Tom Banse

Regional Correspondent

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from 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 found online and heard on-air 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

sea turtle / Flickr -

The Pacific Northwest is certainly known for its rain, but the amount of rain that has fallen in October is one for the record books in more than a dozen Northwest cities -- and counting.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Just like Oregonians have never accepted a general sales tax, voters in neighboring Washington state have proven to be allergic to a state income tax. But at this November's election, a city tax on high incomes is on the ballot in Olympia.

And it could launch a test case if it passes.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Piloting a jetliner was once a glamorous profession. Then came the 9/11 terror attacks, airline bankruptcies and pension cuts. Entry-level pilots worked for peanuts.

But now the pendulum is swinging back. Regional airlines across America -- including the Northwest's Horizon Air -- are grappling with a looming pilot shortage.

Alaska Airlines/Virgin America

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said he remains confident that a proposed takeover of rival Virgin America will happen. But he acknowledged to Wall Street analysts Thursday that he had been hoping the $2.6 billion deal would have closed “a couple of weeks ago.”

Washington Employment Security Department

Washington state employers added 20,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis last month according to the latest numbers out Wednesday from the state’s Employment Security Department.

Campaign photos

A hacked email from the Hillary Clinton campaign reveals some interesting names considered early on as possible Democratic vice presidential picks. The names released by Wikileaks Tuesday included Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Microsoft's Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.


Spokane-based Avista Utilities and Seattle City Light --perhaps soon to be joined by Oregon's two biggest electric utilities: Portland General Electric & Pacific Power -- are diving into a new line of business: charging up electric cars.

They have plans to buy and maintain significant numbers of electric car charging stations. These will be installed at homes, private workplaces and public locations.

Washington Secretary of State's Office

Washington state set a new one-day record for voter registrations Sunday, topping 23,000 in a single day.

So what was behind the big spike in new voter sign-ups?

Solar Roadways

A startup company from North Idaho captivated donors and YouTube viewers worldwide a few years ago with its idea for turning roads and parking lots into solar farms. Now that far-out idea is available for public inspection for the first time.

Dori / Wikimedia -

A group of natural gas utilities in Washington Friday filed the third legal challenge this week to new state limits on global warming pollution. The private utility companies Cascade Natural Gas, NW Natural, Avista and Puget Sound Energy filed the latest challenge in Thurston County Superior Court.