Stephen Fowler

Reporter

Stephen Fowler is an award-winning reporter and photographer for GPB News covering state and local politics. His work focuses on voting and elections, state government and policy and legal issues.

He got his start with GPB's 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. In college, he served as the Executive Digital Editor of The Emory Wheel and was part of the inaugural cohort of the Georgia News Lab, a yearlong investigative journalism program.

His reporting takes him many places, like the collapsed rubble of I-85, fishing in the Flint River and protests in the streets of Atlanta. His stories have appeared on Marketplace, Here and Now, All Things Considered and NPR’s national newscasts, as well as ProPublica and the Columbia Journalism Review.

GPB

Millions of dollars have poured in to Georgia congressional campaign coffers in the last three months, as candidates look to show their viability a year out from the 2020 election.

The campaign finance reports submitted Tuesday show Democrats outraising Republicans in two key U.S. House races while needing to play catch-up in a U.S. Senate race.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Voting in Georgia will look different next year now that the state has purchased new touchscreen ballot-marking devices.

The secretary of state’s office is inviting voters to test them out at demonstrations across Georgia before the scheduled first use in March.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

The sidewalks in front of Rep. Lucy McBath's (D-Marietta) office in Sandy Springs were awash Tuesday with dueling signs and slogans voicing opinions on the ever-evolving impeachment talks in Washington, D.C.

The White House said Tuesday it will not participate in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's pressure on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.


Democratic presidential candidates at a Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston. The DNC announced Georgia will host a debate on Nov. 20.
DAVID J. PHILLIP / AP

The road to the Democratic presidential nomination will run through Georgia, as the state will host the next primary debate on Nov. 20.

While the exact location, panelists and final list of qualified candidates is not yet known, the Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that MSNBC and The Washington Post will co-host the debate. 

State party leaders said the decision to bring White House hopefuls to Georgia signals the prominent role the state will have in the 2020 elections. 

Ezra Morris / GPB

Starting this week, state agencies have a little less money to get things done.   

Gov. Brian Kemp ordered budget cuts last month, encouraging departments to cut redundant spending and warning of a potential future economic downturn.     

But the lawmakers who craft the budget aren’t so sure. They met last week to hear more about the Georgia economy. 


Matt Lieberman

Democrat Matt Lieberman, son of former U.S Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), is the first candidate to enter the race to fill retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson's (R-Ga.) seat in 2020. 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

A federal judge on Tuesday said that Georgia's abortion law cannot take effect while a larger legal challenge is pending.

The Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act bans most abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, around six weeks into pregnancy. The law was slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Some voters in Forsyth County will have new places to vote starting with the 2020 election cycle.

The Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections voted unanimously Tuesday to create four voting precincts and add five new polling places for voters.


GPB News

Georgia’s new economist says there is “about a 50-50 chance of a mild recession” next year amid uncertainty about the state’s revenue projections and Gov. Brian Kemp’s call for cuts to state agencies.

Members of the House and Senate appropriations committees heard economic outlooks from Jeffrey Dorfman and other presenters during two days of hearings in Atlanta this week.


Pexels

While Gov. Brian Kemp has asked state agencies to find ways to cut their budgets in the next fiscal year, the initial proposals submitted amount to an overall increase in state spending.

 

According to documents shared online by the governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, the state’s amended budget for the rest of the fiscal year (running July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020) would decrease by about $50 million, or two-tenths of a percent. 

However, the record-setting $27.5 billion budget would increase by 1%, or close to $300 million, for FY 2021 – even with cuts offered by many state agencies. Add to the mix recent news about record jobs growth, a booming economy and Georgia being the “number one state to do business” and many are left wondering what the cuts are all about. 

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

There were questions personal and political, silly and serious, but former President Jimmy Carter answered them all with a smile during the 38th Carter Town Hall at Emory University Wednesday.

A packed gymnasium delivered a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the nearly 95-year-old humanitarian and university professor, who quipped that it only took him writing 33 books to finally get tenure.

GPB News

Freshen up your resume and bust out your thesaurus for the cover letter – it's application season for those seeking to be the next person to represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Tuesday that his office will be vetting would-be lawmakers who submit an application, including contact information, a resume or C.V., confirmation that you meet age and residency requirements and an acknowledgement that the public will get to see your interest in being appointed.

White House Historical Association

Jimmy Carter is known for many things: Building affordable houses, helping to cure diseases, brokering peace… the list goes on.

What you may not know him for is music.

But the 94-year-old campaigned with the Allman Brothers, brought jazz to the White House and sang hymns with Willie Nelson.


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp is launching a new statewide initiative to promote Georgia-made products and bring new business to rural parts of the state.

At Faircloth Forest Products in Swainsboro, midway between Macon and Savannah, Kemp said he was fulfilling another campaign promise: to showcase economic opportunities available to companies that choose to invest in Georgia outside of the metro Atlanta area.


John Bazemore / AP Photo

More than two dozen black Georgia state legislators have endorsed Joe Biden for president ahead of the third Democratic primary debate in Houston Thursday night.

In a press release, the Biden campaign announced 59 total endorsements from black state lawmakers across the country, just hours before he was set to take the stage with nine other Democratic hopefuls.

Jon Ossoff

Investigative filmmaker and one-time Congressional candidate Jon Ossoff is now the fourth Democrat running in the primary election to challenge Republican Sen. David Perdue in 2020.

Candidate headshots. Graphic GPB News.

As you might already know, both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats will be on the ballot next November.

But questions about who Gov. Brian Kemp will pick to replace Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson on the ballot in 2020 (and, if successful, the governor’s reelection campaign in 2022) has created an unending cascade of speculation and game theory about who will mount campaigns for the elected offices.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

As rain began to fall on Georgia’s coast from Hurricane Dorian, Gov. Brian Kemp implored those who did not evacuate to stay vigilant and safe as state officials were making final preparations for the recovery phase of the storm.

NOAA

Gov. Brian Kemp has expanded the state of emergency to nine more counties ahead of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival near the Georgia coast.

A state of emergency now exists in Appling, Bacon, Bulloch, Clinch, Echols, Evans, Screven, Tattnall and Ware counties.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Washington D.C. is a long way from White County, Georgia. Sometimes, that distance means the needs of constituents can get lost amid partisan squabbles on Capitol Hill.

During the summer recess, 9th District Republican Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville) went back to his roots – and his district – to hear firsthand what north Georgia farmers say Congress can do to make their lives better.


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp and state emergency officials continue to urge coastal resident's east of Interstate 95 to evacuate inland, warning of strong winds, storm surge and flooding as Hurricane Dorian picks up speed and nears Georgia.

Gov. Brian Kemp discusses evacuations and emergency plans for Hurricane Dorian during a news conference Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, in Savannah.
Russ Bynum / AP

While the exact path Hurricane Dorian will take up the Atlantic coastline is uncertain, the message from Gov. Brian Kemp and other state officials remains the same: if you live on the coast, evacuate.

About 400,000 Georgians who live east of I-95 are under mandatory evacuation orders as the storm looming off the Florida coast continues its slow churn.

David Goldman / AP Photo/File

The news that U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) will resign his seat at the end of 2019 sent shockwaves through the political landscape in Georgia, as leaders on both sides of the aisle reflect on his decades-long legacy and look ahead to how his absence will shift electoral politics in the coming years.

His current term will not end until 2022, but the 74-year-old Republican said Wednesday that because of growing health concerns he has “concluded that [he] will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve.”


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Less than a year after losing the race to lead the Georgia State Senate, Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico has announced her campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Amico, who runs car-hauling business Jack Cooper Holdings, said in a campaign launch video that “these are times that test our faith,” and shared her vision to help “build a government as good as the people of Georgia” if elected.

“We need leaders who will renew our faith in America’s loftiest ideals,” she said.  


Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Two weeks after a pair of deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left 31 dead, a longstanding fundraiser at a gun range outside of Atlanta drew criticism – and record crowds.

At the 11th District Republican Party’s fifth annual marksmanship and barbecue event, conversation centered on the feeling that responsible, law-abiding gun owners were getting a bad rap when it comes to talking about gun control.


Georgia Secretary of State's OFfice

The secretary of state's office is reviewing a petition signed by more than 1,400 people asking for another, deeper look at the state's new voting system. 

The petition, delivered Monday morning, alleges several issues with the state's certification process of the Dominion Voting System, which includes ballot-marking devices, precinct-level scanners, electronic poll books and the election management system.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified the machines Aug. 9 after a third-party company tested the equipment "against the requirements set forth for voting systems by the Election Assistance Commission 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines and the State of Georgia."

Mike Stewart / AP

Federal Judge Amy Totenberg has ruled Georgia will use its outdated voting machines for one more election.  Then, it’s time for a change. 

Georgia is currently one of five states that relies on electronic voting machines, but officials are currently working to implement a new $107 million ballot-marking device system that includes touchscreen machines with a printed paper ballot component.

A lawsuit filed in 2017 says the current touchscreen direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting system is outdated, flawed, and insecure. The ultimate goal of the legal challenge is to move Georgia to hand-marked paper ballots, though Totenberg has denied that request for the last two years.


Andrew Harnik / AP

One day after a ruling was issued that requires Georgia to ditch its outdated touchscreen voting machines in 2020, a group of voters asked a federal judge to block the state from replacing it with a new $107 million ballot-marking device system.

Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg ordered the state to move to a paper ballot-based voting system after this fall’s municipal elections and to pilot hand-marked paper ballot voting in some elections this fall.

The new system selected by the secretary of state’s office satisfies that first order, as Dominion Voting Systems’ Image Cast X BMD combines a touchscreen tablet with a printer to produce a paper-based summary of a voter’s selection with a QR code that is then scanned and stored.

A federal judge has denied a request to move all of this fall's municipal elections in Georgia away from "unsecure, unreliable and grossly outdated technology" and toward hand-marked paper ballots that are optically scanned and counted.

Grant Blankenship/GPB

A federal judge has denied a request to move all of this fall’s municipal elections in Georgia away from “unsecure, unreliable and grossly outdated technology” and toward hand-marked paper ballots that are optically scanned and counted.

The order from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Totenberg Thursday also requires the state to cease using its direct-recording electronic voting machines after 2019 and expresses doubts about the state’s ability to roll out its new ballot-marking device system in time for the March 24, 2020, presidential primary election.

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