Ben Philpott

Senior Reporter, State Politics and Policy

Ben Philpott covers politics and policy for KUT. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002. He's been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and has been named Radio Journalist of the Year by the Houston Press club four times.

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.

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The Ticket
9:40 am
Fri June 19, 2015

The Ticket: Jeb Bush and Donald Trump Join the GOP Race

The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott record an episode of The Ticket.
KUT

This week on The Ticket: Two big name Republicans joined the 2016 primary field this week. We'll talk about Donald Trump and Jeb Bush with SiriusXM POTUS channel host Julie Mason. While Ben Philpott and Jay Root will take a deeper dive on the Bush announcement as they break down his speech on Stump Interrupted.

You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

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Politics
2:05 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

The Ticket: What Do GOP Voters Want to Hear?

Rick Perry delivers a speech to voters in Iowa at a 'Roast and Ride' event.
Ben Philpott/KUT

This week on The Ticket: So far, we've spent each week breaking down candidate speeches. This time, we're asking Republican voters in Iowa and South Carolina what they want to hear when they come to a stump speech. And we'll have an interview with Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.com about early polls in the 2016 election and how they affect who makes it to the GOP debates.

The Ticket, a weekly presidential podcast from KUT News and the Texas Tribune hosted by KUT's Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root, breaks down the week's campaign action and brings you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering or commenting on the political campaigns.

Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcast app.

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2016 Election
9:44 am
Tue June 9, 2015

How Will Perry's Indictment Play Among GOP Primary Voters?

Perry speaking before a crowd yesterday at the South Carolina Military Museum in Columbia.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Former Gov. Rick Perry wrapped up his first 2016 presidential campaign swing yesterday with a couple of stops in South Carolina.

The crowds he drew throughout the trip were eager to hear his ideas for border security and the economy, but one looming issue remained undiscussed: his felony indictment in his home state.

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2016 Election
11:53 am
Mon June 8, 2015

How Perry's Targeting the 'Three Essential Elements' of the Iowa Republican Party

Rick Perry speaks to Iowans at the Roast and Ride event in Boone, IA.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Today, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will hit his third state in three days with a couple of meet-and-greets in South Carolina – he was in Iowa and New Hampshire over the weekend – three states in which he performed poorly during his first presidential run in 2012.

This time, Perry’s hoping to piece together a coalition of voters in order to win the Iowa primary, but first he must appeal to the state's GOP base.

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2016 Election
8:44 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

In Iowa, Perry Looks to Reintroduce Himself

Rick Perry begins a bike ride in front of the Hotel Pattee in Perry, IA
Ben Philpott

The first stop on the official Perry for President campaign was the same place he ended his last Iowa campaign. On the night before the caucus in early January 2012, Rick Perry and a couple hundred supporters gathered at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa. The enthusiastic crowd hoped they could still make a difference in a flagging campaign.

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2016 Presidential Campaign
12:21 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Taking Stock of Perry's Announcement Launching His Second Presidential Run

Perry made his official announcement this week.
Ben Philpott/KUT News

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has officially begun his second attempt at winning the Republican Presidential nomination. His long-awaited announcement came yesterday in North Texas. As his second White House bid begins, let’s take a look back at how yesterday’s announcement could impact his campaign going forward.

Number one: decor. It was absolutely the first thing you noticed when walking into the airplane hangar where Perry’s announcement was staged. Just behind the stage, taking up most of the hangar, was a C-130 transport plane – the same type of plane Perry flew in the Air Force. Standing in front of that plane, on stage with Perry, were military veterans from several different wars. Including Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the author and subject of the book and film “Lone Survivor.”

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The Ticket
9:38 am
Fri June 5, 2015

The Ticket: Ben Carson and Ray Sullivan

This week on The Ticket: With former Texas Governor Rick Perry jumping into the GOP race, we talk with Opportunity and Freedom Super PAC co­-chair Ray Sullivan about Perry's chances in his second run, and we'll continue our review of presidential contenders with an analysis of the Ben Carson campaign on Stump Interrupted.

The Ticket, a weekly presidential podcast from KUT News and the Texas Tribune hosted by KUT's Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root, breaks down the week's campaign action and brings you interviews with people who make a living working on, covering or commenting on the political campaigns.

Politics
1:37 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Agenda Texas: The End of the 84th Legislative Session

Liang Shi/KUT News

The Texas legislative session ends Monday, and there's not a bunch left for lawmakers to do between today and next week. No more bills can be voted on. Now it's all about conference committees. Those are the groups made up of five House members and five Senators who will be huddled together in meeting rooms and hallways around the Capitol this weekend, trying to come to an agreement on bills that the House and Senate each passed different versions of.

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Politics
4:27 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

The Ticket: Carly Fiorina & Writer Chris Cillizza

This week on The Ticket: We continue our review of presidential contenders with an analysis of the Carly Fiorina campaign on Stump Interrupted. And with candidate announcements falling from the sky like rain from a Texas thunderstorm, we talk with Washington Post writer and The Fix blogger Chris Cillizza about how the 2016 race is shaping up.

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Small Town Texas
10:10 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Will Regional Growth Wake Up Sleepy Horseshoe Bay?

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

Horseshoe Bay sits on the southern end of Lake LBJ in the Texas Hill country. Like every other Hill Country town, it has beautiful views, amazing wildflowers and a relaxed atmosphere. But the similarities end there: Horseshoe Bay isn’t like any other Hill Country town.

The median home price is $525,000. Fifty-three percent of the town is at least 60 years old. Only about 25 percent of the town lives there full-time, and most of the homes in town are second, or even third, homes.

Older folks with money in a sleepy lakeside town — but there might be more to Horseshoe Bay than meets the eye.

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Politics
12:40 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

The Ticket: Marco Rubio and Gearge Seay

Credit Screenshot courtesy ABC News

This week on The Ticket: We break down the presidential campaign announcement by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and chat with Rubio supporter George Seay, who was Rick Perry's state finance chairman in the 2012 campaign.

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Texas
11:36 am
Mon May 11, 2015

With Less Than a Month Left in Session, Deadlines Approach for State Lawmakers

The last day of the 84th state legislative session is June 1. As that day approaches, lawmakers begin to face hundreds of bills and various deadlines.
Liang Shi/KUT News

Less than a month remains in this year's legislative session, and Texas lawmakers face hundreds of bills and several procedural deadlines this week.

Today is the last day House committee members can vote on bills that originated in the House, which means it's the last day a House bill has a chance of being placed on the calendar for the whole chamber to hear.

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The Ticket
1:05 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

The Ticket: Hillary Clinton and Garry Mauro

This week on The Ticket: We'll break down the presidential announcement video from Hillary Clinton and interview Garry Mauro, a 4-term Texas Land Commissioner, state campaign director for multiple presidential candidates, and unofficial (for now) worker on the Clinton 2016 campaign.

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Texas
11:08 am
Tue May 5, 2015

House Approves Bill That Will Break Down Vaccination Exemption Data by School

Cooper Neill/Texas Tribune

The Texas House gave final approval Monday to a bill that would change how schools report how much of their student body is vaccinated. The bill passed, 98 to 40, but only after a loud and long debate.

Right now school districts anonymously collect data on how many kids are vaccinated and then report that data district-wide. Austin Independent School District has an overall vaccination exemption rate of 1.6 percent, for instance. The bill that passed out of the House Monday would break down the data for individual schools.

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2016 Election
10:00 am
Thu April 30, 2015

The Ticket: Episode 2

The Ticket, produced by KUT and the Texas Tribune, is our new podcast focused on the 2016 presidential race.

In the second episode of The Ticket, KUT's Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root break down the presidential campaign announcement speech of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in another edition of “Stump Interrupted.”

They also talk with Mathew Dowd, who directed President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

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2016 Election
5:14 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

The Ticket: A Presidential Podcast

The Ticket, produced by KUT and the Texas Tribune, is our new podcast focused on the 2016 presidential race.

In the pilot episode of The Ticket, KUT's Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root bring back the Tribune's “Stump Interrupted” feature to break down Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement speech at Liberty University last month and talk with former Texas GOP Chairman and current Rand Paul campaigner Steve Munisteri.

Agenda Texas
11:24 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Agenda Texas: Here's a Look at This Session's Buffet of Tax Cut Proposals

Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

There's a buffet of tax cuts lying before state lawmakers this session, and cut supporters say the state wins no matter what gets put on its plate.

Lawmakers have served up plans to cut business franchise taxes, slice sales tax rates and even nibbled around the idea of a proposal to phase out property taxes entirely. While some of these proposals won’t make the plate this session, the state is prepped to approve billions in tax cuts before the legislature’s regular session gavels out in six weeks.

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Agenda Texas
11:02 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Gov. Abbott's 5 Emergency Items: Where Are They Now?

Gov. Abbott laid out his call for this session's emergency items in his State of the State speech.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The Texas constitution requires lawmakers to pass one bill each session: the state budget, which was under (rather lengthy) discussion last week in the House and in the Senate this week. But governors can push their own to-do list at the start of each session in the form of emergency items.

In February, newly minted Gov. Greg Abbott named five of those priorities during his February State of the State speech, and today we're going to see how those bills are doing, by ranking their legislative progress so far this session.

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Election 2016
7:50 am
Wed April 8, 2015

In Anticipation of Likely Presidential Run, Perry's Image Gets an Upgrade

Rick Perry is expected to run again for President. Since his last try, he's undergone a few changes.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune; Screenshot from Fox News

First there was Ted Cruz. Then yesterday, Rand Paul joined the mix. Eventually, former Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to announce his run — his second — for the Republican Presidential nomination. His first run, in 2011-12, didn’t end well.

But the former Texas Governor and his team have been working to undo past damage and build a better Perry: Perry 2.0.

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2016 Presidential Election
11:42 am
Fri April 3, 2015

3 Surprising Things About Ted Cruz's Campaign

Ted Cruz meets voters in Des Moines.
Ben Philpott/KUT News

Texas Senator Ted Cruz heads to South Carolina today on the next leg of his presidential campaign. KUT’s Ben Philpott has been following his first week on the campaign trail. While much of the week was predictably standard fare for Cruz – and presidential candidates in general – there were a couple things that stood out.

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