Christopher Connelly | KERA News

Christopher Connelly

Fort Worth Reporter

Christopher Connelly is a KERA reporter based in Fort Worth. Christopher joined KERA after a year and a half covering the Maryland legislature for WYPR, the NPR member station in Baltimore. Before that, he was a Joan B. Kroc Fellow at NPR – one of three post-graduates who spend a year working as a reporter, show producer and digital producer at network HQ in Washington, D.C.

Christopher is a graduate of Antioch College in Ohio – he got his first taste of public radio there at WYSO – and he earned a master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He also has deep Texas roots: He spent summers visiting his grandparents in Fort Worth, and he has multiple aunts, uncles and cousins living there now.

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Gage Skidmore

After last year’s presidential election, Democrats are in rebuilding mode in Texas and across the country. Democrats lost the White House and they’re the minority in Congress and in most statehouses. In Texas, the last time a Democrat won statewide office was in 1994. Despite all of this, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is optimistic.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Folks who loved and worked with the five police officers killed last July 7 gathered Thursday to dedicate a memorial called the Circle of Heroes. Its six bronze plaques are mounted on stones that surround a flagpole. It's a place for people to stop along the Trinity Strand Trail in the Dallas Design District and remember.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In the year since a gunman killed five officers, Dallas police have been buffeted by the retirement of a chief, a contentious pension battle and a continuing exodus of officers. Despite these challenges, two brand-new officers say they’ve landed in the right place, in a city where they feel they can do some good.

Matthew Martinez / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

About a hundred people gathered in front of Fort Worth City Hall Tuesday night to call on the city council to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4.

Chris Connelly / KERA News

A North Texas community institution is facing a $2 million budget shortfall. The United Way of Tarrant County has cut one-third of its staff positions to preserve funding for the programs it supports in and around Fort Worth.

Faced by an increasingly challenging philanthropic environment and with new leadership coming in, the local United Way is changing how it works in a bid for success in the social media age.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In Arlington, officials broke ground Friday on a new supplier park for companies that make components for the SUVs built at the General Motors Assembly Plant. It’s a move that GM hopes will make it operate more efficiently, and is expected to add jobs.        

Erik Hersman / Flickr

In Dallas, big changes are coming to the City Council after Saturday’s runoff elections. Three incumbents have lost their seats, which represents a big shift on the 15-member body.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth, Dallas and Arlington are among a handful of North Texas cities holding runoff elections on Saturday to fill city council and school board seats.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi came to Dallas Wednesday to raise money for her party’s congressional candidates. But before she rubbed elbows with donors, the longtime Democratic leader talked to her base about healthcare, the economy and resisting President Trump’s agenda.

Throughout the speech, she seemed to be honing the Democratic message by focusing more heavily on appealing to middle-class workers.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr for KUT News

The 85th Texas Legislature is over. And while the threat of a special session looms, most of us are still trying to figure out what actually made it across the finish line.

JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT

In Austin Monday, both the Texas Senate and the House adjourned, bringing the 85th legislative session to a close. That was expected since the state constitution gives the Legislature exactly 140 days to run a regular session. What wasn’t totally expected was the drama that ramped up as the session was winding down.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Law enforcement groups call civil asset forfeiture a vital tool in the war on drugs. Critics on the left and the right say it’s a practice prone to abuse, and it needs to be curtailed. The process allows law enforcement agents to take property and cash they suspect is related to criminal activity.

Nisarg Khatri / Shutterstock

A bill aimed at shedding a little more light on family court proceedings ended up in the dustbin of legislative history when it failed to get a needed vote on the Texas House floor on Thursday.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Incumbents ruled the day in Tarrant County when voters hit the polls in Saturday's municipal elections. Voters weighed in in municipal elections, choosing mayors, city council members and other local positions. 

KERA archives

Robert Wilson, who brought Jim Lehrer and Monty Python to American television audiences while leading KERA during its early years, died today after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 75. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Saturday is Election Day for cities and school districts across North Texas. In Fort Worth, there will be at least one new face on the City Council. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Across North Texas, early voting is underway for the May 6 municipal elections. Members of city councils and school boards will be elected. They’ll direct how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars. There’s also a host of bond and tax issues on the ballot. But if the past is any indication, most people who can vote, won’t.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

At a community forum on Thursday night, Fort Worth and Arlington residents voiced concerns about a proposed saltwater injection well near Lake Arlington. The residents made their case to an audience of one: Ryan Sitton, one of three Texas Railroad Commissioners who regulates the oil and gas industry in the state.

Steven Martin via flickr

Another election day is fast approaching. Cities, school districts and other local governments across North Texas are gearing up for municipal elections on May 6. Early voting starts next Monday. In Tarrant County, there are some crowded races for dozens of open seats, and a whole host of questions about taxes and bonds that voters across the county will decide.

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Fort Worth's police officers are on their way to a new contract. They'd been working under an old contract that was supposed to expire last fall as discussions between the police association and the city dragged on for nearly a year and a half. The tentative agreement, reached Thursday, offers a range of incentives and pay raises for the city’s 1,625 officers.

Across the country, there's a backlog of kits containing potential evidence of sexual assaults. Victim advocates say the situation threatens public safety. Lawmakers in dozens of states are pushing for funding, and in Texas, one state representative has offered an innovative solution.

Thousands of rape kits sit sealed and untested in forensics labs and law enforcement offices in Texas. What's missing is state and local funding to pay to analyze the evidence in many of those kits.

Rachel Osier Lindley / KERA News

One of the most heated debates in Austin this legislative session is over Senate Bill 6. Introduced as the Privacy Protection Act, the "bathroom bill" would bar people from using restrooms or locker rooms in schools and other government buildings that don’t match the gender on their birth certificates.

Courtesy of the Joyful Heart Foundation

When you go to the Department of Public Safety office to apply for a driver’s license, the application asks if you want to donate a buck or more to support veterans or organ donation or people who are visually impaired. If Rep. Victoria Neave, D-Dallas, has her way, you’ll be asked if you’d like to help the state pay to test DNA evidence from sexual assault cases.

Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary is spending some time in North Texas. Ben Carson is on a multi-city listening tour to hear from people who rely on public housing.

Max Faulkner / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Fort Worth City Council members and top city staffers climbed onto a bus Tuesday and took a tour of the Stop Six neighborhood in East Fort Worth. The historic African-American neighborhood has long struggled with high crime, high unemployment and low incomes. Now, the city is trying a new approach to make life better for the people who live there.

Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A new report shows the number of people who are homeless in Tarrant and Parker Counties has not changed much over the past year. The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition released its annual homeless count on Thursday. It found 1,924 people living on the streets or in shelters, 14 fewer than last year.

Linah Mohammad/KERA News

The Republican leadership in Congress will spend next week hammering out details in their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Some of that will happen in the committee chaired by Pete Sessions.

flickr user rep.louiseslaughter

When Congressman Pete Sessions opens his town hall at Richardson High School on Saturday, he’s likely to face the same kind of raucous reception his fellow House Republicans have seen in recent weeks. More than 2,000 people have signed up for the town hall, and submitted more than 1,200 questions for the man who represents Texas’ 32nd Congressional district.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo

A major effort to overhaul the bail system in Texas was rolled out Thursday, and the reforms have some powerful backers. The target is a system that releases people held in jail before trial based in part on their ability to pay their bail or a fee to bond out. It’s a system that leaves many of the state's poorest residents to wait in jail until their court date arrives, which advocates say wastes taxpayer dollars and unnecessarily upends lives.   

Brandon Wade / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

There’s not much Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on in Austin these days, but criminal justice reform is one area that has found bipartisan support over the past decade. 

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