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 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.
September 30, 2019
Dotson Wilson is retiring after nearly 40 years as a Capitol staffer, including 27 years as the chamber’s first ever African American chief clerk and parliamentarian. Here’s his CapRadio exit interview.
September 25, 2019
A millionaire who conquered the trillion-dollar tech industry last year by forcing new consumer privacy protections into California law is mounting a new effort aimed at next year’s ballot.
Interview: Former California Gov. Jerry Brown Launches Climate Change Institute With China, UC Berkeley
September 23, 2019
The institute, a partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing, will focus on research and training initiatives, as well as cultivating a dialogue” between researchers, scientists and public officials in both countries.
California Lawmakers Have Piled A Giant Stack Of Bills On Gov. Gavin Newsom's Desk. Here Are Some Of Them
September 14, 2019
California lawmakers adjourned for the year in the wee hours of Saturday morning, but not before sending hundreds of bills to Governor Gavin Newsom.
September 12, 2019
The bill setting new statewide “best practices” and training for officers is linked to the law signed last month that raises the legal standard for when police can use deadly force from “reasonable” to “necessary.”
September 10, 2019
Companies such as Uber and Lyft have been seeking a way to keep their workers classified as contractors instead of employees. But legislation to address worker misclassification moved forward Tuesday night without exemptions covering them.
September 10, 2019
A rent cap deal between tenant advocates, business groups and the California Apartment Association has passed the state Senate on a party-line vote. But it’s not yet clear if it has the votes to pass the Assembly.