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WCNC Charlotte's Flashpoint

News & Politics Podcasts

Each week, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson moderates a conversation with newsmakers and community leaders about politics in Charlotte - and across North Carolina and South Carolina.

Each week, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson moderates a conversation with newsmakers and community leaders about politics in Charlotte - and across North Carolina and South Carolina.


United States


Each week, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson moderates a conversation with newsmakers and community leaders about politics in Charlotte - and across North Carolina and South Carolina.






US Supreme Court to hear NC case that could have 'catastrophic' results

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson talks with Tom Wolf, deputy director in the democracy program at the Brenner Center about the upcoming Moore v. Harper case being heard in US Supreme Court. At issue, "independent state legislature theory", an controversial legal theory that suggests state legislatures have the final say on federal election laws. Critics of the theory argue it undermines America's history of three separate branches of co-equal government, all for...


Concord, Gastonia officials look toward explosive growth in 2023

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC's Ben Thompson talks with Concord Mayor Bill Dusch about the explosive growth expected in the coming year. Concord is now the tenth-largest city in North Carolina. It's attracted big-name companies recently including Red Bull and Eli Lilly that will bring more than 2,000 high-paying jobs. It's a far cry from where city leaders found themselves when Phillip Morris shut down and 2,500 jobs nearly fifteen years ago. Later, Ben talks with Gastonia Mayor Pro Tem Dave...


What's on the NC House's 2023 legislative agenda?

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson is joined by NC House Speaker Tim Moore is discusses the House's legislative priorities following Tuesday's election. Medicaid expansion, long the source of disagreement among republicans and democrats, will be addressed early in the session, according to Moore. Currently, North Carolina is one of only twelve states that doesn't provide Medicaid expansion. Later, Ben talks with Catawba College politics Professor Michael Bitzer about...


2022 midterm election results

Ted Budd win NC’s open seat in the US Senate, Jeff Jackson wins US House District 14. Here's a closer look at key races in the Carolinas


Political polarization + what's at stake in the midterm elections

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompsons talks with Scott Huffmon, a Winthrop University professor, and Susan Roberts, a Davidson College professor. They're warning that the country's current political polarization will only get worse after Tuesday's midterm election. "I think we are in a pendulum swing right now. I think it may get worse before it gets better. But there's always the hope that the pendulum will swing back," Huffmon said. In recent years, US politics have...


Newly-created 14th Congressional District candidates on the upcoming election

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC's Jane Monreal talks all things 14th Congressional District with candidates Democratic state Senator Jeff Jackson and Republican businessman Pat Harrigan. Both candidates are veterans who served in Afghanistan, and they discuss their reasons to run for office. Harrigan says his reasons for going into politics stem from having a family. The former Green Beret said, "My wife and I have two little girls. And we're very concerned about what kind of America they're...


1 teen loses consciousness after students exposed to unknown substance on school bus - Oct. 28, 2022

Students and staff were taken off of a bus in Lancaster County after authorities say they were exposed to an unknown chemical substance. According to a release, first responders were called to Indian Land High School around 5:12 p.m. on Wednesday for students exposed to a chemical substance. A 14-year-old female student lost consciousness at the scene while other students experienced symptoms of exposure. An EMS worker also experienced symptoms at the scene. READ MORE:...


A conversation with U.S. Senate candidates Budd and Beasley

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson is joined by Republican Congressman Ted Budd and former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. Both candidates are running to replace Richard Burr (R) in the U.S. Senate. In the interview with Budd, Thompson asked the senate candidate what his ideal abortion law would look like in light of Budd's co-sponsorship of a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks. Budd hinted that he does not support abortion in cases of rape or...


NC women outpacing men in voting by mail

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte Ben Thompson talks to Catawba College politics professor Michael Bitzer about trends emerge from absentee-by-mail voting. As of October 9, 55% of requested absentee ballots were from women and 38% were from men. "Women are making up substantial majorities of these early ballots," Bitzer said. Overall, absentee voting is outpacing the 2018 midterms, but behind the 2020 general election, which happened amid the COVID-19 pandemic. READ MORE:...


NC group working to get Hispanic voters to the polls

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC's Ben Thompsons talks to Lariza Garzon, director of North Carolina operations for the Hispanic Federation. For several months, the Hispanic Federation has been working to register Hispanic voters in North Carolina, ahead of November's midterm election. Garzon estimates there are 400,000 Latinos in North Carolina who are eligible to vote, but only 60% are registered. "We've been going to places where the community frequents, like supermarkets, the Hispanic...


NC officials addressing mental health

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson speaks to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Lt. Joan Gallant on how the department is addressing mental health-related calls in Charlotte. In 2019, CMPD launched a Community Policing Crisis Response Team. The team was created to respond to 911 calls that involve mental health issues, that aren't necessarily criminal matters. "Police services include any host of things, not just answering a call that is regarding a crime....


Presidents Cup increases tourism in Charlotte

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC's Ben Thompson talks to CRVA CEO Tom Murray about the lasting impact of the Presidents Cup on Charlotte. More than most other recent events, the Presidents Cup is bringing more attention to Charlotte as a world-class travel destination, Murray tells WCNC. It comes as Charlotte is emerging as a post-pandemic destination for leisure travel, after years of being a city famous for business travel. "The leisure side of the recovery happened first and quite frankly,...


Addressing Charlotte's transit plan with CATS CEO

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson talks to CATS CEO John Lewis on the transit system's challenges and its long-term plan. Amid union negotiations this summer, CATS struggled with staffing shortages that lead to service delays and subsequent schedule changes for riders. According to CATS, the private contractor that manages the agency's operations has reached a tentative deal with its union. Amid the recent problems, Charlotte leaders are looking to expand transit and...


NC bipartisan group promises secure elections

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson talks to former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and former N.C. Supreme Court Judge Bob Orr about the North Carolina Trusted Elections Tour, which is working to restore faith in our election system. It's a pilot program created by the Carter Center in North Carolina and several other states. The group is holding town halls in the state's fourteen congressional districts this fall, touting the integrity of the state's elections. In...


Issues facing the newest members of Charlotte City Council

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC's Ben Thompson talks to outgoing Charlotte city council member Larken Egleston and current city council member Tariq Bokhari about the passage of the UDO and Affordable Housing. Later, Ben continues his conversation with outgoing Charlotte city councilmember Larken Egleston and current city council member Tariq Bokhari about transit. Charlotte City Council is also slated to welcome a new city council on Tuesday, September 6 during a swearing-in ceremony. The new...


Back to School woes in Charlotte

This week, students and educators across the Charlotte area return to school. WCNC's Ben Thompson spoke to a CMS teacher and a district board member about the start of a new school year. They worry this year's pay raise may not be enough to keep and retain teachers. "A lot of our veteran teachers are still struggling because their pay raise is smaller. The pay raise is heavily weighted at the earlier entry points for teachers and the newer teachers," Cheek said. Longtime teachers like Justin...


Celebrating 20 years of Charlotte Pride

On this week's episode of Flashpoint, WCNC's Ben Thompson talks with Clark Simon, the President of Charlotte Pride about why holding pride in Charlotte remains more relevant than ever. Charlotte Pride returned this weekend after a two-year hiatus, and organizers say its message of diversity and acceptance for the LGBTQ community has never resonated more. Recent rulings from the US Supreme Court, including the reversal of federal abortion rights, have led some in the LGBTQ+ community to worry...


Discussing Charlotte's Q2 growth

This week on Flashpoint is all about growth. WCNC Charlotte's Ben Thompson talks to Kelly O'Brien, the Chief Advocacy and Strategy Officer for the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance about the alliance’s Q2 Growth Report. Later, Ben talks to North Carolina Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall about the growth of new businesses in NC over the second quarter. All of this and more on Flashpoint, only on WCNC Charlotte.


Addressing monkeypox, COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County

This week on Flashpoint, WCNC's Ben Thompson talks to Mecklenburg County Health Director, Dr. Raynard Washington about the county’s response to monkeypox. Mecklenburg County still has a long waitlist for those who want the Monkeypox vaccine, despite a shipment of 2,000 doses earlier this week. But there's good news. Washington said he expects his department will be receiving routine shipments of the vaccine going forward. Ben and Dr. Washington later address the latest with COVID in...


Post-election decisions

On this week's episode of Flashpoint, less than one after Charlotte's general election, WCNC's Ben Thompson talks to Charlotte city councilwoman, Dimple Ajmera about her win on Tuesday and about being the night’s top vote-getter. Later, Ben talks to Charlotte city councilman, Tariq Bokhari about his win on Tuesday and what’s next. Before a new city council is sworn in in September, Charlotte's current council has one remaining heavy lift on their agenda: a vote on the city's Unified...