Author: Joyce W.

What’s a ‘Short Session,’ anyway?

(This post was originally published in Rep. Mary Belk’s May 11th newsletter. It has been shared with permission of Rep. Belk’s office and should be attributed to her.) I’m getting packed up to head back to Raleigh for the “Short Session”, which starts on May 16th. Theoretically, we have a part-time legislature in North Carolina, so our two-year sessions (“Biennium”) are designed to allow legislators to maintain their full-time professions. In odd-numbered years, we are traditionally in session from January to mid-June, and in even-numbered years, like 2018, we are only required to be in session from May 16th...

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Primary Election Results

This month for “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” we focused on the importance of voting in the North Carolina primary elections. You can watch the whole video with guest Aylett Colston below. Since we have election results now, we wanted to take a look at a few of things things we saw emerge last night. Incumbents Felt the Heat For a variety of reasons, there were several high profile incumbent losses in yesterday’s election. Duane Hall (D; NC-11) and Beverly Boswell (R; NC-06) both had plenty of well-deserved negative headlines chasing them in the last few months. As...

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Primary Elections Toolkit: Get Out and Vote

With North Carolina’s primaries happening next week, we pulled together a mini-toolkit to breakdown the primary process and discuss why it’s so important to vote. In NC, we have semi-closed or partisan primaries, which means you can only vote in the primary of your political party, or if unaffiliated, you can choose to vote in either the Republican or the Democratic primary (but not both). Narrowing the pool of candidates and reducing the number of eligible voters can provide political advantages to some while disadvantaging others, which makes voting in primaries more important than most people think. Click on...

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This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Environment

This month we had a fascinating conversation during our Facebook Live video series, “This Is What Democracy Looks Like”. Guest host, Kathryn Gavaghan, interviewed Rachel Estes from the NC Conservation Network to discuss environmental issues and opportunities facing North Carolina. North Carolina has had a pretty progressive history in the South in terms of environmental policy and leadership. Unfortunately, these issues fade from public focus. A public health crisis occurs, which leads to action. Over time, people get accustomed to the new standards and policies and can become complacent thinking about how the environment affects them – until the next...

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New Toolkit: Environment

Once upon a time, government leaders in the United States were able to work together across party lines to solve some of our most pressing and challenging issues. Under the Republican administration of Richard Nixon in the 1970s, and with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, our leaders set to address national environmental problems. Some of these problems were obvious and graphic: smog so thick in LA that it was visible from space; rivers so contaminated with waste that they caught on fire; wildlife like the American Bald Eagle on the brink of extinction. Other problems were less visible...

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