Become a Supporter
Become a Supporter
Capitol Bureau Chief
Ben first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool — and not necessarily by choice. His introduction to politics, on the other hand, came 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 reported on Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s historic election in 2008 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 CapRadio’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 Network (CPRN). He also hosted two podcasts during the 2018 campaign season: California’s Next Governor and Keys to the House.
October 30, 2019
The ballot measure filed yesterday by Uber, Lyft, Doordash and Instacart promises health care subsidies that — based on the campaign’s own comments at its news conference — very few of their drivers will receive.
October 29, 2019
“Gig economy” companies including Uber, Lyft and Doordash are proposing a November 2020 California ballot measure that gives their drivers new benefits but keeps them classified as independent contractors.
Retiring California State University Chancellor Says He's Leaving System ‘As Stable And Focused As Ever’
October 22, 2019
CSU Chancellor Timothy White announced his retirement Tuesday, saying he’ll step down at the end of June after serving more than seven years.
Lawmakers, Advocacy Groups Explore Replacement For California Channel After Cable Industry Shuts It Down
October 16, 2019
After 25 years of broadcasting the California Legislature’s floor sessions and committee hearings, the state’s version of C-SPAN has gone dark.
Latino Arrest Rate Disparity In California Has Almost Disappeared, But African-American Disparity Drops Only Slightly
October 15, 2019
California’s racial disparities in arrests are getting smaller, but a new report says African-Americans and Latinos are still more likely to be arrested than whites.
The Desk Is Clear: Gov. Gavin Newsom Signs Bills His Predecessor Didn’t, Vetoes Pricey Effort To Fund Affordable Housing
October 13, 2019
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has cleared his desk for the year after acting on hundreds of bills over the weekend, signing several measures that failed in previous years while issuing more than 100 veto messages.
October 10, 2019
This week's power shutoffs are prompting lots of frustration and hard questions for California's investor-owned utilities — especially bankrupt Pacific Gas and Electric. For example: Isn’t there any possible alternative?
October 9, 2019
With power outages poised to spread to 7 percent of his state’s population, California Governor Gavin Newsom is both supporting electric utilities’ decisions to turn the lights off and criticizing Pacific Gas and Electric.
October 7, 2019
Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that places a $15 billion school facilities bond on next year’s primary ballot, setting himself apart from his predecessor, who labeled the November 2016 school bond “a blunderbuss effort.”
October 2, 2019
California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris has seen her support plummet in her home state’s Democratic presidential primary in recent weeks, while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is surging.