Capitol Bureau Chief
While Ben first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool -- not necessarily by choice -- his introduction to politics might have come as a freshman at Northwestern University, near Chicago. The infamous Cook County Democratic machine asked him to register to vote. He declined, saying he was already registered to vote back home in California. "That's okay," he was told. "You can register here too!"
Ben made his radio debut (and blatant early mistakes) at Northwestern University's student radio station, WNUR. There, he spent much of his time broadcasting sports; an internship at Chicago Public Radio gradually helped bring him over from the "dark side." He spent the summer of 2003 broadcasting Minor League Baseball in Great Falls, Montana, before turning full-time to public radio. After several years covering the Monterey Bay Area for NPR member station KAZU, he joined Capital Public Radio in August 2007.
Since then, Ben has reported on the 2008 Sacramento Mayor's Race and won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for his continuing coverage of Sacramento's homeless "tent city" along the American River. After stints as a local reporter and All Things Considered host, Ben moved to Capital Public Radio's Capitol Bureau in February 2011, where his love of politics made him a natural fit. Now, as Capitol Bureau Chief, he oversees coverage of California politics and government, which is distributed to NPR stations across the state through Capital Public Radio's California Capitol Network (CCN).
By the way, Ben is registered in California -- and only in California -- as a "decline-to-state" voter.