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

Bunning Blocks Federal Health Insurance Benifits

U.S. Senator Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky, is blocking a federal spending bill that could keep some unemployed Texans from getting extended benefits, including subsidies for health insurance. Bunning wants lawmakers to make budget cuts elsewhere before passing the bill, which would also pay for transportation projects. Ben Philpott filed this report for KUT News and the Tribune.

Does Enterprise Fund Help Rick Perry Re-election

Facebook is opening up a satellite office in Austin — the first one in Texas for the California-based social media giant. The move, which will create 200 jobs, was sealed with $1.4 million from Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund. The governor on Thursday also announced 100 new jobs for the small town of Cuero, thanks again to the TEF. Ben Philpott, who's covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune and KUT News, reports on how the job-creating fund can be a pretty effective campaign tool as well.

Texas House District 47 Race Preview

This southwest Travis County district includes some of the area's most affluent suburbs but has also been home to some headline-making white-collar job cutbacks. State Rep. Valinda Bolton, D-Austin, first won here in 2006 and was narrowly re-elected in 2008. Ben Philpott, reporting for KUT News and the Tribune, looks at the three Republicans competing to challenge her in the fall.

Debra Medina Supporters After 9/11 Gaff

On Monday, I tagged along with GOP gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina on the campaign trail. Despite the controversy over 9/11 truthers that momentarily upended her momentum more than a week ago, her strongest supporters remain with her.

Debra Medina Pushes to Win TX Governor's Race

February 21, 2010. Debra Medina, flanked by supporters at an event at Texas Pride BBQ in Adkins, TX.
February 21, 2010. Debra Medina, flanked by supporters at an event at Texas Pride BBQ in Adkins, TX.

With only a week to go before the GOP primary for governor, Debra Medina is pressing forward with her insurgent candidacy — despite the controversy over 9/11 truthers that temporarily upended her campaign. Her core supporters remain strongly with her, unfazed by and miffed at the media's scrutiny. How the whole thing ends is anyone's guess. Ben Philpott, covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, spent Monday on the trail with Medina and her flock and filed this report.

Gay Couple Challenges Texas Marriage Ban

A same-sex couple, married in Massachusetts but now living in Travis County, has been granted a divorce by a state district judge. It's the second time in five months that a same-sex divorce has been granted in Texas — and also the second time that Attorney General Greg Abbott has moved to block such an action. Ben Philpott, who's covering politics and policy for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

GOP Activists Hit Campaign Trail With 2 Weeks Left

The start of early voting marks the beginning of the final two-week sprint for candidates — and also, in the case of the GOP primary, for activists pushing propositions on the ballot that define the party's stance on a series of hot-button issues. Ben Philpott, who's covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

Debra Medina Stumbles With 9/11 Truther Statements

Debra Medina, the upstart GOP candidate for governor, is in damage-control mode since last Thursday's flap over her statements on the 9/11 attacks. Campaigns have always had to deal with putting out fires, but this one is different — one of the first in Texas in which social media sites like Twitter fanned the flames. Ben Philpott, who's covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

TX Lawmakers Look For More Revenue in Sales Taxes

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is holding a public hearing today to present proposed cuts to its budget and to hear feedback. The five-percent reductions are in response to a request for state agenices to slash costs in light of a projected multibillion-dollar state budget shortfall. Ben Philpott, who's covering Texas politics and policy for KUT News and the Tribune, says lawmakers have also started looking for ways to increase revenues.

Bill White & Farouk Shami Debate

The leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated last night in Fort Worth. Bill White and Farouk Shami tried to highlight their differences and to give voters a reason why they should consider electing a governor from their party for the first time in 20 years. Ben Philpott, covering the 2010 elections for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.

How Does Obama Budget Affect Texas Economy

What happens in Washington doesn't stay in Washington. Lawmakers, industry leaders and special interest groups are studying President Obama’s 2010 budget to figure out how spending cuts and other changes at the federal level could impact Texas. Ben Philpott, who's covering politics and public policy for KUT News and the Tribune, filed this report.