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

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.

TEXANS FOR ANDREW WHITE CAMPAIGN; CHRISTOPHER CONNELLY, KERA; OFFICIAL PHOTO; SHUTTERSTOCK

This post has been updated throughout.

One thing is clear: The 2018 midterm elections in Texas will be lively. Democrats have pledged a full-frontal assault on statewide offices, which Republicans have controlled since 1994.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Lupe Valdez is running for governor. The longtime Dallas County sheriff, the daughter of South Texas migrant workers, said Wednesday she will resign to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in 2018. Valdez, 70, is the highest-profile Democrat in what's sure to be an uphill battle. But that’s nothing new for her.

Joe Barton’s fall from grace happened quickly. Last week, a nude selfie rumored to be from the longtime North Texas Congressman began circulating on social media. Barton apologized for the photo and text, saying he’d sent them to a woman he was dating.

flickr user longhorndave

While Dallas and Houston have been wrestling with very public battles over their pensions for city employees, Fort Worth has been nursing a pension crisis of its own for years. Now, city officials are working to find solutions.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Black Friday news flash: North Texans plan to spend more on gifts and entertainment than the average American — way more, according to the consulting company Deloitte. That’s a longstanding trend, according to the firm’s annual survey of holiday shoppers.

Shutterstock

A North Texas money manager wants to make America great again, one investment at a time.

For people concerned about a portfolio that undermines their partisan preferences, a new exchange-traded fund – ticker symbol: MAGA – was built from the most GOP-friendly companies. The fund’s founder calls it “politically responsible investing,” likening it to cause-based, social responsibility investment strategies.

US Department of Justice

Without the right policies in place, putting body cameras on police does nothing to make them more accountable and could exacerbate racial disparities when it comes to policing, civil rights advocates say.

A new scorecard rating the body camera policies of 75 big city police departments across the country finds that the vast majority have lots of room for improvement, including the half dozen Texas departments included in the report.

LYNDA GONZALEZ / KUT

After a tragedy, people often want to find a way to help. And after Sunday’s church shooting in Sutherland Springs, people across the country have been taking action to show their support. But experts say it’s critical to make sure donations go to the people who need them.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth is growing fast. And while all that growth is exciting, it comes with challenges the city must meet.

That’s what Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke recently told business leaders.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Amazon set off a big, public scramble when it announced last month it was looking for sites for a second North American headquarters.

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