Political news

Legislative Wrap: Rep. John Ager

Nov 5, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

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.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

The only incumbent in the race for Asheville city council lost as three new faces will join the council.  Unofficial results from Tuesday's election (as of midnight) show Keith Young finishing first with 18.22% of the vote.  Brian Haynes finished a close second with 18.08%.  And in third was Julie Mayfield with 17.65%, despite finishing first in the primary.  The race was for three seats on the city council, so those three are the winners.

The Republican majority in the North Carolina House of Representatives was often divided this year. In July, members met for hours behind closed doors and narrowly approved re-organizing the seats on the Greensboro City Council. In September, the 74 members of the Republican caucus were divided and eventually defeated a plan that would have overturned city and county nondiscrimination ordinances across the state. House Speaker Tim Moore said he negotiated with libertarian members of his caucus to approve a plan to offer incentives to companies willing to move to North Carolina. He said he held regular meetings to negotiate other compromises. Yet, in his opinion, divisions were few.

Six pro-immigrant protesters were arrested outside of the North Carolina Governor's mansion in downtown Raleigh on Thursday after they blocked rush-hour traffic in protest of a controversial new law that encourages local police collaboration with federal immigration authorities. The demonstrators walked into traffic lanes of Blount Street at about 4 p.m. as more than 200 people encouraged them with chants of "We are America!" and "No papers, No fear!" The six demonstrators locked their arms together with long plastic traps as a man quickly shackled their ankles together.

Angeli Wright/Asheville Citizen-Times

Early voting is underway in the election for Asheville's city council.  The primary election whittled the race down to six candidates.  They're now vying for three open seats on the council in the November 3rd general election.  WCQS reporters David Hurand and Jeremy Loeb interviewed all six.  Their full comments are posted below in the order in which they aired.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Asheville city council candidate Brian Haynes defended his son and campaign manager, who is facing felony drug charges.  Austin Haynes was reported to have been arrested and charged with possession of around six pounds of marijuana.  The candidate told WCQS he knew that his son's arrest could become public during the campaign.  He declined to comment on the specific charges, but said he loves his son and is proud of him.  Haynes said he wouldn't have wanted anyone else to be his campaign manager, calling his son one of the most socially conscious people he knew.  He says he hopes voters wo

Legislative Wrap: Rep. Susan Fisher

Oct 22, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

WCQS has been sitting down with area lawmakers in the weeks since the legislature wrapped up its long session.  Today, we talk with Democratic Rep. Susan Fisher of Buncombe County.  Fisher says the Republican-dominated legislature did nothing for the ordinary citizen while it gave tax cuts to the very wealthy.  Our full conversation is above.  You can find some highlights of the conversation below.

Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger says the Medicaid overhaul North Carolina lawmakers approved last month will contain the cost of the publicly funded health insurance program and improve the quality of service patients receive. Berger talks with WUNC reporter Jorge Valencia.

Cone Health Foundation (ncmedicaidexpansion.com)

North Carolina's Republican-dominated legislature has so far refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  It's already been noted by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine that not expanding Medicaid is costing around 500,000 state residents coverage.  Now a new report from the Center for Health Policy Re

Legislative Wrap: Rep. Josh Dobson

Oct 19, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

As part of a series of conversations with mountain area lawmakers about the recently-completed legislative session, we sat down with Josh Dobson, a Republican state House member representing Avery, McDowell, and Mitchell counties.  Dobson is serving his first full term, after being appointed to his seat and then winning re-election.  In our conversation, Dobson highlighted his goals of preserving quality public education and healthcare in western North Carolina.  He also spoke a