Stephen Fowler


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.

Grant Blankenship | GPB News

The state House passed an amended budget for the current 2019 fiscal year.

The so-called “little budget” updates spending through June 30 and passed with only 8 "no" votes.

It’s been another busy week in Georgia politics.  Gov. Brian Kemp has just announced his intention to seek a Medicaid waiver from the federal government.  Meanwhile, legislators are a quarter of the way through the session.  They’re tackling issues ranging from the $27.5 billion budget to offshore drilling and its effect on the coast.

GPB Politics Reporter Stephen Fowler offered his weekly recap to “On Second Thought” listeners.

A federal appeals court says a lawsuit over the state's outdated election system can continue.

The 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a ruling Thursday that said that it did not have the jurisdiciton to hear the state's assertion the two groups of plaintiffs had standing to file suit, and that the state was not immune from being sued in this particular case.

Left, Doug Mills / Right, Pool Image / Associated Press

President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress last night. The message began with calls for bipartisan unity but took a sharp turn to rebuke investigations of his administration. He then continued with calls for his signature issues: immigration and a border wall. Following the speech, all eyes were on Georgia, where former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic response from Atlanta.

GPB Politics Reporter Stephen Fowler recapped it all for “On Second Thought." He also discussed elements of the speeches that have real-world implications in Georgia.

Members of Georgia’s coastal delegation announced a pair of resolutions Wednesday that would protect the state’s 100 or so miles of coastline from offshore drilling – or even testing for it.


Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams became the first African-American woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union Tuesday night.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

It’s often called the worst job in politics, but for more than 50 years someone from the opposing party has delivered a response to the President’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. 

This time, it’s Stacey Abrams.


Attorneys for Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage are fighting to have him released from federal immigration custody and say the detention is to "unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him" into leaving the U.S.

26-year-old She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph has been held by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement since Sunday morning after they say he overstayed a visa and is actually a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Connor Carey / Wikimedia Commons

The third week of Georgia’s legislative session is now over. Lawmakers in the House and Senate have burned through seven out of 40 scheduled days.

It’s budget time at the capitol. State legislators have been hearing from state agencies that are pressing their needs for next year’s fiscal plan. GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler has kept a close watch on the action under the Gold Dome.  He stopped by “On Second Thought” for an update.


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

A bipartisan group of Georgia lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Former Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams will deliver remarks on behalf of Democrats following President Donald J. Trump's State of the Union address on Feb. 5.

Senate minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, and a representative from Abrams' camp confirmed with GPB News.

AP Photo/David Goldman

The National Weather Service canceled its winter weather advisory for all counties, but a wind chill advisory goes into effect from 2 to 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Screenshot | Governor's Office of Planning and Budget

Everyone has a budget, including the state government.

Over the course of three days and hours upon hours of hearings, the state house and senate appropriations committees heard from Gov. Brian Kemp and state agencies about the record $27.5 billion budget proposal which starts July 1.

Ezra Morris / GPB

The 2019 Session Joint Budget Hearings began at 10 a.m.

Lawmakers from the state house and state senate will hear from department heads and Gov. Brian Kemp about the proposed amended fiscal year 2019 budget and the fiscal year 2020 budget. 

It may not be the flashiest week at the state capitol, but it's one of the most important. 

Lawmakers will meet this week to go over the state's budget for the next fiscal year. 



It’s been a busy week in Georgia politics. The state has a new governor, and a new legislative session is underway in the state House and Senate. The 2018 “Year of the Woman” means the Georgia General Assembly now has a record number of female lawmakers, and they’re already making a splash. Female senators started the session by decrying their small number of committee chair assignments, most of which were doled out by male lawmakers.

GPB Politics Reporter Stephen Fowler has been under the gold dome covering the action and stopped by "On Second Thought" to provide a recap of the week.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Former Democratic nominee for governor Stacey Abrams is launching a statewide "Thank You" tour for her supporters. 

According to a press release, Abrams and her team will "take the time to thank volunteers and supporters who invested their time in her historic 2018 campaign."

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Just four days into office, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp delivered a State of the State speech to outline his legislative and budgetary priorities for the year.

Next year’s proposed budget will include pay raises for teachers and state employees. Kemp also used his first address to ask for an increase in mental health funding and the creation of an anti-gang taskforce.

John Bazemore / AP Photo/File

Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed budget for 2020 includes a $3,000 raise for certified Georgia teachers and a 2 percent merit raise for state employees. He made the announcement during his State of the State speech to legislators Thursday.


A bipartisan group of women in the state senate delivered blistering remarks Wednesday about the makeup of the chamber’s 27 standing committees, most of whom are led by men.

It’s the latest drama in the senate, which opened the week with a controversial rule change that limited the window someone could file a complaint about alleged sexual harassment from a senator or staffer.

Georgia Chamber

At the Georgia Chamber’s Eggs and Issues Breakfast Wednesday morning, state leaders signaled the upcoming legislative session would focus on economic issues like transit, education and developing rural Georgia.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said his first state budget would include a “historic and well-deserved pay raise” for teachers, following through on a campaign promise to boost the competitiveness of salaries for educators.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

State employees will have a new, unified way to report sexual harassment in the workplace thanks to an executive order signed Monday by Governor Brian Kemp.

Earlier that day, state senators changed their rules to limit the window of time someone could accuse a senator or Senate staffer of sexual harassment as well.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

At the Cathedral of St. Philip on Peachtree Road, soon-to-be governor Brian Kemp and his family attended a private prayer service Monday morning. Later that day, he would become the state's top official and make a promise to fight for all Georgians – “not just the ones that voted for [him.]”

But in the cavernous cathedral, Kemp was just another parishioner receiving words of encouragement.

GPB/ Grant Blankenship

Monday will be a very busy day in Georgia politics.

The state legislature will officially begin the 2019 session, which will include tackling the issues of new voting machines, oversight at Atlanta's aiport and medical marijuana.

Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp gives a thumbs-up to supporters, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Athens, Ga.
John Bazemore / AP Photo

Gov.-elect Brian Kemp is spending the final days before his inauguration traveling the state.

The “Georgians First" celebration tour will visit all corners of the state, including places in rural Georgia, such as Chula and Blakely.

Sean Powers / GPB News

A week before inauguration, Gov.-elect Brian Kemp has named 14 people who will serve on his senior leadership team. 

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Lawmakers and laymen alike huddled around stacks of paper and gleaming touchscreens to test potential replacements for Georgia’s aging touchscreen digital voting machines at the Georgia Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta on Thursday. 

Super Bowl 53 gets underway in less than one month. The action will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on February 3. Before the game and entertainment, the Super Bowl committee and the arts advocacy group, WonderRoot, are collaborating on murals to highlight the city’s civil rights and social justice legacy. The Off the Wall project seeks to elevate key stories from Atlanta’s pursuit of civil and human rights. Eleven muralists were chosen to create designs based on community conversations. GPB’s Ross Terrell and WonderRoot executive director Chris Appleton joined “On Second Thought” to discuss the Off the Wall initiative. 

Lucy McBath / Twitter

The 116th Congress convenes Thursday with many new faces, including Georgia Democrat Lucy McBath.

McBath narrowly defeated Republican Karen Handel in November to represent the 6th Congressional District north of Atlanta for the next two years. 

Wikimedia Commons

Now that it’s 2019, shopping online in Georgia will cost more.

Starting Jan. 1, online out-of-state sellers would have to either collect sales taxes on purchases or send “tax due” notes to people who spend at least $500. 

State and local governments could gain about $500 million a year in new tax revenue.

The law applies to companies with a gross yearly revenue of more than $250 million or those making 200 sales a year.

The change is the result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June allowing Georgia and other states to start collecting these taxes.