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.
December 3, 2019
The Senate and Assembly have released data on sexual harassment allegations for 2018 in response to a CapRadio public records request. But they’re declining to share the same data since the Legislature’s new investigative unit launched in February.
November 17, 2019
The state moved its primary up from June to March, with backers hoping for more sway in presidential primaries. But to some of the people who attended this weekend’s California Democratic Party convention in Long Beach, the jury’s still out.
November 15, 2019
The other two frontrunners, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, are on the speaker list. So is California Sen. Kamala Harris, who’s seen her poll numbers drop in her home state as well as nationally.
Opponents Of 'Split Roll' Property Tax Ballot Measure Accuse California Attorney General Of Rigging The System
November 12, 2019
Backers of the measure to roll back Proposition 13 tax protections for commercial and industrial properties have started gathering voter signatures — with a new advantage that has opponents crying foul.
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.