Shelley Kofler

Managing Editor/Senior Reporter

Shelley Kofler is managing editor/senior reporter for KERA News. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who has served as KERA news director and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV. Her expertise on legislative policy issues includes school finance, foster care and transportation; and her stories on the overmedication of foster children captured the attention of state officials who strengthened laws for the use of psychotropic drugs.

Shelley also covered government issues for North Texas NBC affiliate KXAS-TV and worked with KERA on numerous public affairs projects including nationally broadcast programs. She has reported on statewide elections and presidential primaries since the late 1980s. She also founded and operated her own communications firm, Kofler Communications, in Dallas and Austin. She served as a communications strategist and media trainer for various companies, agencies and public officials.

Shelley and the KERA news team have received numerous journalism awards for their public radio and television work. In addition to all-staff honors she has been individually singled out with a first place Edward R. Murrow award for a series of reports on the Trinity toll road decision; first place honors for political reporting from the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Association and the Houston Press Club’s Lone Star competition; a first place award for covering water issues and the battle over building the Marvin Nichols dam; and a first place Lone Star award for hosting a call-in show about employment entitled, “Getting Back to Work.”

As news director, Shelley organized and participated in KERA’s coverage of the 2010 Texas gubernatorial race. She moderated the statewide-televised primary debate among Republicans: Governor Rick Perry, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and candidate Debra Medina. The debate aired in every TV and radio market in Texas.

Shelley joined the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas board in 2011. She’s a native “Hoosier” from Indiana but has lived in Texas for more than two decades. She’s happiest when she can slip on her hiking boots and explore a new trail.


3:33 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Transportation Vote Fails In Texas House

State of Texas


It appears state lawmakers will not pass new transportation funding in the special session that ends tomorrow, though long-time observers say there are procedural moves that leave a small window of opportunity.

This afternoon the Texas House could not muster the 100 votes needed to  send HJR 2  to voters next year.  Just 84 representatives voted in favor of the bill but because it would amend the constitution the support of two-thirds of House members was necessary.  

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4:58 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Is She In? Wendy Davis On Running For Governor And Life As A Teenage Mom

Wendy Russell in elementary school, 4th or 5th grade.
Office of Sen. Wendy Davis

With Republicans Greg Abbott and Tom Pauken already campaigning for governor, Texans want to know whether Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth will challenge them from the Democratic side.

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3:07 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Davis Raises Nearly $1 Million Following Her Filibuster

Texas Tribune

It appears State Sen. Wendy Davis’s filibuster did more than temporarily derail the abortion bill.

It also sparked a fundraising frenzy that netted her $933,000 in the final two weeks of June.

That means Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat, has more than one million dollars in the bank as she considers whether to run for governor.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott meanwhile collected  $4.78 million during the final two weeks of June and has more than $20 million available for his campaign.

Here’s the breakdown in donations provided by Davis’ office:

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4:28 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

Abbott Kicks Off Race For Governor

Lead in text: 
Attorney General Greg Abbott touted his prosecution of child predators and his legal challenges to "overreaching" Washington policies as he announced his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in San Antonio. In the coming week he'll visit 10 cities in five days, including Duncanville on Tuesday. Abbott attended high school there.
SAN ANTONIO - With his wife and daughter at his side, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott kicked off his campaign for governor Sunday in San Antonio's sun-drenched La Villita plaza, where he promised to fight for a Texas of "boundless opportunity and limitless imagination."
4:50 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

The Latest Weapons In Austin's Abortion Battle? You Won't Believe It

An unidentified woman has her bag searched by a DPS officer outside the Senate chambers.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update, Saturday 11 a.m.: Pro-abortion-rights protesters say they don't believe the DPS statement about feces and urine, and the Texas Tribune couldn't find a single DPS officer who reported confiscating bodily fluids.

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5:58 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Greg Abbott Expected To Announce Run For Governor Sunday

Lead in text: 
A spokesman says Attorney General Greg Abbott will make "an important announcement" Sunday near San Antonio's famed Riverwalk. It is widely expected Abbott will announce his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
Perry has been governor longer than anyone in Texas history but announced Monday that he was not running again â clearing the way for Abbott to cruise to the Republican nomination in primaries now set for March. Abbott eventually sued the owner of the tree and a tree trimming company that had worked in the area.
5:54 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Pro-Choice Democrats Take Abortion Message On The Road

Pro-choice Democrats take their battle against abortion restrictions on the road.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Republicans in the Texas House have passed the bill that bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  It’s now headed to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass.

Knowing they don’t have enough votes to stop the bill, pro-choice Democrats are taking their fight to the streets. Their “Stand With Texas Women” road trip”  stopped in Dallas Wednesday morning.

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2:29 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Pro-Choice Lawmakers Lay Foundation For Court Battle Over Abortion Bill

Rep. Rafael Anchia, a Dallas Democrat, argued the abortion bill tentatively passed by the Texas House is unconstitutional.
Shelley Kofler, KERA

Final approval from the Texas House could come as early as today for a ban on most abortions beyond 20-weeks of pregnancy. 

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10:29 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Thousands Rally As Texas House Prepares For Abortion Vote

Blue-clad supporters of abortion restrictions square off with orange pro-choice opponents on the Capitol steps Monday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon KUT News

The steps of the state Capitol were awash in orange and blue Monday night as the Texas House prepares for the abortion bill to come to the floor Tuesday.

After pro-choice activists packed the Capitol and helped kill abortion restrictions two weeks ago, the right-to-life crowd is leaving nothing to chance.

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9:14 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Abbott Assumed To Be Frontrunner As Perry Decides Against Reelection

Gov. Rick Perry shows off his new granddaughter at event where he made announcement that he won't run again for Texas governor.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Attorney General Greg Abbott is saying little about his plans to run for governor- even though he became the perceived front-runner in next year’s campaign when Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he won’t seek a fourth term. 

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