Ben Philpott

Senior Reporter, State Politics and Policy

Ben Philpott covers politics and policy for KUT. He’s also co-host of The Ticket 2016, a podcast produced by KUT and the Texas Tribune covering the presidential election. Ben 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.

Ways To Connect

Pu Ying-Huang/KUT News

The University of Texas at Austin held its second and final public forum on how the school should implement a new state law that will allow concealed handgun license holders to bring their weapon onto college campuses. But, while efforts to allow weapons on campus has come to prominence in recent years, the push in Texas began over 20 years ago after a mass shooting in Killeen.

Liang Shi/KUT News

The third of seven propositions on the Texas ballot this Election Day would change the requirement for some statewide elected officials to live in Austin.

Prop 3’s passage would mean the governor would be required to live in the Governor's Mansion, but the rest of the statewide elected officials would have the option of living outside of Austin. Though, it's likely they would still have a place around Austin so they can get to their Texas Capitol offices quickly.

Timothy D. Easley/AP

This week on The Ticket: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott look at the role religion is playing in the 2016 presidential race. They talk with Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches on how religion is being used in the GOP Primary.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

We're just over a month away from Election Day in Texas and, while it's an election not everyone even knows is coming up, there are seven statewide constitutional amendments are on the ballot. Of those seven, Proposition 2 seeks to retroactively amend a state law allowing veterans’ spouses to collect benefits.

KUT News

The new City of Austin budget includes money for the Austin Police Department to outfit its officers with body cameras. The City Council Public Safety committee held a meeting last night to begin figuring out the best ways to use those cameras.

KUT News

While the presidential election is getting a lot of headlines, that’s not until next year. But one of the seven amendments to the state constitution on the ballot this November could raise the state's homestead exemption and lighten the property tax load for Texas homeowners.

Josh Denmark/Texas Tribune

This week on The Ticket: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott tackle immigration policy. The topic had a moment in the spotlight at the second GOP debate, but Republicans are divided on how to handle the millions of people living in the U.S. who crossed into the country illegally.

USHCC Livestream, via Texas Tribune

The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce wraps up its annual national convention in Houston today. Yesterday the event jumped into the national spotlight, as protestors interrupted a speech by GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

This week on The Ticket: A live episode! Recorded Wednesday at the Google Fiber space in Austin just before the CNN Republican presidential debate.

Tonight, join KUT's Ben Philpott, the Texas Tribune's Jay Root, and special guest Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post's Right Turn blog for a live recording of the weekly podcast The Ticket 2016: A look at presidential politics from a Texas perspectiv

Photo Courtesy The White House

This week on The Ticket: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott dive into the growing speculation that Vice President Joe Biden will run for the Democratic nomination. They'll talk with ABC News Digital Reporter Arlette Saenz, who's been covering the VP for several years. And even though running for President is a serious decision…they'll revisit some of Vice President Biden's most humorous moments.

Austin police are wrapping up another no refusal weekend. That means people stopped for suspected drunk driving can have blood drawn if they refuse a breathalyzer. But drivers aren't the only people that have to make sure they're following the law: Bars could be liable for overserved customers as well.

Ben Philpott/KUT News

This week on The Ticket: The Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott talk about one of the only GOP candidates that's been able to survive the Summer of Trump: Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

While Cruz's poll numbers have held steady, he's set himself up as an alternative to Trump, if, or when, the current GOP frontrunner flames out.

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Today, Sept. 1, marks the legal start for more than 600 new state laws for Texans to follow. From healthcare to transportation to education and public safety, there’s something that affects everyone in the Lone Star State.

Wally Gobetz/flickr

After 82 years in the shadow of the school’s iconic tower, the University of Texas removed the controversial Jefferson Davis statue yesterday from its Main Mall.

The university also removed the statue of Woodrow Wilson. 

Photo courtesy Andrew Magill,

This week on The Ticket: The Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott dive into the billions of dollars flowing through our campaign finance system. They’ll give a history of campaign finance to explain what lead to past regulations. And examine how the unchecked millions flowing through SuperPACs has affected the 2016 race for the White House.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Attorney General Ken Paxton has been in the headlines a lot as of recent. Not in the way his predecessor and current boss Greg Abbott used to (typically, by announcing that he was suing the federal government), but rather by vowing to fight against indictments on three securities fraud felonies for actions he took during his time as a state senator.

Ben Philpott/KUT News

This week on The Ticket: From Sioux City to Davenport, Mason City to Ottumwa and everyplace in between - this week it's all about Iowa! The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott give you a taste of the state that holds so much power over how we pick a president — including asking the big question: Why Iowa?

We're also excited to announce a LIVE show and Debate-watching party September 16 at Google Fiber Space Austin. Details coming soon!

The State of Texas has yet to file an appeal over a ruling against the state's voter identification law. Last week the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law violated the Voting Rights Act.

But where do things stand now, and does the ruling mean Texans don't have to bring a photo ID when they vote this fall?

FOX News

This week on The Ticket: Debate Prep!

Republican consultant and staffer for the Rick Perry 2012 Presidential campaign Deirdre Delisi takes us into the campaign back rooms to tell us what candidates are doing to get ready for the first Republican Presidential primary debate. She’ll also relive what it was like backstage when the former Texas Governor forgot that third government agency he wanted to eliminate. And on Stump Interrupted, The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott take us back in time for a review of classic debate moments.