Tom Banse

Regional Reporter

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. During the early 1990s, he worked in the Seattle bureau of United Press International. 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. In 1996, he spent two months reporting from Bonn and Berlin, Germany on an Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. In 1999, he traversed the globe to cover the Pacific Rim (Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan) on a Jefferson Fellowship.

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.

British Columbia has staked out a negotiating position on a cross-border water treaty that puts it at odds with public utilities and ratepayers in the U.S. Northwest.

In Olympia, Washington policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program.

Despite finishing dead last in his race in Sochi, a Peruvian-American Olympic cross country skier is looking forward to a big welcome when he returns home to Seattle this weekend.

It's been exactly three years since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea.

American and European politicians are boycotting the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi to protest Russian moves in Ukraine. But athletes with physical disabilities from Idaho, Oregon and Washington plan to compete in the Olympic host city as scheduled starting this weekend.

Two teams want to re-enact Evel Knievel's famous jump over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

At the winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. has collected no medals so far in speedskating, an uncharacteristic result. The Americans' best remaining hope for hardware rests with short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the men's relay team.

A college ski racer from Sun Valley, Idaho says she is "immensely relieved" just to finish her first Winter Olympic race in one piece.

It's so warm in the mountains above Sochi that U.S. Olympic cross country skiers are going sleeveless, hatless and gloveless.

The Northwest has its first Olympic gold medal from the 2014 Sochi Games. Snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington of Bellevue, Idaho triumphed in the women's halfpipe Wednesday.

The 2014 Winter Olympics begin next week amid persistent concerns about security.

The slow uptake of electric cars by Northwest drivers is prompting calls to extend a tax break in Washington state for new vehicles powered by alternative fuels.

Athletes headed to the Winter Games from Oregon, Idaho and Washington run the gamut from Olympic rookies to medal-draped veterans.

Next month, Sochi, Russia will host athletes from more than 85 nations at the Winter Olympics. Some of those countries might surprise you. They get no snow or have no mountains.

The Northwest contribution to the U.S. Olympic team goes beyond athletes. A bunch of top coaches, ski tuners, wax technicians and physical therapists from here are Sochi-bound too.

It's looking more and more like Northwest athletes will be unusually well represented at the Winter Olympics in Russia next month. The U.S. Olympic Nordic team was named Wednesday.

Winter Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest are learning this month who will get to go to the Sochi Games next month. One snow making expert from Washington state is already there.

It's not just the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that will make for an exciting February for Northwest sports fans. The Winter Olympics start mere days later.

Oregon regulators moved this week to make it easier for truck fleet owners to convert from gasoline or diesel to natural gas. 

Some causes just seem hopeless some days. Like world peace. Or ending poverty. Or in a different vein, getting rid of non-native plants.