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

How Does the Texas Economy Stack Up — Really?

Rick Perry asserts the Texas economy is one of the strongest in the nation. Bill White eagerly points out what he says are the problems the governor conveniently overlooks. Who's right? Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune looks at how we stack up compared to other states — and our own history.

Counties Worry Cuts Lead to Unfunded Mandates

State lawmakers facing an estimated $18 billion budget shortfall will soon wield their knives, but who or what will sustain deep cuts? As Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, county officials are among those waiting to see how the legislative slice-and-dice could affect things back home — and they're particularly nervous about unfunded mandates.

Harris County Election Plans Unclear After Fire

Harris County — home to the largest city in Texas — will be without all 10,000 of its voting machines on Election Day after they were destroyed in a fire. County commissioners held an emergency meeting this week to figure out how to move forward. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune has this report.

Democrats Balk at Cuts to Food Stamp Program

Last week, Republicans loudly complained about a just-approved bill that would send $830 million in federal education funds to Texas with strings attached. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, Democrats have their own reason to balk.

Perry and White Separately Speak to Broadcasters

Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic challenger, Bill White, appeared on the same stage in Austin on Thursday. But anyone itching for a debate between the two was disappointed. The candidates were separated on the schedule by other speakers and were never even in the room at the same time. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune filed this report.

The Texas Tribune Weekly TribCast: Ep 41

Ben, Ross, Evan and Matt talk about President Obama's visit to Texas and who didn't want to be seen with him, the battle over strings attached to federal education money, Bill White's donor-appointees and the legal and political definitions of residency.

Doggett Forces State's Hand on Ed Spending

The U.S. House has passed a bill on Tuesday that is expected to send about $800 million to bolster the state’s education budget. But thanks to an amendment added by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, the funding comes with Texas-specific strings attached. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune has this report.

President Obama Will Raise Money, Hackles in Texas

A screenshot from a web ad by Gov. Rick Perry's campaign.
A screenshot from a web ad by Gov. Rick Perry's campaign.

President Obama is coming to Austin and Dallas on Monday. He'll make a stop on the University of Texas campus to deliver a speech before throngs of supporters — and, no doubt, protesters. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, the main focus of his trip is green, not burnt orange.

Court Hears Case Involving UT Admissions Policy

A panel of federal judges will hear arguments today for and against the University of Texas at Austin’s race-based admissions system, which the school has used for decades as part of what its "holistic" admissions program. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

Hispanic Student Leaders Talk About Party Efforts

Students at LBJ School's Subiendo: The Academy for Rising Leaders.
Students at LBJ School's Subiendo: The Academy for Rising Leaders.
For the final part of his three-part series, Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune sat down with Hispanic student leaders to find out whether Texas Democrats and Republicans can attract first-time voters in November.

Texas Democrats Push to Increase Hispanic Turnout

The Hispanic vote in Texas is often referred to as a "sleeping giant" because of historically low turnout. If Hispanics were to show up at the ballot box in record numbers, they could easily influence elections of all kinds. In part two of his three-part series, Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports on the efforts of state Democrats to sound the alarm.