Shelley Kofler

News Director

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 Clubââââââââ

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Texas
2:20 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Low Oil Prices Fueling A Texas Recession? Economists Disagree

"Hitchhacking" via Flickr

Economists don’t seem to agree on whether the plummeting price of oil could cause a recession in Texas next year.

The price per barrel has dropped to $55, about half of where it was during the first part of 2014.

Michael Feroli, the chief U.S. economist at J.P. Morgan Chase, recently told clients that Texas is “at risk of slipping into a regional recession” because of the decline in oil prices. 

However, Economist Michael Plante with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, doesn’t think a recession is on the horizon.

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2014 Republican Lt. Gov. Runoff
9:46 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Primary Opponent Jerry Patterson Tells KERA He's Endorsing Dewhurst Over Patrick

State Sen. Dan Patrick, left, and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, right, are competing in a May 27 runoff election.
Daniel Kramer / Michael Stravato Texas Tribune

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 1:31 pm

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst got some good news this weekend in his uphill battle to hold onto his job. A former foe, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, told KERA he will be endorsing Dewhurst. The news comes two days after Dewhurst, the incumbent, and Dan Patrick, the frontrunner, debated in Houston.

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Same-Sex Marriage
4:08 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

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 10:30 am

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.

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2014 Election Campaign
10:26 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Texas Primary Primer: For John Cornyn, A Stockman Surprise -- And How Other Races Are Shaping Up

Rep. Steve Stockman is challenging incumbent Sen. John Cornyn in the Republican primary.

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:28 pm

Tea party activists have been gunning for Sen. John Cornyn. But even they were surprised when Steve Stockman, a Republican Congressman from the Houston suburb of Friendswood, filed on the last possible day to run against Cornyn in the March Republican primary. 

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Texas Politics
3:11 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Democrats Await Van de Putte's Decision As Candidate Filing Begins

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte talks to a supporter in Arlington.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 7:39 pm

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis both plan to officially file as candidates for governor on Saturday. It’s the first day of a month-long period where Democrats and Republicans can do that.

In Arlington Thursday night Rep. Chris Turner and Democrats urged State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio to join Davis on the ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor. 

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Texas Politics
9:32 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Greg Abbott Defends Stricter Abortion Law, While Opponents Ask Judge To Delay It

Gregg Abbott talked about abortion law after receiving an endorsement at a pancake restaurant in Dallas.
Shelley Kofler KERA News

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:00 am

In Dallas on Monday, Attorney General Greg Abbott defended a new state abortion law being challenged in federal court this week.

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Race
4:03 am
Thu July 4, 2013

Mexican Roots Bind Families Who Settled Early In Texas

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 4:19 pm

Unlike many places in America where Latinos are a relatively new minority group, Texas Hispanics were there before white Anglos. In some ways, having once been part of Mexico has lessened the tensions between whites and Latinos. But that's not always the case.

(For an extended version of this story, along with a gallery of images, visit KERA's website: Latino Roots Run Deeper In Texas.)

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Texas Legislature
6:47 am
Tue March 12, 2013

State Lawmaker Says Expanded Newborn Testing Will Save Lives

Office of Rep. Myra Crownover

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 12:44 pm

On Wednesday state lawmakers on the House Public Health Committee will consider screening newborns for congenital heart defects. The bill filed by Denton Republican Myra Crownover continues her efforts to expand genetic testing for babies.

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Texas Education
5:00 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Judge Finds Texas School Funding System Unconstitutional

Sara Robberson Special to KERA

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 11:27 pm

District Judge John Dietz has ruled the Texas school finance system, which serves over 5 million public schoolchildren, is unconstitutional. 

“The court declares the school finance system  is not adequately funded and therefore fails to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of the system,” Dietz said Monday, explaining one of the reasons he ruled against the state. 

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Texas Legislature
1:24 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

State-of-the-State Analysis: Will Lawmakers Buy Perry's Tax Cut?

Texas Tribune

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:00 am

Two SMU political science professors disagree on whether Governor Rick Perry’s call for a tax cut will sail through the legislature. We asked professors Cal Jillson and Matthew Wilson to watch the governor’s state-of-the state speech yesterday and tell us what impressed them.

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