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.

Ways To Connect

Curtis Perry / Flickr

We know the old saying that "speed kills" applies to people who drive recklessly. But does it also apply to legislation to raise highway speed limits? An interstate speed limit increase in Washington looks dead, but appears to have a chance in Oregon.

You know the beautiful, mass-produced tomatoes you can buy at the grocery store? You can drop one and it'll bounce back unharmed, but doesn't taste like much.

California Governor Jerry Brown ordered statewide mandatory water saving measures Wednesday. Water managers are preparing for drought in Oregon and Washington state as well.

Rex Ziak

Some aging veterans of World War Two are embarking on one more mission related to that long ago war. In some cases, wives or children are taking on the mission if the vet has passed away. The object is to return Japanese flags taken as war souvenirs from Pacific battlefields.

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers in the Washington legislature launched a move Tuesday to ban powdered alcohol.

According to the monthly update released Wednesday by Washington's Employment Security Department, the state’s unemployment rate stayed flat in February.

Cian Ginty / Flickr

    

Lawmakers in Oregon and Washington are pondering whether to give bicycles and mopeds permission to run red lights under certain circumstances. Idaho did so nearly a decade ago in cases when lightweight two-wheelers fail to trigger the sensor to change a light to green.

The United Steelworkers union and major oil refiners have reached a tentative contract settlement.

The daffodils and tulips are up and so are hungry black bears. Our unseasonably mild winter is bringing black bears out of hibernation earlier than usual.

Oregon and Washington lawmakers flinched within hours of each other Wednesday when it came to toughening mandatory vaccination requirements for schoolchildren.

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