Columns

Colin Campbell: Let’s Take Politics Out of Administering NC’s Elections

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper wants to take politics out of the redistricting process, but he also thinks he should control elections administration in North Carolina. Legislative Republicans, meanwhile, want to take partisanship out of the elections board, but they’re determined to keep it in the process of drawing legislative and congressional districts. None of this is surprising: The old…


Colin Campbell: NC Teacher Pay Shortchanges Veteran Educators, Rural Schools

RALEIGH — Is a $35,000 annual salary “good money?” That’s what N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson recently said about the state’s starting salary for teachers. The comment ignited a firestorm of criticism from education advocates who say the number is far too low. Johnson later admitted his “less-than-stellar phrasing” in an attempt to explain how salary figures can…


Colin Campbell: Legislature Bashes Cooper in Jerry Springer-Style Inquisition

RALEIGH — For a solid 30 minutes, it looked like state legislators might actually have a bill that everyone could support. House and Senate leaders held a press conference Thursday (Feb. 8) to announce they’d found a solution to mandated smaller elementary school class sizes. That’s the law that prompted widespread complaints from school superintendents who worried they’d have to…


Colin Campbell: More Turbulence Ahead in Elections Board Battle?

RALEIGH — We finally have a court ruling in Gov. Roy Cooper’s legal battle with Republican legislators over North Carolina’s elections board, but it looks like the fight’s not over yet. You might be scratching your head trying to remember the details of this dispute — Cooper has sued the legislature so many times I’ve lost count. So let’s hop…


Colin Campbell: Uncertain 2018 Elections as Redistricting Battles Rage On

RALEIGH — Trying to make sense of all the redistricting action in North Carolina this month? Good luck with that. We’re now at a point where lawsuits and legislative actions have resulted in a scenario where most of the 2018 election contests are uncertain. You can run for office, but you won’t know for sure who your voters are. Congressional…


Colin Campbell: NC’s Jobs Incentives Keep Getting Bigger

RALEIGH — North Carolina came up short again this month in its long-running quest to lure an automaker, but state leaders now have another economic development whale to hunt: Amazon has Raleigh on its list of 20 finalists for a new headquarters. With thousands of jobs at stake, lots of states are chasing the same whales, whether they’re major manufacturers…


Colin Campbell: GenX Solutions Require a Scarce Commodity: Cooperation

RALEIGH — The state legislature’s one-day session on Jan. 10 turned out to be a failure, and a waste of the roughly $42,000 it costs to send lawmakers to Raleigh for a special session. When legislators set the date back in October, the plan was to redraw judicial districts or consider changing to a judicial appointment system. They blew their…


Colin Campbell: Possums and Politics – A North Carolina Tradition Ends

RALEIGH — “Possum out: Famous New Year’s event in Brasstown shockingly ends after one final descent” was the lead headline in last week’s Cherokee Scout, North Carolina’s westernmost newspaper. After surviving years of animal rights lawsuits from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Clay County’s New Year’s Eve Possum Drop is calling it quits. “It’s a hard job to…


Colin Campbell: How Did Gov. Roy Cooper Do In 2017?

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has finished his first year in office — a year full of the fireworks that are common in a divided state government. Cooper and Republican legislative leaders have sparred on TV, in courtrooms and in the most thrilling arena of all: The Strongly Worded Press Release. So how well did the governor do in 2017?…