Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers business, environment, public policy, human interest and national news across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out-of-the-way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be heard during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Before taking his current beat, Tom covered state government and the Washington Legislature for 12 years.  He got his start in radio at WCAL-FM, a public station in southern Minnesota. Reared in Seattle, Tom graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota with a degree in American Studies.

When not sifting through press releases, listening to lobbyists, or driving lonely highways, Tom enjoys exploring the Olympic Peninsula backcountry and cooking dinner with his wife and friends. Tom's secret ambition is to take six months off work and travel to a faraway place beyond the reach of email.


Trans-Pacific Partnership
4:04 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Many Northwest Democrats Noncommittal On Fast-Tracking Trade Deals

File photo of the container ship Hanjin Hamburg at the Port of Seattle.
A McLin Flickr

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:56 pm

So far, few Northwest Democrats are getting on board with a deal to "fast track" a pending Pacific trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Columbia River
5:40 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Proposal To Resurrect Columbia River's Celilo Falls Draws Flak

Dipnet fishing at Celilo Falls on the Columbia River around 1957.
US Army Corps of Engineers

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:38 pm

An audacious proposal to revive the Columbia River’s historic Celilo Falls drew heavy flak when it was aired at the Oregon Legislature Thursday.

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Troy Kelley
12:36 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Gov. Inslee Urges Indicted State Auditor To Resign

The U.S. Attorney's office for Western Washington announced Thursday morning that a federal grand jury has indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.
Washington State Auditor's Office Facebook

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:22 pm

On Thursday morning, embattled Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley called Democratic Governor Jay Inslee -- right around the time the U.S. Attorney’s office for Western Washington announced Kelley’s indictment.

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Labor Laws
5:35 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Child Labor Exemption Approved To Keep Hockey Teams In Washington State

The Washington state House voted to exempt junior hockey teams from teen labor laws by expressly classifying the players as non-employees.
Scott Butner Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 6:27 pm

The Washington state House voted 91-7 Wednesday to exempt junior hockey teams from teen labor laws by expressly classifying the players as non-employees.

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Revenge Porn
3:57 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Washington Senate Votes To Criminalize 'Revenge Porn'

The Washington Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to criminalize ''revenge porn.''
Kevin Mooney Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 3:50 pm

Oregon and Washington are close to joining neighboring states in specifically outlawing "revenge porn."

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Washington Unemployment
3:15 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Number Of Unemployed In Washington At Lowest Level Since Recession Began

Washington state's unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in March.
photologue_np Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 3:06 pm

The recovery from the Great Recession has crossed a milestone in Washington state.

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Town-To-Town Hiking
7:49 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Town-To-Town Trekking Vision For Columbia River Gorge Inches Forward

Jean Akers and Tom Griffith scouted routes for a new trail from Lyle, Washington to adjacent public lands earlier this month.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Hut-to-hut or village-to-village trekking is a popular vacation pursuit in regions as diverse as Europe, New Zealand, the Himalayas and Vietnam. It's not much heard of in the U.S. Now some hikers, businesses and nonprofits are promoting a vision of walking holidays right here in the Northwest - in the Columbia River Gorge. But the town-to-trails hiking concept clashes with some old-timers' visions for the Gorge.

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Women's World Cup
4:41 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

U.S. Women's World Cup Squad Includes Four Northwest Soccer Pros

The U.S. Women's National Team has called up Portland Thorns teammates Alex Morgan, left, and Tobin Heath for the FIFA Women's World Cup. Christine SInclar, far right, will play for Team Canada.
bellyflopz Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 8:45 am

The U.S. Women's National Team coach has named four soccer pros from the Northwest to the World Cup roster Tuesday.

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César Chávez Day
3:56 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Should Washington State Recognize César Chávez Day?

File photo of César Chávez speaking at the Delano UFW -- United Farm Workers rally in Delano, California, June 1972.

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 4:04 pm

In California, March 31 is a legal holiday. Schools and government offices are closed for César Chávez Day.

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5:02 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Puget Sound Lawmaker Pitches New Bridge Built With Old Aircraft Carriers

In this 2012 aerial view of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the aircraft carriers Independence, Kitty Hawk, Constellation and Ranger are visible. The Ranger and Constellation have since been scrapped.
Jelson25 Wikimedia

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 8:06 am

There's money in a state highway budget that passed the Washington House Thursday to study a one-of-a-kind possible toll bridge fashioned out of retired Navy aircraft carriers.

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