Ben Bradford


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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North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina Senate leaders are gearing up for another budget battle with their counterparts in the state House and Governor Pat McCrory, even before releasing an actual budget document.

News that state environment officials were drilling near the Dan River last week to look for oil and gas caused a stir. One headline read: “North Carolina Wants To Frack In Small Town Already Struggling With Coal Ash.”

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

North Carolina Senate leaders have unveiled their new plan to overhaul how the state distributes sales taxes and provides tax incentives to businesses. It gives a bit of ground from a March proposal that drew outcries from the governor, House lawmakers, the Charlotte Chamber, and city officials, but still contains the key elements of that earlier proposal. That includes a big hit to Mecklenburg County’s budget. 

Ben Bradford / WFAE

A former Charlotte Bobcats executive has a plan for soccer in Charlotte. He wants to spend  millions on a minor league team—started this year—with the goal of growing a fan base of thousands and ultimately getting absorbed into the major league. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Some other cities have done just that in a matter of years.

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

The process of legislating typically looks more like C-SPAN and less like ‘House of Cards,’ or other TV dramatizations of Washington. But the rules that govern Congress or the North Carolina General Assembly are both dense and malleable—occasionally you’ll see legislators exploit them in a way that seems made for TV. Below are some recent examples from the North Carolina Senate.

The deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police in cities around the country has once again created a national question about how police interact with the minority communities they serve.  In Charlotte, which experienced its own high-profile police killing two years ago, city officials unveiled their answer last night, in the form of a new “civil liberties policy.” It won cautious approval from both police and community groups.

Thomas Kohler / Flickr

The biggest companies in tech want top North Carolina lawmakers to back away from changing the state’s renewable energy laws. They join the solar energy industry and environmental advocates in their opposition to legislation that’s nearly reached the governor’s desk.


Greg, Lisa and Ben talk Governor McCrory's vetoes of the "Ag-Gag" bill and legislation that lets magistrates opt out of performing same-sex marriages. Charlotte City Council will soon decide whether to pass a local civil rights ordinance. And,  a litte about our new series, Block by Block.

Hours after the North Carolina House of Representatives passed the legislation, Governor Pat McCrory announced he will veto a bill that would allow magistrates to opt out of performing marriages for same-sex couples. But lawmakers may have the votes to override that veto.

Ben Bradford / WFAE

Charlotte's city council will not shift local taxes and fees toward businesses as much as City Manager Ron Carlee proposed. The council and city staff have spent the past two months debating how to fill a $22 million hole in the city’s budget. That hole comes mostly from lost business taxes, after lower property reappraisals and the loss of a business license tax.