Stephen Fowler

Reporter

Stephen Fowler is an award-winning reporter and photographer focusing on politics from McDonough, Georgia. He graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, writing his thesis on the rise of the internet rapper and giving a TEDx talk on the storytelling power of music. He also served as the first-ever Executive Digital Editor of The Emory Wheel, where he helped lead the paper into a modern digital era.

He got his start at GPB with All Things Considered in Atlanta, where he helped create live shows everywhere from a brewery to a baseball game to a rooftop midway, was part of award-winning hurricane coverage and (occasionally) filled in as the afternoon news host.

His reporting takes him many places, like the collapsed rubble of I-85, a soul food restaurant in the foothills of the mountains and protests in the streets of Atlanta. His stories can be heard on Marketplace, Here and Now, All Things Considered and NPR’s national newscasts.

Georgia Pecan Commission

It could take years for some of Georgia's pecan crops to recover after Hurricane Michael tore through the southwest part of the state on Wednesday.  

Tim Brown is with Apollo Pecan Nursery and Groves in Preston, Ga., about halfway between Columbus and Albany. 

He says many of their trees are younger, which means they were more flexible in withstanding high winds and heavy rains. But other nurseries in the area weren't as lucky. 

Grant Blankenship/GPB

On the final day of voter registration in Georgia, a report from The Associated Press found the Georgia Secretary of State’s office has more than 53,000 voter registrations on hold under the state’s “exact match” law.

 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Dozens of supporters packed into a converted office in a Jonesboro strip mall Tuesday to catch a glimpse of Georgia's Democratic gubernatorial nominee on the campaign trail.

Behind a curtain and equally enveloped by the 90 percent humidity permeating the space, Stacey Abrams, Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley were calling voters in Clayton County to help knock on doors ahead of the Nov. 6 election.


Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

On a recent sunny Monday, joggers on their morning stroll in Fayetteville's McCurry Park  might have been surprised to hear thumps, clicks and whirrs coming from the elections trailer next to the parking lot.

Over the course of several days, that trailer 20 miles south of Atlanta was where officials tested close to 300 voting machines to ensure they operated smoothly and accurately. Those machines would go out to 36 precincts across the county for the Nov. 6 midterm election.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

School safety and teacher compensation were two topics discussed during the Oct. 2 Atlanta Press Club Debates for State School Superintendent.

The moderator for the debate was Dale Russell, senior investigative reporter for Fox 5 in Atlanta, and the panelists were WABE education reporter Martha Dalton and AJC education reporter Eric Sturgis.

The candidates are Democrat Otha Thornton and incumbent Republican Richard Woods.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Transparency, utility rates and the future of Georgia’s behind-schedule and over-budget nuclear power plant construction were all big topics during the Oct. 2 Atlanta Press Club Debates for Public Service Commission District 3 and District 5.

@GovernorDeal / Twitter

Several of Georgia's top elected officials have weighed in on Friday's Senate Judiciary Committe hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

People across the country watched the testimony of Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who has accused him of sexual assault when they were both in high school in the early 1980s. 

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Georgia’s most populous county is changing the way it uploads election results to the state’s server for the Nov. 6 midterm election.


(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Former Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Georgia to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams has been postponed until October. 

The Abrams campaign said Monday afternoon Biden had a scheduling conflict. 

Biden is not the only national figure making or 2020 presidential hopeful making a stop in Georgia ahead of the Nov. 6 midterms.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

County elections officials across the state are getting ready for the Nov. 6 election.

That includes testing Georgia’s 27,000 touch-screen voting machines.

On a humid Monday morning, Fayette County elections director Floyd Jones and his team begin the logic and accuracy testing process for the direct-recording electronic voting machines – nearly 300 of them.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who is exploring a presidential run in 2020, was in Georgia Saturday morning to listen to voters and help the Democratic Party of Georgia canvass ahead of this November’s midterm elections.

The term-limited Democrat spoke to about 45 volunteers at the DeKalb County Coordinated Campaign field office just outside of Atlanta before knocking on voters’ doors in Ellenwood.

Hickenlooper said he was in Georgia because of a conversation he had with gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Republican nominee for governor Brian Kemp revealed a new $90 million school safety plan Wednesday.

At his Buckhead campaign headquarters, the secretary of state was joined by Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan, and their families to make the announcement.

The three-pronged platform focuses on creating dedicated support counselors in Georgia high schools, providing $30,000 in one-time funding for all Georgia’s public schools to address safety and restructuring the Department of Education to add a School Safety Division.

A voter enters a polling site in Atlanta, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.
(AP PHOTO/DAVID GOLDMAN)

Monday night, a federal judge denied a request to move Georgia’s 159 counties to paper ballots ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm election.

But she also denied the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, writing that Georgia’s 16-year-old touchscreen voting system is at risk of cyberattack or other threats.

GPB's Stephen Fowler has been following the case. He spoke with GPB's Rickey Bevington about what comes next.


WHENISCALENDARS.COM/GOOGLE IMAGES

Georgia will not have to move from its direct-recording electronic voting machines for this November’s elections.

In a Monday night ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg denied a preliminary injunction that would have required more than 2,600 voting precincts in 159 counties to switch to an optically-scanned paper ballot system for the Nov. 6 election.

Joel Mclendon / Flickr/CC

A federal judge could decide as soon as tomorrow whether Georgia must switch from digital touchscreen voting machines to a paper ballot system.

A group of election integrity advocates and concerned Georgia voters say the change needs to be made before November’s election.

GPB’s Stephen Fowler was in yesterday’s hearing. He spoke to GPB's Rickey Bevington about the case.


Grant Blankenship/GPB

A federal judge could decide this week if the state must switch to paper ballots for this November’s election.

Judge Amy Totenberg told a packed courtroom Wednesday the request to change the state’s election infrastructure was a “catch-22.” One the one hand, Totenberg said protecting voting rights from threats of cyberattack or hacking was important because it deals with the integrity and credibility of the voting system.

Screenshot

The city of Atlanta has launched a new transparency tool as the federal bribery probe into City Hall spending grows wider.

Atlanta’s Open Checkbook shows how more than $2 billion was spent during fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says the website allows users to see more than 104,000 transactions, broken down by department, vendor and type of expense.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Republican nominee for governor Brian Kemp unveiled new policies aimed at Georgia’s military veterans on Wednesday.

The first pillar would eliminate state income tax for military retirement income, and he estimated it would cost the state about $60 million.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

From the sound of the closing minutes of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s state convention, you’d almost forget that Republicans control the governor’s mansion, both chambers of the state legislature and all 12 statewide elected offices.

In fact, you’d almost forget there were Republicans at all. While some speeches did mention President Donald Trump or specific Republican opponents, many nominees took a subtler approach by touting specific issues they wanted to address –  or that the Republican party had not.


Amir Farokhi

With tens of thousands of people moving into Atlanta in the last several years, expanding the city’s infrastructure and making it livable has been a longstanding priority.

Some changes are in the works: the city is spending $250 million in bonds to improve roads, bridges and traffic signals, and MARTA is seeking feedback on its own expansion.

Walkability and transit alternatives have been central to the work of Amir Farokhi, who was elected in January to represent parts of Midtown and Downtown Atlanta as the Atlanta City Council member for District 2.

He stopped by the GPB studios to talk about his vision for the city.


Facebook.com

The Georgia woman who leaked classified National Security Agency documents to the media has been sentenced to 63 months behind bars. 

Prosecutors call it the longest federal sentence ever for that type of crime. 


Cecilio Ricardo, U.S. Air Force

Aretha Franklin died yesterday at the age of 76. Raised in Detroit, her career spanned decades and genres, from gospel to jazz to her signature sound as the Queen of Soul. 

Chuck Reece is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of magazine The Bitter Southerner.

After hearing of Franklin’s passing, he published an essay called “Aretha Goes Home.”

Wikimedia Commons

Transportation is a major issue on the minds of many metro Atlantans.

Several counties will be voting in the coming months on a Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax, or TSPLOST, that could expand public transit beyond Fulton and DeKalb Counties. The municipality of Atlanta has its own decisions to make regarding transit.


Felicia Moore

Atlanta’s second-most-powerful elected official has a lot on her plate.

Felicia Moore took over as Atlanta City Council president in January amidst an ongoing federal investigation into City Hall that’s netted several bribery indictments of both employees and contractors.

Flicker

Two Athens police officers shown restraining a 10-year-old in a viral video have been cleared of accusations of excessive force.

The Athens-Clarke Police Department opened an internal investigation after video of the incident surfaced on social media.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

As students across Georgia are making plans to head back into the classrooms, Democratic nominee for Governor Stacey Abrams released her own plan for Georgia’s education system.

At a press conference, the former Georgia House Minority Leader said fully funding the Quality Basic Education formula for schools is an important first step in serving Georgia’s students, but it’s not enough.

Screenshot | GA SOS app

UPDATE 10:26 a.m. Aug. 2: The "GA SOS" app has been updated to remove all social media links to Brian Kemp from the app. 

UPDATE 6:10 p.m. July 31: Brian Kemp's campaign says the secretary of state's office will remove the links on the official app. Campaign Spokesman Ryan Mahoney: “This practice is legal and common for elected officials who value accessibility and citizen engagement. However, the links will be removed so we can focus on important issues like Stacey Abrams failing to pay her taxes."

ORIGINAL STORY:

Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office has an official app where you can check your voter registration, register a business and see election information.

It also links to his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which prominently feature his campaign for Governor.

That has some ethics experts wondering if it's allowed.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Small businesses were the focus of Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams’ job tour stop in Atlanta today. 

It's the second pillar of her five-point jobs plan.

Yesterday on the coast, Abrams toured an ironworkers apprentice workshop in Pooler, where she announced a plan to create 22,000 apprenticeships in Georgia by 2022.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Tuesday's primary runoff elections saw many surprising results across Georgia.  

Perhaps the biggest was Secretary of State Brian Kemp solidly defeating Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, a longtime frontrunner in the Republican race for Georgia’s governor. 


WSB-TV Atlanta

In just over a week, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp face off in the Republican runoff for Georgia's gubernatorial race.

Recent polling shows Cagle in a tight race with Kemp.

On Monday, Cagle landed a big co-sign from current Governor Nathan Deal. GPB’s Stephen Fowler has been tracking endorsements. He joined me in the studio to discuss Deal’s endorsement and the final days of the runoff election.


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