Jeremy Loeb

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.

Cone Health Foundation (

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

Legislative Wrap: Rep. Joe Sam Queen

Oct 16, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

WCQS is conducting a series of interviews with area lawmakers about the recently-completed legislative session.  Our series continues today with Rep. Joe Sam Queen, a Democrat representing Haywood, Jackson, and Swain counties.  Queen is in his sixth term at the General Assembly.  He said this session lacked leadership and vision.  Our full conversation is above.  And you can hear some of the highlights in the segments below.

Legislative Wrap: Sen. Terry Van Duyn

Oct 14, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

WCQS is speaking with mountain area lawmakers about the recently completed General Assembly session.  Our series continues today with Terry Van Duyn, a Democratic state senator from Buncombe County.  Van Duyn emerged throughout the session as one of the most outspoken members of the Democratic caucus, rising to the position of minority whip.  You can hear the full conversation above.  Some highlights from the interview are featured below.

Legislative Wrap: Rep. Chuck McGrady

Oct 12, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

Now that state lawmakers are home from Raleigh, WCQS is conducting a series of interviews with mountain area legislators.  We start off our series with Representative Chuck McGrady, Republican of Henderson County.  McGrady played a key role in budget negotiations towards the end of the session.  And as the former national president of the environmental group Sierra Club, he also was a major player in various pieces of legis

NC Moves Closer to Industrial Hemp Farming

Oct 5, 2015 (via Vote Hemp)

Before lawmakers left Raleigh last week, they sent to the governor a bill that would move the state closer to industrial hemp farming.  The bill would establish the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission, a 5-member commission, whose members will be appointed by legislators, state Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler and Governor Pat McCrory.  The commission would have to raise $200,ooo privately before establishing a pilot program.  They would also coordinate research with NC State Universi

Jon Ostendorff/Asheville Citizen-Times

Todd Williams has served as Buncombe County's District Attorney for about six months now, after defeating the long-time DA Ron Moore.  Williams stopped by WCQS for a conversation with Jeremy Loeb about how the job's been going, about issues facing Buncombe County, and about several initiatives he's been working on. 

Asheville Mayor No Fan of Senate Sales Tax Plan

Jun 23, 2015
Max Cooper/Mountain XPress

State lawmakers in the House and Senate are trying to reconcile two competing budget plans.  The Senate plan includes a change to the way sales taxes are distributed to favor rural counties over more urban ones like Wake, Mecklenburg, and Buncombe.  WCQS’s Jeremy Loeb spoke with Asheville mayor Esther Manheimer about what the plan would mean for Buncombe County and the city of Asheville.   They also touched on the city budget and county room tax. 

Talkin' Blueberries with Alison Arnold

Jun 10, 2015

Blueberry growers in North Carolina are expecting a big year.  WCQS gardening expert Alison Arnold talks with Jeremy Loeb about why that is, and what it means for local horticulturists. 

Alison Arnold is agriculture extension agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. 

A Conversation with NPR's Steve Inskeep

Jun 2, 2015

NPR Morning Edition host and author Steve Inskeep was in Asheville Monday to promote his new book "Jacksonland."  It tells the bloody story of the long-running feud between President Andrew Jackson and Cherokee Chief John Ross over land that would become the southern United States. 

Katie Bailey/Asheville Citizen-Times

In interviews with WCQS, 3 Democrats expressed dismay at how a bill dealing with renewable energy was pushed through committee.  You can find those interviews below.

Updated at 11:30 pm Wednesday

An effort to freeze the percentage of retail electricity sales North Carolina utilities must create through renewable sources and efficiency efforts has passed the state House.

Lawmakers in the House gave final approval Wednesday to their version of the annual "regulatory reform" bill, which also includes a provision conservation groups argue will discourage solar project construction.

The measure sets the retail sales percentage at 6 percent. A 2007 law has it growing to as high as 12.5 percent.

In Their Words: Rep. Chuck McGrady

Apr 28, 2015
The News & Observer of Raleigh

We’ve been talking with area legislators over the past few weeks.  It’s part of an effort to bring you their views, in their words.  Today the focus is on Representative Chuck McGrady, Republican of Henderson County.  On a day when McGrady was preparing for a busy week known as "crossover" - in which most bills have to pass one chamber and "cross over" in order to be considered still alive this session - he took the time to speak with us about issues ranging from taxes, politics, the environment, social issues, and more.  The full conversation is above.  Below are some parts of the intervie

In Their Words: WCQS Speaks With Lawmakers

Apr 17, 2015

As part of an ongoing series, WCQS is reaching out to lawmakers from western North Carolina and beyond for in-depth, wide-ranging discussions on the issues that matter to you.  The goal of the series we're calling "In Their Words" is for you to have a chance to hear from the people running our local, state, and federal government in an open, honest, unfiltered way.  We will update the series over time.

In Their Words: Rep. Joe Sam Queen

Apr 14, 2015

We’ve been hearing from area lawmakers over the past week.  Many were home last week for their version of spring break and that gave us a chance to speak with many of them.  Today we hear from Joe Sam Queen.  He’s a Democrat representing Haywood, Jackson, and Swain counties in the state House. 

Area Democrats are not backing down on their call for the state to expand Medicaid, something the Republican-led General Assembly has refused to do.   Queen says North Carolinians are already footing the bill.

In Their Words: Rep. Susan Fisher

Apr 13, 2015
Jeremy Loeb/BPR

We’ve been talking with area lawmakers over the past week as many were home for a week-long recess last week.  Today we’re focusing on an interview with Representative Susan Fisher, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  Here are some highlights: 

In the segment below, Fisher talks about a new proposal in the legislature dealing with abortion.  It would mandate a 72 hour waiting period for a woman to have an abortion and would bar UNC or ECU’s medical schools from teaching or providing the procedure.  Fisher opposes the bill.

In Their Words: Rep. John Ager

Apr 12, 2015
Katie Bailey/Asheville Citizen-Times

We’ve been conducting interviews with area lawmakers over the past week, as many were home for their version of spring break.  Our conversations continue with Representative John Ager, a Democrat of Buncombe County.  In the segment below, we talked to Ager about recent changes the legislature made to the state gasoline tax, which was immediately cut by a cent and a half, but that initial cut actually prevented the tax from dropping much further -as was projected, because the gas tax is tied to the wholesale price of gasoline.

In Their Words: Sen. Terry Van Duyn

Apr 9, 2015
Mountain XPress

We’re hearing from state legislators this week who are home for a week-long recess.  WCQS reached out to members of both parties and is airing the interviews in the order they were conducted.  Today the focus is on Terry Van Duyn, a Democratic State Senator of Buncombe County.  We spoke on a range of issues, from the economy and jobs to bills dealing with social issues, which Van Duyn has been an outspoken critic of.

In Their Words: Rep. Brian Turner

Apr 8, 2015
William Woody/Asheville Citizen-Times

This week, state lawmakers are on their version of spring break, and many local legislators are home.  That gave us an opportunity to sit down and talk about the current session with many of them.  We reached out to members of both parties, and will air excerpts from the interviews in the order they were conducted.  We start today with Representative Brian Turner.  He’s a Democrat representing Buncombe County.  The first-term legislator scored an upset win over Tim Moffitt in November’s election, one among just a few bright spots for Democrats in an otherwise tough election cycle.   

NCDOT Charging to View Public Records

Feb 3, 2015
Dave DeWitt; North Carolina Public Radio WUNC

In what one group is calling a violation of state law, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is charging fees to view public records.  The Southern Environmental Law Center made a request to view public documents related to Governor Pat McCrory’s 25-year transportation plan and a proposed billion-dollar transportation bond.  SELC attorney Kym Hunter says they were told they would have to pay a fee of $468 to view the files.