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.

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A U.S. national team stocked with players from Northwest pro soccer teams faces its toughest test to date at the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Would you let your smartphone share your location if it meant that one day you could come to a stranger's rescue?

Sales of expensive electric cars are getting a jolt from the impending expiration of a sales tax incentive in Washington state. It goes away June 30.

Golf's U.S. Open Championship tees off starting at 7 a.m. Thursday morning at Chambers Bay Golf Course near Tacoma, Washington.

Soccer fans from the American Northwest are expected to fill sold-out BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada, Tuesday evening as the U.S. Women's National Team takes on Nigeria.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

A half-dozen players with ties to the Northwest are entered in golf’s U.S. Open as the event tees off in the Pacific Northwest for the very first time this week. The highest ranked among them doubts the locals will benefit from home field advantage.

Some of the favorites to win this year’s U.S. Open are saying nice things about the golf course after practice rounds at Chambers Bay near Tacoma, Washington.

A steak-knife fight on the high seas has captivated Northwest yachting fans for the past day.

Many of the world's best golfers will descend on a public course near Tacoma, Washington, this coming week for the 2015 U.S. Open.

All signs are pointing to a strong El Niño developing by this fall according to an update from the National Weather Service Thursday.

Tome Banse / Northwest News Network

The first stage of the inaugural 750-mile Race to Alaska -- a novel endurance race up the Inside Passage -- has thinned the field.

They say there's nothing more boring than watching grass grow. But cultivating immaculate grass is a serious, intense and fascinating business when you work at the golf course that will stage the first U.S. Open championship in the Northwest.

Tom Banse

 A large crowd of onlookers gathered at dawn Thursday morning in Port Townsend to send off the captains and crews entered in a new adventure race. The nautical contest runs 750 miles up the Inside Passage to Ketchikan, Alaska.

The corruption investigations swirling around soccer's world governing body could cast a shadow over the FIFA Women's World Cup. It kicks off Saturday in Canada.

Organizers of the U.S. Open men's golf championship are exuding confidence that Chambers Bay Golf Course overlooking Puget Sound will be ready for the tee off in less than three weeks.

Beth Redfield

The call of the open road beckons to electric car owners now that Washington and Oregon have completed their portions of the West Coast Electric Highway. That's a network of rapid recharging stations to enable long distance electric-powered travel. The system could eventually stretch from British Columbia to Baja California. The far end for now is in Brookings, just shy of the Oregon-California border. We sent correspondent Tom Banse out on a road test.

The Federal Aviation Administration has recently granted clearance for takeoff to big batches of commercial drone operators.

A souped-up paddle board, custom rowing craft and high performance, carbon fiber sailboats are just some of the eye-catching entries in the inaugural Race to Alaska.

Freight railroads in the Northwest appear unlikely to meet an end-of-the-year deadline to install the type of system safety regulators say could have prevented Tuesday's deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia.

There's a process in place now for Indian tribes and the state of Washington to jointly regulate marijuana should any tribes choose to legalize and sell it.

Pouches of alcohol in granular or powder form will not appear in Washington stores, nor at this rate in Oregon either.

Of all the things you're considering for your next meal today, bugs are probably not on the menu.

The call of the open road beckons to electric car owners now that Washington and Oregon have completed their portions of the West Coast Electric Highway, a network of rapid recharging stations to enable long distance electric-powered travel.

Spring planting season is coming early this year for a lot of home gardeners. And this year some Pacific Northwest nurseries are getting familiar with the flavors of the Caribbean.

Starting next month, Alaska Airlines will explore charging extra for main cabin seats with more legroom and creature comforts.

A wide majority of the Washington Legislature voted to raise the maximum speed limit from 70 to 75 miles per hour.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee Friday significantly expanded a drought declaration due to dwindling snowpack.

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

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

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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