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.


12:01 am
Tue March 4, 2014

In The GOP Lieutenant Governor's Contest, It's A Race For Second

GOP Lt. Governor Candidates faced off on statewide TV in a live debate from KERA's Dallas studios. L to R: Jerry Patterson, Dan Patrick, Todd Staples, David Dewhurst

As Texans decide primary races today, the name of the game in the GOP contest for lieutenant governor is coming in second and forcing the leading candidate into a runoff. 

Read more
2:30 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

On Election Day, Be Picture-Perfect With A Photo ID

KC Ivey flickr

Here’s a reminder that will make it easier and faster to vote Tuesday: Take one of the seven approved forms of a photo ID with you.

Read more
Texas News
10:30 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Greg Abbott Faces Law School Friend As Plaintiff In Same-Sex Marriage Suit

Mark Phariss, left, and Victor Holmes of Plano filed suit to end the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas. Phariss is a law school friend of Attorney General Greg Abbott, who's defending the state.

Friends from decades ago are at the center of the emotionally-charged, legal battle over same-sex marriage in Texas. 

But they’re on opposite sides.

Plano attorney Mark Phariss is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to a federal judge ruling Wednesday that Texas' ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Greg Abbott, the state attorney general and candidate for governor, is defending the ban and has filed notice he’ll appeal the judge’s ruling.

Read more
Texas News
8:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Greg Abbott Went To Law School With A Plaintiff In Gay Marriage Suit He’s Fighting

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott at an earlier campaign appearance in North Texas. He went to law school with one of the plaintiffs in the Texas gay marriage case.
Doualy Xaykaothao KERA News

What does Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have in common with Mark Phariss, one of the plaintiffs who sued the state to challenge its gay marriage ban?

They were law school classmates. They knew each other. Phariss tells KERA they were good friends.

And now the attorney general and Phariss, an attorney who lives in Plano with his long-time partner, are on opposite sides of Texas’ brewing battle over gay marriage.

Phariss told KERA Thursday morning that during law school at Vanderbilt, he discussed politics over dinner with Abbott and his wife. Phariss is a Democrat, Abbott a Republican.

Read more
7:46 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

In Political World, Striking Down Texas' Same-Sex Marriage Ban Creates Quite A Stir

The court ruling that strikes down the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas will be appealed.

Same-sex marriage has long faced opposition in Texas, especially among Republicans. But, across the country, same-sex marriage is gaining supporters. That could change attitudes in Texas, which may ultimately affect the way political candidates treat the issue.

Read more
6:36 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

The Race For Wendy Davis' State Senate Seat May Be Texas' Most Crucial This Year

The most strategically important legislative race this year may be in Tarrant County. It’s for the Texas Senate seat that Wendy Davis is giving up and there’s a lot at stake for both major political parties.

Read more
2:17 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Ted Nugent Apologizes, But Wendy Davis Campaign Says It's 'Not Good Enough'

Ted Nugent campaign with Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott in Denton on Tuesday.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Update: Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, responded to Ted Nugent's apology with the following statement:

"I believe Ted Nugent recognized his language was wrong and he rightly apologized. This is not the kind of language I would use or endorse in any way. It's time to move beyond this, and I will continue to focus on the issues that matter to Texans."

Original story: Ted Nugent has apologized for calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel," but a spokesman for the Wendy Davis campaign says that isn’t good enough.

Read more
12:05 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Tea Party Strength Put To The Test In North Texas GOP Primary

More than 300 tea party voters filled a Garland auditorium to hear candidates ask for their votes.
Shelley Kofler KERA

Across Texas, several incumbent Republicans are facing aggressive challengers in this year’s primary, and Ted Cruz is part of the reason why. 

His upset of David Dewhurst, the longtime lieutenant governor, in the 2012 U.S. Senate race has encouraged other tea party candidates to run for the first time. 

Read more
Texas News
11:05 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Low-Income Housing In High-Income Frisco Is Breaking Stereotypes

Ladeva Hampton, a bus driver with two sons, lives in North Court Villas in Frisco, a housing development for low-income residents.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

In recent weeks, we’ve reported on a federal housing investigation regarding where Dallas locates low-income housing. 

Some federal officials and community advocates claim Dallas discourages subsidized housing in wealthier, white parts of the city. That results in almost all of the units ending up in low-income and minority neighborhoods, primarily in southern Dallas.

But critics say it doesn’t have to be that way. They point to Frisco, a place known for its country clubs and gated communities. In this upscale Collin County suburb, a low-income development is breaking stereotypes.

Read more
8:22 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Greg Abbott Defends Appearance With Ted Nugent; Wendy Davis Calls Rocker 'Repulsive'

Rock musician and gun rights advocate Ted Nugent stumps for Republican Greg Abbott in Denton.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Rock musician Ted Nugent became the latest flashpoint in the governor’s race as early voting got underway Tuesday.

Read more