Updated On: Jan 14 2013 05:28:25 PM CST
Mary Benton is an award-winning journalist who knows Texas and politics like the back of her hand.
This Texas native was born and raised in Harlingen, in the Rio Grande Valley. Mary received her bachelor of journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. While at the university, she took a special interest in her government and political science classes and student government organizations on campus. She also kept a watchful eye on the political arena unfolding just down the street from the UT campus at the Texas State Capitol.
Soon after graduation, Mary landed her first job as a reporter at KCEN-TV in Central Texas covering the Killeen/Fort Hood area.
The lure of politics would soon bring Mary back to Austin. She accepted a job with KTBC-TV and took on the tough assignment of education reporter. During this time, the school finance issue -- or how Texas would evenly distribute its educational funds - was at the forefront of the political debate.
In 1990, the Texas State Teachers Association honored Mary with the prestigious "School Bell Award" for her outstanding reporting on educational issues.
Mary's experience in the Texas Capitol also helped her to become one of the top political reporters in Austin. She's covered many elections, including the races for governor.
In November 1994, Mary joined the Local 2 family. She says her favorite part of the job is covering political candidates, meeting people from different walks of life and traveling to different story assignments. Mary is proudest of her work when it gets results for victims or gets the attention of viewers.
Mary's work gets noticed in the industry as well. In 1997, the Houston Association of Black Journalists honored her as "Favorite Television Reporter."
Mary's family is also very involved in politics. Her brother is State District Judge Levi Benton in Harris County.
One of Mary's most embarrassing television moments happened while she was on the air live, interviewing a trail rider during her first Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. The man's mule suddenly moved and startled Mary, prompting many viewers to phone in to make sure she was OK.
In her spare time, Mary enjoys shopping, swimming, volleyball, snow skiing and surfing the Web. Her favorite Web site is The Political Insider. She also enjoys watching a good movie. Among her favorites: "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" and "To Sir, with Love."
She has two dogs both adopted from animal shelters: A cocker spaniel named Chewbacca (after the "Star Wars" character) and Fuzzball a mixed breed.