Lewis Wallace


Lewis Wallace comes to WYSO from the Pritzker Journalism Fellowship at WBEZ in Chicago, where he reported on the environment, technology, science and economics. Prior to going down the public radio rabbit hole, he was a community organizer and producer for a multimedia project about youth and policing in Chicago. Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, Lewis spent many years as a freelance writer, anti-oppression trainer, barista and sex educator in Chicago and in Oakland, CA. He holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Northwestern University, and he has recently expanded his journalism training through the 2013 Metcalf Fellowship for Environmental Journalism and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources.

Lewis contributes regularly to NPR and Marketplace, and works in partnership with WBEZ Chicago on WYSO Curious/Curious City and as a freelance contributor. His work on the rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act for WYSO won two 2013 national Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) awards for continuing coverage (first place) and best news feature (second place).

Lewis is transgender and goes by the pronouns "he" and "him."

Ways To Connect

Most civilian workers are back at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, although officials say normal operations will remain difficult during the partial government shutdown. But across the Dayton area, Wright-Patt isn’t alone in its woes since the partial federal government shutdown began Oct. 1.

 Nearly 9,000 civilian workers went back to work Monday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. That’s after the Department of Defense reinterpreted a new law in order to end furlough days.


  Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10th) has voted with the majority of other House Republicans in favor of a 2014 budget that would defund the Affordable Care Act. Republican congressmen pushed for the bill with the knowledge the Senate and the President would reject it, and in the final days of the fiscal year, the controversy devolved into a showdown, and finally to a partial shutdown of the federal government for the first time in 17 years. As of Thursday, Oct. 3, that shutdown was still underway with no end in sight.

WYSO spoke to Rep. Turner Thursday morning.

WYSO/Lewis Wallace

 Nearly 9,000 employees of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base remain on emergency furlough following the federal government shutdown, and workers and businesses are worried about the financial impact, particularly if the partial shutdown is prolonged.

Wright-Patt officials estimate that for every day the government stays closed, the Dayton area loses $5 million in wages.

Remember the Farm Bill? The omnibus law that funds food stamps, crop insurance, and a slew of farm subsidies? At midnight Monday, a nine-month extension of the latest version of that bill expired, which means for the moment, the law reverts to its 1949 version.

WYSO/Lewis Wallace

The federal health care marketplace, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, opened for business Tuesday even in the midst of a government shutdown. But for groups doing outreach in Dayton, the first day was a slow one.

A crew of outreach workers stood around next to colorful tables in the parking lot of a health center Tuesday, chatting up passers-by and waiting for a mostly-absent news media to stop by.

Colonel Cassie Barlow of the 88th Air Base Wing speaks to reporters about a possible emergency furlough.
WYSO/Lewis Wallace

As of midnight, October 1st, the U.S. House and Senate had not agreed on a  budget, and the federal government is now implementing a partial shut down for the first time since 1995-1996.

On Tuesday Forbes listed Dayton as one of the top ten cities at risk during a government shutdown. Civilian workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base bear the immediate brunt: approximately 8,700 non-military staff at Wright-Patt received furlough letters Tuesday morning.

WYSO/Lewis Wallace

Federal regulators held a public meeting Monday to talk about banking services in West Dayton. The closing of the Westown PNC branch this summer has turned a large part of West Dayton into a “banking desert”; from the former site of the bank, there are no bank branches within a two-mile radius.

At the crowded meeting, David Greer with the Northwest Priority Board called the departure of banks from the neighborhood “redlining.”

“It is a form of discrimination, and this is something that we as a people have fought long and hard for decades against,” he said.

The Federal health care Marketplace is set to open for business Tuesday, Oct. 1, and open enrollment will last for six months. Most people who can’t get employer insurance will be required to sign up for health plans under the Affordable Care Act, or pay a fee. But there’s still a lot of confusion about what exactly this will mean for the uninsured — about 1.5 million people in Ohio.


This week the Affordable Care Act has inspired congressional faceoffs, online poetry, and a reading of "Green Eggs and Ham" on the Senate floor. Meanwhile, the federal government is scrambling to get ready for the launch of the marketplace, where Ohio’s uninsured will shop for health plans.