Ben Philpott Reporter

Ben Philpott is a senior reporter for KUT-FM, Austin's National Public Radio affiliate. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002, during which time he has been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Houston Press Club and the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Recent Contributions

Lt. Gov. Candidates Spar in Dallas Debate

Clockwise, the four GOP Candidates for Lt. Gov.: incumbent David Dewhurst, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples; Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.
Clockwise, the four GOP Candidates for Lt. Gov.: incumbent David Dewhurst, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples; Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.

The four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor took on end-of-life issues, border security and, of course, one another in an hour-long debate in Dallas. 

Runoff for Austin-Area House Seat Draws Near

Voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas
Voting precinct at the Parker Lane United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas

Election Day is right around the corner — at least for voters in one Travis County state House district. Democrat Celia Israel and Republican Mike VanDeWalle will face off Jan. 28 in a special election runoff to succeed retiring Rep. Mark Strama.

Fast-Food Strikes Put Spotlight on Minimum Wage Debate

Texas fast-food workers are planning to join a nationwide strike on Thursday to call for $15-an-hour wages. Recently, there have been similar strikes in cities across the country. This one was in Milwaukee.
Texas fast-food workers are planning to join a nationwide strike on Thursday to call for $15-an-hour wages. Recently, there have been similar strikes in cities across the country. This one was in Milwaukee.

Fast-food workers walked off the job in several Texas cities on Thursday as part of a national strike calling for higher wages. But proposals to raise the minimum wage face uncertain odds in Washington and even longer odds in Texas.

GOP Push to Loosen Gun Laws May Rankle Law Enforcement

“Come and Take It San Antonio!” gun rights rally at The Alamo, San Antonio, Oct. 19, 2013.
“Come and Take It San Antonio!” gun rights rally at The Alamo, San Antonio, Oct. 19, 2013.

Top GOP candidates in Texas have been burnishing their Second Amendment credentials by expressing support for looser gun laws. But Republicans' efforts could put them at odds with law enforcement groups.

Legal Battle Likely to Keep Abortion in Spotlight Through 2014

Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott at their respective announcements for governor of Texas.
Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott at their respective announcements for governor of Texas.

A federal judge's decision this week to block parts of Texas' strict new abortion law was just the first step in a legal battle that could drag on for months, or even years, meaning that the courtroom drama will play out against the 2014 governor's race.

For Winner of HD-50 Race, a Head Start in the Lege

The chamber of the Texas House
The chamber of the Texas House

Whoever wins the House District 50 special election in Travis County next month will have to start campaigning all over again for the March primary. But the victor will enter the race next year with a key advantage: four months of incumbency.

On November Ballot, Property Tax Relief for Military Families

Service members and their families from Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, participate in the Veterans Day parade in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 6, 2010.
Service members and their families from Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, participate in the Veterans Day parade in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 6, 2010.

Two of the nine constitutional propositions on the ballot in Texas this November will lower property taxes for disabled veterans or a surviving spouse. 

Texas Democrats Waiting for Davis Before Deciding on 2014

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth, listens to an explanation of the Senate rules during the second special session on July 1, 2013.
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth, listens to an explanation of the Senate rules during the second special session on July 1, 2013.

On the latest Agenda Texas, from KUT News and the Tribune: Democratic activists aren’t the only ones waiting for state Sen. Wendy Davis to reveal whether she's running for governor. So are potential statewide Democratic candidates.