Month: March 2017

NC Politics Event: Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World


Join us for a bipartisan discussion on the state of politics in North Carolina and how we can work towards “Finding Common Ground in a Polarized World” with state leaders John Hood and Leslie Winner. The discussion will be moderated by Duke Professor of Public Policy and Associate Dean for Strategy and Engagement Frederick “Fritz” Mayer.


Leslie Winner, a Democrat and former NC state senator, was the former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and past recipient of the Governor’s Order of Long Leaf Pine award for outstanding service. John Hood, a conservative and founder of the John Locke Foundation, is president of the John William Pope Foundation and serves as a weekly panelist on the political talk show “NC SPIN.”


These leaders co-chair the North Carolina Leadership Forum (NCLF), which brings together NC civic, business, and political leaders from across the political spectrum to engage in thoughtful dialogue and attempt to find common ground on political issues. Hosted at the Sanford School for Public Policy, the NCLF has been examining questions like minimum wage over the past year.


When: Friday, April 7th 12pm-2pm

Where: Pink Parlor Room in the East Duke Building
112 Campus Dr, Durham, NC 27708

Discussion will be followed by a reception with refreshments.

Street Parking is available in the neighborhoods surrounding East Campus. Paid parking is located at Smith Warehouse.


RSVP here.

Key Points from Governor Roy Cooper’s State of the State Address

[Cover photo] North Carolina State Capitol

Last Monday, April 13th, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper delivered his first State of the State Address highlighting the work citizens have done in their respective communities and outlining his policy goals for the state moving forward.

Our team made note of 14 key takeaways and actions from the governor’s speech. We hope these points will be valuable to all of our partners who are interested in policy engagement.

Key Points from Governor Roy Cooper’s State of the State Address
  1. Call on state legislature to Repeal HB2
  2. Bring the film industry back to NC
  3. Help families and communities affected by last year’s storms
    • The governor wants to extend support to 50 hard-hit counties.
  4. Raise teacher pay by an average 10% over the next two years
  5. Provide $150 per annual bonus to teachers for class supplies
  6. Create a $10,000 Best and Brightest scholarship to high school graduates with good grades willing to spend 3-4 years in the classroom
  7. Institute free community college to high school graduates
  8. Invest in workforce development by supporting education opportunities that lead to high paying trade jobs and encourage more companies to employ North Carolinians
  9. Bring broadband internet to rural communities to support rural citizens and businesses
  10. Encourage the creation of renewable energy
  11. Improve the health of North Carolinians by addressing insurance coverage gaps, high healthcare prices, and rural hospital struggles
  12. Treat Opioid and Substance Abuse Addiction as a disease
    • Cooper highlighted the work done by the sheriff in Nashville, NC.
  13. Restore the use of federal funding for housing to help support affordable housing in NC
  14. Encourage Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on big issues
    • Cooper noted the main issues addressed in his speech: the opioid epidemic, Education, Healthcare, raising the juvenile age, jobs, economic development, and hurricane and wildlife recovery. Crafting solutions to these issues will be main components of Cooper’s “Common Ground Solutions” budget.

Policy Caucus March Meeting



This past Friday Policy Bridge held its second Policy Caucus meeting. The Policy Caucus is a growing collective of Duke faculty, researchers, administrators, and policy partners with strong policy engagement interests and duties across the university.


Last Friday’s convening was led by Doug Heron, Assistant Vice President of Duke Health and State Government Relations, and Jenni Owen, Policy Director for NC Governor Roy Cooper and prior Director of Duke Policy Bridge. The overarching theme of the discussion centered on connecting academics with policymakers in Raleigh. Speaking to the heart of building connections between policymakers and researchers, a key tenet of Duke Policy Bridge’s mission, Heron and Owen provided perceptive analysis and suggestions for caucus members’ inquiries.


The group had the opportunity to pose questions on navigating the state legislation process and communicating with state legislators and administrators at state agencies. A transcription of key takeaways from the question and answer segment of the session have been logged below along with a list of resources recommended by Heron and Chris Simmons, Associate Vice President of Duke’s Office of Government Relations.


Policy Bridge will hold its next Policy Caucus meeting Friday, April 7th during Leslie Winner and John Hood’s Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Residency week. For more information on the Policy Caucus, contact us.



Q: How do we learn early enough what the agenda is to be nimble/proactive in responding?

Doug: Figure out which intermediary organizations monitor the legislature. Read through the governor’s budget to see where resources are flowing. Check out end of session reports to preview upcoming session content and learn about the legislature’s announced interim study committees.

Q: What is the best way to get conversations going with policymakers in Raleigh to shape new research questions?

Jenni: Form informal groups of issue-area experts to meet periodically and be on call as needed. Hold morning meetings in Raleigh, invite key people from relevant agencies, and present it as a forum to formulate research questions.

Q: What do the deputy chief of staff and legislative directors read every morning?

Jenni: Twitter, news clip compilations, The News & Observer, The NC Insider, smaller news outlets like the Fayetteville Observer. Depending on the policy, getting content in a smaller newspaper may be most effective. Get to know lobbyists, they act as both educators and advocates…and sometimes they even write legislation.




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