Defend democracy in the South.

Sue Sturgis

Editorial Director

Sue joined the Institute in November 2005 as director of Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch, a project to document and investigate the post-Katrina recovery. A former staff writer for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Independent Weekly in Durham, North Carolina, Sue directs and writes for the Institute's online magazine, Facing South, with a focus on energy and environmental issues. She was the first journalist to be awarded the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters' Catalyst Award for her commitment to educating the public about important environmental issues.

Sue has authored or co-authored numerous Institute reports, including "Life After BP" (2011), "Faith in the Gulf" (2008), "Hurricane Katrina and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement" (2008) and "Blueprint for Gulf Renewal" (2007). Her work has also appeared in other publications including The American Prospect, The Progressive, and Salon. Sue holds a master's degree in journalism from New York University and a bachelor's in social work from Penn State.

Email Sue

Articles by Sue

INSTITUTE INDEX: Rick Perry's oily plans for an authoritarian America

January 6, 2022 - A text sent to the Trump White House the day after the 2020 election outlining a strategy to have the Supreme Court decide the outcome of the presidential race reportedly came from the phone of former Energy Secretary and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Championing the election's overthrow didn't dim Perry's job prospects, though: He resigned his Trump administration post that December and the following month became a director for the general partner of Energy Transfer, the Dallas-based pipeline company led by billionaire Trump backer and longtime Perry associate Kelcy Warren, whose interests Perry profitably championed in Washington.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Why the DOJ sued Texas over its new voting maps

December 10, 2021 - In its first lawsuit to come out of the latest round of redistricting, the U.S. Department of Justice has taken aim at Texas, arguing that the GOP legislature's new election district maps violate the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against voters by race or color. We look at some of the numbers cited in the lawsuit, which faces an uphill fight in the new legal landscape created by the Supreme Court's 2013 decision gutting the landmark civil rights-era law.

INSTITUTE INDEX: How Build Back Better would transform dirty rural electric systems

December 1, 2021 - Born of the New Deal's anti-poverty initiatives, rural electric cooperatives today serve 42 million Americans, most in the South, Midwest, and Great Plains. They still depend heavily on coal, but the $1.8 trillion spending bill passed by the House has a provision giving billions of dollars to speed their transition to renewables. Will it survive corporate Democrats' obstructionism in the Senate?

INSTITUTE INDEX: An opening for change at the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service

November 19, 2021 - The term of Ron Bloom, chair of the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors, ends on Dec. 8, and hundreds of public-interest organizations are urging President Biden to replace him. They object to his support for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee embroiled in numerous controversies over service cuts, financial conflicts of interest, wage theft, and a pattern of questionable campaign contributions at his former North Carolina-based logistics company.

INSTITUTE INDEX: The slow move toward 'forever chemical' regulation

October 27, 2021 - After being pressed for decades by environmental health advocates, the EPA recently announced a plan to regulate toxic PFAS chemicals widely used in consumer products, from non-stick cookware to dental floss. But the FDA still hasn't banned the cancer-causing substances from fast-food wrappers and containers, and Southern states have been reluctant to take action on their own.

Libel case over North Carolina voter fraud lies moves forward

October 15, 2021 - The N.C. Court of Appeals recently rejected a request from the Pat McCrory Committee Defense Fund and the law firm Holtzman Vogel to throw out a libel suit filed against them for falsely accusing voters of committing fraud in the 2016 election. After the former Republican governor narrowly lost to Democrat Roy Cooper that year, McCrory's campaign and its legal agents worked to sow doubt about the election's integrity — a strategy taken to new levels by Donald Trump following his 2020 loss to Joe Biden.