similar to one put forward by Hendersonville Republican Senator Tom Apodaca.  It would change the way voters choose city council members by creating six districts with voters allowed to choose only in their districts.  The mayor would still be elected at-large.  Apodaca’s bill died when a number of Republicans joined Democrats in voting no.  Now Apodaca’s successor, Republican Chuck Edwards, is trying again.

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A bill that would carve Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members passed its first committee Tuesday night.  The controversial measure is opposed by most Asheville-area lawmakers, as well as city council members and the mayor.  Its sponsor is Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville, who represents a small part of south Asheville.  The bill mandates the city draw up 6 districts for electing council members.  Voters in those districts could vote for only those running in their district.  The mayor would still be elected at-large.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

A bill introduced in the General Assembly would split Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members.  It’s sponsored by Republican Senator Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville, who represents a small portion of south Asheville, an area that hasn’t been represented on city council in some time.  BPR has made repeated attempts to speak with Edwards, but he declined in an email response, saying he’d talk “perhaps after the bill is passed.”  Vijay Kapoor is a resident of south Asheville and an announced candidate for city council.  He wrote an op-ed in Sunday’s Citizen-Times critical of the bill.  He spoke with BPR about it.

ncleg.net

The last bill former Hendersonville Republican Tom Apodaca put forth before he retired would have split Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members.  It was opposed by every other lawmaker representing the city, as well as the mayor and entire city council.  In a stinging defeat for the longtime senator, it failed in its final vote in the House.  Now his successor, Republican Senator Chuck Edwards, is trying again.  Edwards declined requests from BPR to talk about the bill, saying in an e-mailed response he’d talk “perhaps after the bill is passed.”  But WUNC capitol reporter Jeff Tiberii caught up with Edwards on the Senate floor.

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A busy week in Asheville city politics is wrapping up.  First, Republican state senator Chuck Edwards introduced a bill that would create city council districts in Asheville.  Currently all city council seats in Asheville are elected at-large, meaning anyone living anywhere in the city can run for any one of them.

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In an interview with WCQS's Jeremy Loeb, Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer discusses legislative efforts to repeal House Bill 2, as well as a bill that could soon be filed that would split Asheville into districts for the purpose of electing city council members.

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Chuck Edwards Campaign/NC Senate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Republican already running in November to succeed former Sen. Tom Apodaca will now serve the remainder of Apodaca's term through the end of the year.

Gov. Pat McCrory appointed business owner Chuck Edwards to the 48th Senate District seat covering Henderson and Transylvania counties and part of Buncombe County. Local GOP activists last week picked Edwards to complete Apodaca's two-year term after Apodaca resigned July 15. Apodaca had already announced last year he wasn't seeking re-election.