Shelley Kofler | KERA News

Shelley Kofler

Former News Director/Reporter

Shelley Kofler is a former KERA managing editor and news director who most recently served as Texas Public Radio’s news director. She moved from KERA to TPR in December 2014. Before moving to public radio, Shelley was 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. 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’s radio and television work has been honored by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Association, the Houston Press Club, and the Radio-Television Digital News Association, from whom she received a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for a series of reports on the Trinity toll road decision.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Dallas and Fort Worth school districts are ramping up efforts to enroll more eligible children in pre-kindergarten.  The push comes as gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis spar over who has a better plan for early education. 

Inside the pre-kindergarten class at Dallas’ Good Street Learning Center, it might seem like the 4-year-olds keeping time with rhythm sticks are just playing a game.

In Fort Worth today, Sen. Dan Patrick, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, again said he supports equal pay for men and women but he doesn't think government should enforce it. Patrick and incumbent Lt. Governor Davis Dewhurst will face each other in a May 27 runoff for their party's nomination. Dewhurst, who presides over the Texas Senate, has said he would again allow an equal pay measure to be voted on if enough senators wanted that to happen. The legislature passed a bill last session allowing employees more time to file equal pay claims but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Former President George W. Bush and U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were among the political elite who celebrated the life of Ray Hutchison Thursday.

The 81-year-old husband of former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison died Sunday of a heart problem, leaving behind a legacy that includes many of the biggest public projects in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Texas Tribune

Democrats in the Texas Senate are asking the lieutenant governor to investigate pay discrimination for women in state agencies, including the attorney general’s office.

It’s the latest salvo being fired by supporters of Democrat Wendy Davis, who has made equal pay a key issue in her race for governor against Republican Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

State lawmakers reviewing new graduation requirements that go into effect in the fall say they’re confusing and districts may not be prepared to implement them.

Flickr.com

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says Big D presented a competitive proposal Friday that should make the city a finalist for hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/epler/ / Jim Epler/Flickr

GOP leaders should choose Dallas for its 2016 convention because the city has plenty of hotel rooms, has the ability to raise enough funding, is centrally located, and has a proven track record of hosting big events.

Those are some of the highlights of the city's proposal to host the Republican Convention. Dallas officials have kept a tight lid on details -- until now. Today, various Dallas representatives are in Washington to make their pitch. They include Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau President Phillip Jones and retired U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. A press conference is being held this morning in Washington to discuss the city's presentation.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

After finishing 13 points behind Texas Sen. Dan Patrick in the Republican primary, incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told Republican women in Arlington on Thursday he may need to introduce himself to voters again, even though he’s held statewide office for 15 years.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Sen. Ted Cruz visited Fort Worth Wednesday night to bestow his endorsement and star power on the Republican runoff campaign of Konni Burton, a tea party candidate who wants to fill the state senate seat Wendy Davis is giving up.

David Chong / KERA News

When real estate developer Don Huffines narrowly defeated John Carona, Dallas County’s long-serving state senator, in the Republican primary, he promised to take a conservative, tea party approach to issues in Austin. 

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s campaign says he would not sign the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act, a measure that would give women more time to successfully make pay discrimination claims in state court.

Democratic opponent Wendy Davis introduced that measure in the Texas Senate last session.  The legislature passed it, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it.

Davis has hammered Abbott on the issue for two weeks claiming he doesn’t have women’s best interests at heart.

A preliminary forensics report outlines possible causes and solutions to the cracks in the concrete at the Allen High School football stadium. The most expensive and time consuming option involves the: ".. demolition of major structural and non-structural components, possibly including finished event-level facilities." The report notes that solution - could take the stadium offline for several months.

Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Paleontologists at Dallas’ Perot Musuem have discovered another new dinosaur species.

They found this pint-sized cousin to the Tyrannosaurus rex at the same site on Alaska’s North Slope where they unearthed another new dinosaur several years ago.  

Democrat Wendy Davis again accused her Republican opponent for governor of "dodging" when asked if he would have signed state legislation that guaranteed equal pay for women and all Texans. When asked about the Texas version of the federal Lilly Ledbetter law, Abbott told the television interviewer adequate protection already existed. Davis says that's not true in Texas's state courts, where Abbott as attorney general successfully defended the state against a wage discrimination claim made by a female Indian professor at Prairie View A&M University. Here's more on the story:

Daniel Kramer/Michael Stravato / Texas Tribune

As lieutenant governor candidates David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick head into a May 27 runoff election, both are standing behind comments they made last fall, even though a fact-checking group has decided some of what they said is false or misleading.

Daniel Kramer/Michael Stravato / Texas Tribune

The runoff battle for lieutenant governor took off today with Dan Patrick’s campaign saying incumbent David Dewhurst might as well give up.

Daniel Kramer/Michael Stravato / Texas Tribune

The top two finishers in the Republican race for lieutenant governor are taking a deep breath Wednesday before they come out swinging in round two.

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. 

KC Ivey / Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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.

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.

timesnewsnetwork / Flickr.com

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.

Shutterstock

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

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

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.

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. 

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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