NC Politics in the News

March 2, 2020

Pardon Our Dust

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FOODTANK.COM: North Carolina Group Aims to Promote Local Food
To empower under-represented farmers in Western North Carolina, address local food insecurity, and reconnect the community to the land, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture (BRWIA) is advocating for a rejuvenated food system in Appalachia.

BRWIA hopes to connect all types of producers across the region, including farmers, gardeners, and bakers.

Economic Development

WRAL TECH WIRE: Another biopharma expansion is underway in NC – $54M manufacturing plant
Another major biopharmaceutical manufacturing expansion is being planted in North Carolina soil. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies U.S.A., Inc. (FDB) has broken ground on a $54 million, 31,778-square-foot expansion of its biomanufacturing facilities in Morrisville. The investment in its contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) business is part of a $90 million Fujifilm Corporation commitment to meet growing customer demand for biopharmaceuticals.


CITIZEN TIMES: NC superintendent candidates on rural education and lifting teaching profession
North Carolina is getting a new state superintendent.Current superintendent Mark Johnson, elected in 2016, will vacate his position as he runs for lieutenant governor. Seven North Carolina educators – two Republicans and five Democrats – aim to replace Johnson, with each party’s primary set for March 3 (early voting is underway). The state superintendent heads North Carolina’s public education and sets statewide education policy throughout four-year terms. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC needs 2 million people with post-high school degrees by 2030. The workforce demands it.
North Carolina has plenty of good jobs. What it doesn’t have is enough people with the education to fill all of those jobs. Less than half of the state’s residents ages 25 to 44 have a college degree or professional credential. Education leaders across North Carolina are trying to fix that by setting a very ambitious goal: that 2 million residents will have a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2030.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: What primary candidates for statewide office say they want to do for North Carolina
More than 40 people are running in primaries for the Council of State, which includes the attorney general, treasurer and other elected officials from both parties who run state offices. The most crowded field is for lieutenant governor, with nine Republicans and six Democrats vying for their party’s nomination. The March 3 primary may not be the final word. There could be a runoff, or second primary, if a candidate fails to receive more than 30% of the vote and the second highest vote getter calls for a runoff.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Nearly 800,000 early voters in NC – mainly Democrats – already had their Election Day
The countdown is on for Super Tuesday, with just two days left before voters in 14 states cast their ballots for the presidential primary. But nearly 800,000 voters in North Carolina have already made their way to the polls.


WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Lawmakers push officials to speed up prison healthcare reform as taxpayers continue to be slammed
It may take two years to fully roll out a revamp of North Carolina’s prison health-care system, which could save the state a total of $19 million annually. State officials from the North Carolina of Department of Public Safety and the Department of Human Health Services gave members of the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee a timeline Monday for the overhaul of the inmate health-care system, which has cost taxpayers 45 percent more over 10 years. Lawmakers say state officials need to speed up the process, which will take more than five years to generate savings.


WRAL TECH WIRE: Study: North Carolina a hotbed for military technology needs
North Carolina is well positioned to capitalize on the economic growth opportunities being driven by the defense industry due to key technologies and capabilities available in the state, according to a new study.The Defense Alliance of North Carolina, working with RTI International, notes that the state is “among the fastest growing states in the nation for technology areas being targeted by the Department of Defense.”

GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY: North Carolina County Uses AI for Property Revaluations
If you live in Wake County, N.C., the new property value you recently received in the mail was created with the help of SAS’s artificial intelligence technology. In what is billed as a pilot of the company’s AI technology, Cary-based SAS worked hand-in-hand with the Wake County tax administrator to determine how much every one of the county’s 400,000 properties should be valued. 


US NEWS: New N Carolina DOT, Information Tech Secretaries Sworn In
The shuffling of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s original Cabinet became official on Friday with changes at the transportation and information technology departments. Eric Boyette, the new Department of Transportation secretary and Tracy Doaks, secretary of the information technology department, were sworn in to their posts by Court of Appeals Judge Reuben Young in a private ceremony, Cooper’s office said. Doaks, most recently the chief deputy state chief information officer, suceeded Boyette as secretary at the state IT office.

NEWS & RECORD: As Amtrak ridership grows between Raleigh and Charlotte, could a Southeast rail corridor accelerate things more?
Amtrak saw a 30% increase in ridership between Raleigh and Charlotte in from 2018 to 2019, with a 17% increase in ridership to and from the Raleigh station alone, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation. (The DOT owns the Piedmont’s rolling stock and is responsible for most of the operations; Amtrak crews operate the train.)