When Wake County Commissioner John Burns won office in 2014, he and his colleagues were a bright blue spot in an otherwise bad year for Democrats. Then, months after his swearing in, he found out just how badly Republican state lawmakers wanted the commission red again.

Urban Democrats in local government vs. rural Republicans in the General Assembly: it’s a simplified view of state politics that explains a lot – including HB2. Burns is well aware of the urban-rural tension. But he insists that growth is not a zero-sum game.

“We’re not interested in stealing jobs from other parts of the state. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re trying to bring jobs to North Carolina that spin-off effects for the rest of the state.”

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