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.

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Politics
10:49 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Ted Nugent Appearing With Greg Abbott An 'Insult To Every Woman,' Wendy Davis Says

Ted Nugent appeared with Greg Abbott in Denton Tuesday morning.
Alana Rocha (@viaAlana) Texas Tribune

Rock musician Ted Nugent appeared with Republican governor hopeful Greg Abbott in North Texas this morning – and that’s attracting criticism from Wendy Davis, Abbott’s Democratic rival.

Davis, in Fort Worth this morning, said she thought that Abbott appearing with Nugent on the first day of early voting spoke volumes about the Republican candidate, saying it was “an insult to every woman.” Davis said that’s because Nugent has demeaned women verbally and otherwise.

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Government
6:51 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Dallas Mayor Says Company Suing City Is Playing A 'Game Of Poker'

Citizens opposed to gas drilling in Dallas opposed Trinity East's plans during city meetings.
BJ Austin, KERA

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says a $30 million lawsuit filed Thursday by Trinity East Energy is the latest in a “game of poker.” The gas drilling company is suing the city, claiming it breached a contract that would have allowed it to drill on city property. 

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Politics
1:30 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

GOP Ponders Who Could Beat Dallas D.A. Watkins

Former Judge Susan Hawk and ex-prosecutor Tom Nowak at Garland tea party debate.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Who could beat Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in the fall?  That issue is at the heart of the race between two former prosecutors who want the GOP nomination. 

Republicans trying to break the control Democrats hold in Dallas County have set their sights on Watkins.

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1:20 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Rhetoric Between Davis And Abbott Heat Up Over Border Reference

Lead in text: 
The battle over the border is escalating between Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott and the likely Democratic nominee Wendy Davis. It began last week when Abbott likened public corruption in South Texas to “third-world country practices” while unveiling his border security plan while in Dallas. Davis calls Abbott's comment "divisive" and says it's harmful to economic development along the border. Abbott may say more on the subject when he makes a campaign appearance in El Paso today.
The latest debate between the major candidates for governor is taking place in the letters to the editor section of McAllen's newspaper, The Monitor. The sparring began after remarks about the border made by Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, in which he compared public corruption in South Texas to "third-world country practices."
Government
12:01 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Commissioner Says Dallas County Shouldn't Spend More Money To Update Voter Records

Erik Hersman (cc) flickr

Dallas County Commissioners are discussing whether to pony up more money to reach voters whose photo IDs don’t match their elections records.

The Democratic county judge says it’s an effort to make sure everyone who’s registered gets to vote, but the commission’s lone Republican thinks there’s another reason.

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Politics
9:33 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Wendy Davis' Child Custody Claim 'Mostly True,' PolitiFact Texas Declares

Wendy Davis met with voters in Fort Worth last fall.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been in the spotlight recently regarding her life story. News reports have suggested that Davis embellished her personal story of being a single, teen mother who escaped poverty by working hard and eventually getting a law degree. 

In addition, while she earned a degree from Harvard Law School, her two daughters mostly lived in Texas with her husband. The Dallas Morning News reported: "When Davis and her husband divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support."

In a Tuesday speech, Davis said she never gave up custody of her children.

Is Davis telling the truth? PolitiFact Texas says it's "mostly true."

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Politics
6:51 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Fact-Check: Staples' Claim About Dewhurst's Security 'Mostly True' But Misleading

Jerry Patterson, Dan Patrick, Todd Staples and David Dewhurst at the Jan. 27 Texas Debate at KERA.
KERA News

Is it true that David Dewhurst is the first lieutenant governor in Texas to have a tax-supported security detail? Journalists with PolitiFact Texas, a fact-checking project, decided to find out after the claim was made by candidate Todd Staples during this week’s GOP lieutenant governor debate at KERA. 

They found the answer isn’t as simple as you might think.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Has Lt. Gov. Candidate Jerry Patterson Changed His End-Of-Life Views?

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson debating at the KERA studios.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Earlier this week, the Republicans running for lieutenant governor participated in the Texas Debates at KERA -- and they agreed on at least one thing:

All four said a judge was wrong when he ordered John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth to honor the wishes of a family and disconnect the ventilator of a brain-dead woman who was pregnant.

But, in an earlier debate, candidate Jerry Patterson said end-of-life decisions should be made by the family.

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Politics
3:45 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Wendy Davis' Daughters Counter Claims Mom Embellished Her Life Story

Wendy Davis with her daughters, Amber (left), and Dru, when she announced she was running for governor.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera Texas Tribune

The campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has released letters from her two adult daughters who say they want to correct “untrue things” and “ludicrous comments” about their mother.

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Politics
4:54 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Lieutenant Governor Candidates Square Off In KERA Debate

The GOP lieutenant governor candidates (clockwise from top left): Jerry Patterson; Dan Patrick; Todd Staples; David Dewhurst.
Bob Daemmrich Texas Tribune

Tonight at 8, the four Republicans running for lieutenant governor will meet at KERA studios in a debate being televised statewide.

With primary competition in the governor’s race, and Gov. Rick Perry not running for reelection, the lieutenant governor’s contest is taking on added importance in the March 4 primary.

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