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

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.

Picture courtesy Kasich Presidential Campaign

This week on The Ticket: We welcome Ohio Governor John Kasich to the GOP primary field with a review of his announcement speech. And with just days until the first GOP primary debate, we'll talk with senior writer and analyst Harry Enten from about the latest polls and who's on or off the debate stage.

Courtesy the Donald Trump for President Campaign

This week on The Ticket: It's our ALL-TRUMP episode. KUT's Ben Philpott and The Texas Tribune's Jay Root will spend the entire show examining the Republican candidate that's taken over the 2016 race. We'll interview Des Moines Register Reporter Josh Hafner about his coverage of Trump in Iowa. And we'll speak with the chairman of the Federation of Hispanic Republicans, about how Trump's campaign has damaged the relationship between Hispanics and the GOP.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

For the first time since 2010, none of Texas is in drought condition. But that doesn’t mean water worries don’t still plague some parts of the state.

The latest drought report from the Texas Water Development Board doesn't signal the end of the state's water woes, but it's still good news. After more than five years, spring rains saturated the ground enough to finally end our long drought — our long soil moisture drought.

courtesy Scott Walker for President campaign

This week on the podcast: The Texas Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott break down the campaign announcement speech of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. And to help explain even more about the latest entry into the crowded GOP field, we'll talk to Craig Gilbert, the Washington D.C. bureau chief for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and writer of the Wisconsin Voter Blog.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Former Governor Rick Perry has yet to separate himself from the pack of Republican presidential candidates in opinion polls — but the pack may be pulling away from him in an important category: fundraising.

The latest campaign finance reports from the presidential field are due Wednesday, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry released his fundraising haul over the weekend. It was a mixed initial report. His campaign only brought in just a bit more than one million dollars. Sure, he’s only been fundraising for a month. But to provide some contrast, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush picked up about $11 million in two weeks.

Chris Christie campaign

This week on the podcast: Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root break down the campaign announcement speech of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. And we find out more about the man and what kind of campaign he could run from WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio's Matt Katz, creator of The Christie Tracker blog and podcast.


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.