Ben Bradford

Reporter

Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

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For Republican leaders, perhaps the biggest nightmare scenario in the presidential race is not Donald Trump winning their party’s nomination, but him losing, and then running in the general election—and siphoning off Republican votes—as an independent. To prevent that in the Carolinas, GOP leaders could look to election laws known as “sore loser” provisions.

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

Changes to North Carolina’s unemployment benefits today passed the first of two required votes in the state Senate. The bill raises a key requirement for those using benefits to remain on them.

Belk, Inc.

After more than a century as a family-owned department store chain, Belk has agreed to sell to a New York-based private equity firm later this year for about $3 billion.

Started as a single store in Monroe in 1888, Belk now has 296 stores in 16 states.

Courtesy of the city and candidates

Charlotte’s most recently elected mayors have had quite the trajectory—to the governor’s mansion, U.S. Cabinet, and federal prison. In total, the city has gone through five mayors in as many years. This year, six Democratic candidates are vying for the office.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

The next mayor of Charlotte will get an annual salary of $23,000, an expense account worth up to $14,800 and an office atop the Government Center with truly spectacular views of the city. Obviously these are nice perks, but hardly the reason eight candidates are running to be mayor of the city.

So, ahead of the elections this fall (primaries are September 15 and the general election is on November 3), we invited all declared candidates to sit down for a one-on-one interview about why they want to be mayor and what they would do if elected. Six of the eight candidates said yes.

We asked each some stock questions - think streetcar, toll lanes, city budget and the like in order to give you a fair comparison on their views of likely campaign issues. And we sprinkled in some questions specific to each candidate. You can listen to all of them below.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

The North Carolina Senate does not like the Obama administration’s sweeping new rule to limit carbon emissions from power plants. The Senate voted Wednesday to restrict state compliance with the law and to sue the administration.   

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, along with many Republican governors, opposes the carbon rule taking effect and has said he plans a lawsuit. The Senate bill requires one.

In the meantime, it orders state environment officials not to take the first step of the rule, developing a plan for cutting carbon emissions by about a third.

pat mccrory
Governor's office

Republican administrations across the country have opposed the Obama administration’s plan to regulate carbon emissions since it was first announced, and North Carolina is no exception. 


WFAE

In this episode, the trio of WFAE's Greg Collard, Lisa Worf and Ben Bradford discuss lawmakers' tardiness in approving a state budget and the uncertainty that's giving school districts. The Charlotte area finally meets a federal ozone standard, but probably not for long. Plus, we discuss our upcoming coverage of the Charlotte mayor's race and a package of candidate interviews that we're calling The 15th Floor.


2014 Mecklenburg County State of the Environment Report

Charlotte’s air quality no longer violates federal standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says ozone readings now meet levels consistent with its 2008 rule. However, the improved rating may not last long.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

Charlotte’s City Council approved a slew of new spending measures at Monday night’s council meeting, including another $20 million for upgrades at Bank of America stadium—the second of three installments the city agreed to in 2013. 

Council members also agreed to subsidize the NBA All-Star Game in 2017 to the tune of $3 million—half the event’s projected cost.

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