Kirk Siegler

Kirk Siegler is a reporter for NPR's National Desk. In this role he covers Southern California and the West from NPR West's studios in Culver City, CA.

Since joining the national desk in December of 2012, Siegler has covered everything from a dock worker strike at the nation's largest port to an unprecedented manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer wanted for a string of vengeance killings. He's also contributed extensively to the network's coverage on the ongoing national conversation about guns; assignments that have taken him from Newtown, CT, to an inner-city Los Angeles hospital's trauma ward, to rural Wyoming.

Siegler has won numerous Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press Awards for his coverage of Environmental, Political and Business issues in Montana and Colorado. Siegler was a 2010 Science Literacy Project fellow at the University of California-Berkeley and most recently he completed the 2012 Knight/MIT "Food Boot Camp" Fellowship.

Prior to joining NPR, Siegler spent seven years reporting from Colorado, where he became a familiar voice to NPR listeners reporting from Denver for NPR Member Station KUNC. He also spent two years as a reporter and news director at Aspen Public Radio. Siegler got his start in reporting in 2003 covering the Montana Legislature for Montana Public Radio.

Siegler has spent much of his adult life living in the West. He grew up in Missoula, MT and received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He is an avid skier and enjoys traveling and visiting his family scattered across the globe.

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Around the Nation
4:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Keep On Drillin'? Santa Barbara Prepares To Vote On Oil Future

A cow walks near oil pump jacks in Santa Maria, Calif. Oil production has long been a part of Santa Barbara County, but a new ballot measure could effectively shut down all new drilling operations there.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:25 pm

Think of California's Santa Barbara County and you might picture the area's famous beaches or resorts and wineries. But in the northern reaches of the vast county, oil production has been a major contributor to the economy for almost a century.

So it's no surprise that the oil industry there is feverishly organizing to fight a local ballot initiative — Measure P — that would ban controversial drilling methods such as hydraulic fracturing. What is turning heads, however, is the sheer volume of money flooding into this local race, mainly from large oil companies.

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Environment
5:26 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Coping In A Drier World: California's Drought Survival Strategy

The San Luis Reservoir in central California is the largest "off-channel" reservoir in the U.S. It is currently at less than 30 percent of its normal capacity.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 7:44 pm

The past few years have been California's driest on record. Forecasters predict that punishing droughts like the current one could become the new norm.

The state uses water rationing and a 90-year-old water distribution system to cope until the rains come. The system is a huge network of dams, canals and pipes that move water from the places it rains and snows to places it typically doesn't, like farms and cities.

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It's All Politics
5:16 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Identity Politics Center Stage In California's Central Valley Campaign

On the campaign trail, Amanda Renteria talks often about her parents, who were migrant farmworkers in the Central Valley.
Courtesy Amanda Renteria for Congress

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 6:57 pm

In California's rural Central Valley, a candidate's identity means everything in politics. Just take the race between first-term Republican Rep. David Valadao and Democrat Amanda Renteria for the state's 21st Congressional District seat, which is attracting some unusual attention this fall.

In a midterm election year where immigration remains a thorny subject, both Valadao and Renteria talk openly about the need for Congress to pass the stalled comprehensive reform bill.

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Around the Nation
5:06 pm
Sun September 28, 2014

To Counter Gun Violence, Researchers Seek Deeper Data

Surrendered handguns are piled in a bin during a gun buyback event in Los Angeles on May 31, 2014.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 28, 2014 6:43 pm

For the first time in nearly two decades, federal money is beginning to flow into gun violence research. And there's growing momentum behind creating a reliable national reporting database for firearm injuries and deaths.

On the front lines at the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, one of the top trauma hospitals on the West Coast, researchers like Dr. Demetrios Demetriades hope to get a better picture of the scope of the problem, so states can better target their prevention programs.

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Politics
5:28 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Colorado Republicans Buck National Party Trends On Immigration

Republican Colorado state Sen. George Rivera says the GOP's pitch of small government, low taxes and traditional values is starting to resonate with the state's Latino voters.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 7:04 pm

Steel mills, unions and the Democratic Party have defined politics in Pueblo, Colo., for decades. But that doesn't discourage George Rivera.

"When we look at values, when we look at who we are, especially as Hispanics, our values tend to be conservative," Rivera says.

Rivera, a retired deputy police chief, is going door to door for votes in a neighborhood east of downtown, near where he grew up. Last summer, he unseated local Democrat Angela Giron in the state Legislature, in a high-profile recall election that focused on guns.

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Around the Nation
4:09 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Surfers Flock To The Water, As Huge Waves Hit The West Coast

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 7:29 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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It's All Politics
2:54 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Embattled Montana Senator Withdraws From Race

Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., has been accused of plagiarizing a portion of his 2007 master's thesis.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 7:04 pm

After cancelling a string of campaign events and fundraisers this week, Montana Democrat John Walsh announced Thursday that he would drop out of the race for the U.S. Senate.

"I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. senator," Walsh said in a statement. "You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will."

He will serve out the remainder of his Senate term, which expires in Jan. 2015.

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Around the Nation
6:03 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Three Years On, Utah's Immigrant Guest Worker Law Still Stalled

This statue is located in Utah's Capitol building, beneath a mural of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers traveling out west. "Utah is a place that understands the value of immigration," says Utah's speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:28 pm

At the Utah State Capitol, a mural of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers brings some color to the building's spartan rotunda. Beneath it is a more modern sculpture — a woman walking forward with her son, who's holding a globe.

Underneath the statue are the words "Immigration and Settlement." The symbolism isn't lost on state House Speaker Becky Lockhart.

"Utah is a place that understands the value of immigration, the value of peoples coming to find a better life," she says, pointing up at the sculpture.

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Games + Leisure
10:15 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Dressing Up As A T-Rex Is All Part Of The Job

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 1:32 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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U.S.
4:53 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

As Immigration Crisis Grows, A Protest Movement Gains Steam

In Oracle, Ariz., on Tuesday, protesters gather near the entrance to a juvenile facility in an effort to stop the arrival of a busload of Central American immigrant children. The bus never arrived.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:01 pm

Anti-illegal immigration activists are planning several hundred protests in cities across the country on Friday and Saturday, part of a growing backlash against the federal government's efforts to temporarily house migrant children detained at the border.

Protesters say they are concerned about safety, as the Obama administration pushes to move detainees from Texas to shelters run by nonprofits in other states.

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Business
4:59 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Picketing Truckers Raise Tensions At LA Port Amid Dockworker Talks

Picketers supporting independent truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach stand outside a container terminal.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 7:04 pm

Labor tensions are high at the largest port complex in the country — Los Angeles and Long Beach — which handles nearly half of all the cargo coming into the United States.

Short-haul truck drivers are striking. They're the independent, contract truckers who bring the containers off the ships to nearby warehouses for companies like Wal-Mart and Costco. At the twin ports, their numbers hover around 10,000.

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Business
5:29 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Truckers Strike At 2 Calif. Ports, Larger Labor Dispute Looms

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:04 am

Independent truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are on strike against three large trucking firms that operate at the ports.

Handling almost half of all the nation's cargo, the ports of Los Angles and Long Beach are the main gateway for imports from Asia.

A lot of the shipping containers end up on these idling trucks. The short-haul truckers bring the goods from here to nearby rail yards and distribution centers for companies like Costco, Forever 21 and Skechers.

"We're in this to win," says truck driver Byron Contrerras.

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U.S.
5:33 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Increasing Use Of Oil Trains Inspires Backlash From States

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 12:18 pm

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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It's All Politics
10:46 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Calif. Town Thrusts Heated Immigration Debate Into National Spotlight

Human-rights activist Enrique Morones, at podium, speaks during a rally in support of immigrants on Wednesday in San Diego. A group of about 70 people rallied in support of migrant children and families Wednesday, a day after U.S. Homeland Security buses carrying the migrants were routed away from American flag-waving protesters in Murrieta, Calif., and transported to a facility in San Diego.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 1:49 pm

As the saying goes, all politics is local. And that couldn't have been clearer this week in and around Murrieta, Calif., a sleepy conservative enclave 60 miles north of San Diego.

Local leaders here made a loud stand against the planned movement of immigrant detainees to their city from overcrowded U.S. Border Patrol stations in Texas — and in the process rather purposefully thrust their city into the national political spotlight.

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Around the Nation
4:09 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Immigration Debate Splits California City In Two

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 6:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Around the Nation
4:34 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Tensions Eddy In Murrieta After Protesters Turn Back Buses Of Migrants

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 7:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Around the Nation
6:52 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Calif. Lawmakers To Debate Controversial Gun-Control Bill

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 10:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I am Renee Montagne. Here in California today, a controversial gun control bill gets its first hearing. It was introduced in the wake of last month's mass murder near the campus of UC Santa Barbara. NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: When California lawmakers began debate today, expect the case of Elliott Rodger to come back into focus.

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Around the Nation
4:42 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Tensions Still High In 'Nevada Land' Over Cattle Dispute

Rancher Cliven Bundy stands near a gate on his 160-acre ranch in Bunkerville, Nev., the site of a standoff with the government last month. If the federal government comes back, Bundy promises, his militia supporters will also return in force.
Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 8:51 am

Cliven Bundy's ranch is just a few miles off Interstate 15 in southern Nevada, near the tiny town of Bunkerville. The dirt road that gets you there snakes through a hot and forlorn patch of desert. You know you've found it when you see a spray-painted sign for Bundy Melons.

"What we say is, we raise cows and melons and kids. That's what we do here," says Bundy, smiling as he hoses down a dusty sidewalk that leads into the family's ranch house.

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Law
4:18 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Las Vegas Shooting Returns Police Attention To Bundy's Ranch

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 6:24 pm

Las Vegas police are now confirming that law enforcement officials made three prior contacts with the suspects of a recent shooting spree that left five people dead, including two police officers. Authorities found no indication during those visits that Jerad Miller and his wife, Amanda, planned to carry out violence. The couple's anti-government and anti-law enforcement sentiments continue to be the focus of the investigation.

Politics
3:46 am
Tue June 10, 2014

In Booming San Jose, Businesses Settle Into A Minimum Wage Hike

Chuck Hammers, owner of Pizza My Heart in San Jose, Calif., raised prices on slices by 25 cents and pies by about $1 after the minimum wage increase, and says he hasn't experienced a drop in business.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 9:33 am

It's been a little more than a year since San Jose, Calif., increased the city's minimum wage by $2 per hour, with adjustments for inflation. Now at $10.15 an hour, it's one of the state's highest.

Back in 2012, as voters were debating the wage hike, some in the restaurant and hospitality industry warned that an increase would be bad for the sector. It would deter new businesses from opening, they said, and would cause existing businesses to slash hours for employees.

So how are San Jose's businesses faring today? The answer is, it depends.

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