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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.
August 19, 2019
Nearly a year and a half after Sacramento police shot and killed Stephon Clark, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Monday that changes the legal use of force standard from “reasonable” to “necessary.”
August 15, 2019
One of the most expensive political fights in California history could be headed for the November 2020 ballot: a property tax increase that could raise $10 billion a year for schools, community colleges and local governments.
Could California Efforts To Maintain Obama-era Environmental Rules, Enact Rent Caps Succeed This Year? State Senate Leader Is Optimistic.
August 15, 2019
California Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins spoke with CapRadio about her proposal to put Obama-era environmental rules into state law, plus the possibility of action at the Capitol on tenant protections and new rules for gig economy workers.
California Senate Leader: ‘Gig Economy’ Deal Likely Won’t Be Included In ‘Dynamex’ Bill Expected To Pass This Year
August 14, 2019
Sen. Toni Atkins says she expects the Legislature’s efforts to “strike a balance” between companies and labor unions on whether gig economy workers should be classified as employees will continue beyond when lawmakers adjourn next month.
August 12, 2019
As children head back to school, California lawmakers are back in session for five final weeks of work before adjourning next month. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon sat down to preview the big debates with CapRadio’s Ben Adler.
This California Agency Already Regulates PG&E, Uber, AT&T, Trains, Buses — And Now Wildfire Safety. Is That Too Much?
August 7, 2019
Californians spend $50 billion a year on services regulated by the state’s powerful, obscure Public Utilities Commission: electricity, phones, even buses and trains. Now, a new law adds wildfire safety inspections of electric equipment to that list.
August 2, 2019
Researchers at Stanford University and the Public Policy Institute of California are taking into account cost of living and resources available from social safety net programs when determining poverty rates.
Nearly All The Fire Prevention Projects Fast-Tracked By Gov. Gavin Newsom Are Less Than Half Complete
July 29, 2019
California fire season is in full swing, but the priority fire prevention projects that Gov. Gavin Newsom called for earlier this year are nearly all works in progress.
California Bail Industry's Latest Effort To Stay In Business? Ask Voters For Constitutional Protection.
July 17, 2019
The battle over whether the state should eliminate cash bail is moving toward a double-barreled showdown at the ballot box.
California Lawmakers Are Working On The Friday After Independence Day. If They Didn’t, They’d Lose $804 Each.
July 4, 2019
You might not be working Friday, but California lawmakers are. They’re expected to vote on the final pieces of the state budget package. They’re also coming to collect expense money known as “per diem.”