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.

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Articles by Sue

How Art Pope's money shaped UNC's toxic debate over Nikole Hannah-Jones

July 16, 2021 - Long before journalist Hannah-Jones' tenure fight with the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, the influential conservative policy network built and funded by millionaire businessman and GOP power broker Art Pope had turned its attention to her reporting on racism with attacks and distortions reminiscent of its dishonest treatment of climate science. Pope denied direct involvement in the tenure controversy, but his organizations' messaging carries weight in a UNC system where he's a major donor and serves on the powerful Board of Governors thanks to the Republican legislature he helped elect.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Debt relief is on the way for Black farmers

June 3, 2021 - Black farmers will start receiving their first payments this month under the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act. Sponsored by Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia, it was part of the latest COVID-19 stimulus and has been called the most significant legislation for Black farmers since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the Texas agriculture commissioner and former Trump adviser Stephen Miller are among those involved in lawsuits to halt the payments, arguing they're unfair to whites.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Democratic senator from Virginia blocking key pro-union bill

April 29, 2021 - Three Democratic members of the evenly divided U.S. Senate have so far refused to sign on to the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, legislation endorsed by President Biden that would provide stronger protections for workers trying to form a union. Among the naysayers is Mark Warner of Virginia, the Senate's second-richest member and a venture capitalist with a nine-figure estimated net worth.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Corporations' political money disconnect on transgender rights

April 9, 2021 - A growing number of companies are publicly condemning discrimination against transgender people and taking steps to support trans employees. But some of the same businesses are also funding Southern politicians promoting policies harmful to the transgender community. One standout is AT&T, the telecom giant headquartered in Dallas — also the top corporate contributor to state lawmakers seeking to restrict voting rights.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Climate watchdogs challenge Duke Energy's polluting 15-year plan

March 8, 2021 - Relying heavily on fracked gas, the North Carolina utility giant's proposal faces challenges from environmentalists who say it would be a disaster for the climate, and from businesses that fear it will lead to big bills for unnecessary plants. The state's utility regulators will make the final decision, and they're holding a virtual hearing on March 16 to take comments from the public.