Christopher Connelly | KERA News

Christopher Connelly

Fort Worth Reporter

Christopher Connelly is a KERA reporter based in Fort Worth. He specializes in politics and criminal justice, and his reporting is regularly picked up by national shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace.

Christopher’s a supremely versatile reporter. He profiled Opal Lee, the 89-year-old who walked many miles between Fort Worth and Washington, D.C., to make her pitch for a national Juneteenth holiday. He got a rare look inside William “Tex” Moncrief’s home while reporting on a remembrance for powerhouse lawyer Dee Kelly. A story about a reclusive state Board of Education candidate in East Texas who’d called then-President Obama a gay prostitute earned Christopher a Lone Star Award from the Houston Press Club.

His coverage of policing after five Dallas officers were gunned down on July 7, 2016 was key to KERA winning “overall excellence” honors among the biggest radio stations, public and commercial, in Texas and Oklahoma in the regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Last year, Christopher deployed to Houston to cover the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. He heard harrowing stories of evacuees and the first slow, heart-breaking steps of a family beginning to recover.

Christopher came to Texas from WYPR in Baltimore, where he was state legislative reporter. He also dodged tear-gas canisters (and lost a microphone) while covering the the unrest after the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American who died while in police custody.

He cut his public-radio teeth as a Joan B. Kroc Fellow at NPR – that’s a prestigious one-year post-graduate fellowship that allowed him to train as a reporter, show producer and digital producer at network HQ in Washington, D.C.

Christopher is a graduate of Antioch College in Ohio, and he earned a master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He was born in Ohio, but his Texas roots run deep: He spent summers visiting family in Fort Worth.

Ways to Connect

Joyce Marshall / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

America’s more than 46,000 Southern Baptist churches are grappling with their own #MeToo moment after a leader from Fort Worth fell from prominence after weeks of scandal around past statements he’d made about women. It follows after other recent scandals in which Southern Baptist leaders have been accused of or admitted to inappropriate behavior toward women.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Dallas voters may have the chance to weigh in on whether workers across the city get paid when they’re too sick to work.

A coalition of Texas-based community groups says it's turning in more than 110,000 signatures to the city clerk's office in a petition to put a paid sick leave ordinance on the ballot in November.

C-Span screenshot

A longtime adviser to Gov. Greg Abbott is awaiting approval from the Senate for a seat on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Andrew Oldham was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, alongside two lawyers nominated for federal district courts in Texas, Alan Albright and Micheal Truncale. A vote from the full Senate is the final hurdle before they're confirmed to the federal bench.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

On Tuesday night, Lupe Valdez became the first openly gay and the first Latina candidate to win a major party nomination for Texas governor.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Texas Democrats will choose their nominee to run for governor in Tuesday's runoff election. None of the nine Democratic gubernatorial candidates who ran in the March primary won more than 50 percent of the vote. So the top two vote-getters are now facing off: Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, won 43 percent of the vote, and Andrew White, from Houston, got 27 percent.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

When Rep. Jeb Hensarling announced he’d be stepping down as the congressman from Texas’ 5th District, eight Republicans scrambled to replace the staunch conservative. Now the top two vote-getters from the March primary face off in Tuesday’s runoff election: Hensarling’s former campaign manager Bunni Pounds and state Rep. Lance Gooden of Terrell.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The 32nd Congressional District in Texas is on the radar for national Democrats. They think they can win the seat and give Republican Congressman Pete Sessions the boot after more than 20 years in office. But they still don’t have a candidate yet for this district that covers a chunk of North Dallas and suburbs like Garland and Richardson. Now, the two Democratic hopefuls are competing in the May 22 runoff.

Christopher Connelly

When longtime Congressman Joe Barton announced his retirement in the middle of a sexual scandal, 11 Republicans campaigned to replace him. 

Now, the race is down to two: Ron Wright, who's served as Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector, earned 45 percent of the primary vote. Jake Ellzey, a pilot, got 22 percent.

In their runoff, one thing that’s up for debate? The value of political experience.

Left: Campaign Facebook page; right: Christopher Connelly/KERA News

When Republican Congressman Joe Barton announced he’d retire after 34 years in the House, 16 Democratic and Republican candidates campaigned to win the open seat.

Now, the Democratic field has narrowed to two.

Hady Mawajdeh / KERA News

An estimated 80,000 people are expected to come through the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center while the National Rifle Association’s convention is in Dallas. The NRA bills itself as the largest celebration of the right to bear arms replete with speeches from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. But there’s another big focus of the event: commerce.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

After some bad years, things are looking up for the freight rail industry right now — and that’s being felt at GE’s locomotive factory in far north Fort Worth. The plant is in the process of nearly doubling its staff, partly because of increased demand for brand-new locomotives, and partly because the factory has been overhauled to refurbish old ones.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In Texas, 40 percent of workers don't have access to paid sick leave, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That’s true for half of all Hispanic workers in the state.

This fall, Dallas voters may have the chance to weigh in on whether workers across the city get paid when they’re too sick to work.


Ryan Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

Twice in the last few months, the Fort Worth police has done something police departments typically don’t do: They chose to release body camera footage of controversial arrests. Experts say body-worn cameras are still an emerging technology, and they raise some thorny issues about what the public is allowed to see and who the cameras serve.

When William Roundtree got out of prison earlier this year, it took him just a few days to find a job that put his experience to work.

He spent 13 years and 10 months in prison for receiving stolen property. It was the tail end, Roundtree says, of an all-too-common story in the Dallas neighborhood where he grew up: drugs, dealing, addiction, stealing. After a few short prison stays, he received one long sentence for stealing tools and being a habitual offender. During that time, he says, he got clean without any treatment.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Last year, Tarrant County signed an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help the federal agency detain undocumented immigrants.

Thursday, that partnership was at the center of a forum hosted by the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – and it was also a cause for protest.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

As returns rolled in Tuesday night for Texas’s 2018 party primaries, dozens of campaigns came to an end, including — to no one's surprise — those of the two Republicans challenging Gov. Greg Abbott.

With more than 90 percent of the vote, the governor easily claimed his spot on the general election ballot.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

William Roundtree is part of a cadre of ACLU canvassers knocking on doors and talking to people at bus stops and shopping centers in Dallas County to raise awareness of a district attorney’s power to change lives.

It’s a power he knows all too well.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

For the first time in three decades, the 6th Congressional District in North Texas is an open seat. The race to replace longtime Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis, who announced he wouldn’t seek another term amid a scandal last year, touched off one of the most crowded Republican primary races in Texas.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

For 13 years, Lupe Valdez was the Dallas County sheriff. She spent decades in law enforcement jobs before that. So when Valdez kicked off her campaign for governor, she started her speech with a joke.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A Fort Worth couple is suing the federal government and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They argue they were blocked from fostering refugee children because they’re lesbians.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The race for Texas’ only open state Senate seat up for election this year is heating up. Two well-connected candidates with well-known names are spending millions to win the District 8 seat in Collin County, which was left empty when state Sen. Van Taylor announced he’d be stepping down to run for Congress.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

“If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself.”

That’s what Barack Obama told his forlorn supporters in his farewell address last year as he prepared to leave office. One group that seems to have taken that message to heart are the people who worked in his administration.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

Texans will go to the polls to elect hundreds of officials to represent them this year. Up for grabs are the governor’s mansion, a seat in the U.S. Senate and some of the most powerful statewide offices.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

On Martin Luther King's birthday, with a winter storm looming, volunteers at a mosque in Richardson spent a day of service assembling and handing out hygiene kits for homeless folks.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

For years, Ramey Market in Fort Worth’s historic Stop Six neighborhood has been an utterly unremarkable convenience store selling the typical assortment of sundry items, snacks and sodas. It was just the closest place to buy cigarettes or lottery tickets or beer.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

What was billed as a region-wide celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has drawn fire from local civil rights groups and community activists. They’re angry over the inclusion of Gov. Greg Abbott as an honorary grand marshal of the Toyota North Texas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Celebration, which is scheduled for next Monday in Arlington.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Lupe Valdez kicked off her campaign for governor in Dallas on Sunday afternoon. It was the first big event she’s held since she announced her candidacy last month.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

There’s a new major at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth dedicated to shining a light on issues around race and ethnicity. It’s part of broader efforts at the university to attract and retain more students of color and improve the campus culture.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The firing of a 22-year veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department is exposing tensions between the police chief and his officers, and between the department and the city’s African-American community.

Fort Worth Police Department video

A Texas police sergeant has been fired for ordering a rookie officer to use a stun gun on a woman who had called for help during a domestic dispute.

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