Rural Broadband in North Carolina-A growing BRIGHTspot Rural Weekly Insight

Our business and personal lives are increasingly connected. From electronic health records, to online shopping, to social media, we spend large portions of our day online. That connectivity requires complex infrastructure that is difficult to understand and easy to take for granted. North Carolina government has tried to bring internet connectivity throughout the state for the last 20 years, and while we have come come a long way, there are still pockets of the state that lack the access to connectivity.  … Full story »

The U.S. Census – A grand tradition Weekly Insight

After our piece on congressional apportionment two weeks ago, we received a couple of questions about how the census works and why it is important. Asking for that type of explanation is like asking someone in Lexington to explain the advantages of including ketchup in barbecue.  (We at the Center maintain strict neutrality matters of politics and barbecue.)  Even though it is still two and a half years away, here are four points to consider as the 2020 census approaches.… Full story »

The NC Shuffle: Congressional elections and apportionment Unpacking Data Weekly Insight

I was a minor celebrity in my University of Wisconsin “Law and Politics” class because North Carolina is a national star in redistricting litigation. Anytime we studied a North Carolina-based redistricting case – and that was more frequent than you might think – classmates would give me a knowing nod, impressed by my home state’s gumption. … Full story »

Election results – North Carolina Council of State takeaways Unpacking Data Weekly Insight

Nearly five months have passed since the 2016 election, and the tide has begun to ebb from politics to governance. The election results become less a part of the current event cycle and more political science. Practically speaking, candidates have made their final filings with the Board of Elections and have closed the books on the campaign. … Full story »

Water infrastructure: our collective leaky faucet Weekly Insight

Water is like health; we take it for granted until it is threatened. Over the last 18 months, we have witnessed two significant water disruptions: one in Flint, MI and the more recent Super Bowl weekend outage in Chapel Hill-Orange County, NC. To be clear, the underlying issues, culpability and scale in these disruptions were different. … Full story »

Five months after Matthew: An exercise in resiliency Unpacking Data Weekly Insight

Energy for flood recovery decreases as time moves on. This is not to say that aid agencies—federal, state, local and nonprofit—are not in place. They are, but there comes a point in time where a crisis shifts from an emergency to something deeper. Displacement and loss start are no longer immediate pains; they are the deeper scars that are part of a community’s identity. … Full story »

Fast Changing Tide—N.C. Cabinet Agency Turnover   Weekly Insight

What if Roy Williams took the court without any of his assistant coaches on the bench? How would that handicap success in the ACC tournament? Assistant coaches, while clearly less crucial to game day success than the head coach, play important roles in the process. They are additional sets of eyes and ears; they focus on aspects of the game that the head coach cannot focus on; and they often have subtle but specific responsibilities to track certain things like timeouts or player fouls—elements that can make a difference in the game.… Full story »

Thinking About Those Who Represent Us – the NC Senate Unpacking Data Weekly Insight

Like many 11-year olds, my morning ritual involved poring over the sports page to see how many points Michael Jordan averaged, who was leading the American League in batting average, and the latest in the Winston Cup points margin.  To this day, I can still share more random facts about ACC basketball in the late 80s and early 90s than almost anything else. … Full story »

Thinking About Those Who Represent Us – An Introduction Weekly Insight

The work of 20th century sociologist Vilifredo Pareto introduced the idea of “elites” and studied their role in politics and society. One of his theories was that leadership cycles between “foxes,” who lead towards decentralization, plurality, and skepticism, and “lions,” who emphasize nationalism, established ways, and hierarchical structures.  I revisited Parteo’s theories through a recent article by Hugo Drochon in the New Statesman, spurring a reflection on political theory.  … Full story »

Unpacking bureaucracy: Training public workers Weekly Insight What's Working

The public’s relationship with government bureaucracy is complicated. We simultaneously expect everything and nothing. Government bureaucracy is often a punchline. On good days it is the butt of our jokes. On bad days it is the scapegoat for our frustrations. Yet, like with most punchlines, bureaucracy is the target because it is complicated.… Full story »