Wade Goodwyn

Wade Goodwyn is a NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.

Reporting for NPR since 1991, Goodwyn covers a wide range of issues from politics and music to breaking news and crime and punishment. His reports have ranged from weather calamities, religion, and corruption, to immigration, obituaries, business, and high profile court cases. Texas has it all, and Goodwyn has covered it.

Over the last 15 years, Goodwyn has reported on many of the nation's top stories. He's covered the implosion of Enron, the trials of Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay, and the prosecution of polygamist Warren Jeffs. Goodwyn's reporting has included the siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and the trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in Denver. He covered the Olympic Games in Atlanta and the school shootings in Paducah Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., and Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

Among his most recent work has been the wrongful prosecution and conviction of black and Hispanic citizens in Texas and Louisiana. With American and Southwest Airlines headquartered in his backyard, coverage of the airline industry is also a constant for Goodwyn.

As Texas has moved to the vanguard in national Republican politics, Goodwyn has been at the front line as what happens politically in Texas, which is often a bellwether of the coming national political debate. He has covered the state's politicians dominating the national stage, including George W. Bush, Tom Delay and rising GOP star Texas Governor Rick Perry

Before coming to NPR, Goodwyn was a political consultant in New York City.

Goodwyn graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in history.

At the Republican State Convention in Fort Worth on Thursday, Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry and his wife gave strong signals that while the state's longest-serving Texas governor is finally stepping down, he might well be back for an encore — as a presidential contender.

While introducing her husband at what was billed as a farewell address after 14 years of running the state, Anita Perry hinted at their political future by saying there's still "tread left in our tires."

Last week, not long after a lone gunman's rampage in California, Texas witnessed an unnerving series of demonstrations.

Groups of young men, armed with tactical long rifles slung across their backs, began showing up at restaurants like Chili's and Chipotle, Sonic and Jack in the Box, to mention a few, as part of their response to another anguished gun control conversation.

The headline in the Dallas Morning News summed it up nicely: "Tea For Texas."

While the political news around the country has generally been how the Republican establishment has triumphantly held off Tea Party challengers, in Texas Tuesday it was the opposite.

David Dewhurst is a prime example of what happened. For more than a decade, all Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has done is faithfully serve the legislative agenda of one of the most conservative Republican governors in the country, Rick Perry.

Care to learn how to dock a gigantic freighter in a tight harbor? Or how to fend off pirates? There's a merchant marine simulator in Maryland where you can train for those scenarios, and more.

Although most of the country just became aware of issues with Oklahoma's capital punishment protocols last week after Clayton Lockett's bungled execution, his lawyers had been worried for months. That's because in January, two condemned men in different states but injected with the same new drug cocktail endured executions that went badly. Lockett's lawyer, Susanna Gattoni, was unable to keep him from suffering a similar fate last week.

When firetrucks blew through the small town of West, Texas, on the evening of April 17, 2013, sirens screaming, naturally everybody was curious. People got in their cars and went to see the fire at the West fertilizer plant. For 10 minutes, they watched from cars and backyards as the fire grew ever bigger. A few moved as close as they could because they were filming on their smartphones. At no time did it occur to anybody that they might be in danger.

Millions of people will be glued to TV screens Monday watching the NCAA men's college basketball championship — and some of those viewers will actually be in the stands.

Monday's Connecticut vs. Kentucky game will be played at AT&T Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys, where an enormous Mitsubishi screen hangs from the roof. It's the length of four coach buses by 72 feet high. And while the screen is ridiculously huge, the picture quality of the LED 1080 high definition is amazing.

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Well, I wanted to check out that shiny new city that he was talking about. I'm outside now at Klyde Warren Park. It's in downtown Dallas, about five acres of beautiful urban green space right in the heart of the city, opened about a year and a half ago, and it's built over an eight lane freeway. I see it right there, ducking under this park.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: You wouldn't have found it here 20 years ago.

BLOCK: And that's a familiar voice, NPR's Dallas correspondent Wade Goodwyn. Hey, Wade.

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The last two abortion clinics in Texas' Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border are closing today. New restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature last year require that doctors at abortion clinics obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Well, many hospitals have been reluctant to grant those privileges, and as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, today's closures have women's health advocates concerned.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is ahead of his leading challenger Steve Stockman, heading into Tuesday's Republican primary. Stockman was once a Tea Party favorite but he no longer enjoys their support.

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There's been a lot of talk lately about Democrats' plan to turn Texas blue. But it is at the moment an exercise in optimism. To understand just how conservative much of the state is, look no further than the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. The incumbent, veteran powerbroker David Dewhurst, is running against three strong challengers.

And as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, all four candidates have been racing each other to the right.

State Senator Wendy Davis is the Democratic hopeful. She's challenging Republican Greg Abbott, the state's attorney general. Both are expected to easily win their primaries.

Imagine you're in a college-level architecture class and your assignment is to come up with an idea so revolutionary that it could be considered an important advance in industrial design.

It would have been hard to find a happier man than Erick Munoz on that Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving.

With a healthy and delightful son toddling around the house, and his beautiful and successful wife pregnant with their second child, the fire department paramedic had everything in life that's really important. So it must have been with a feeling of disbelief and horror that Munoz knelt across the nearly lifeless body of his wife, Marlise, on the kitchen floor at 2 a.m., his fingers linking across her heart, arms pumping away in vain.

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In Fort Worth, Texas, a tragic and unusual medical ethics case is making headlines. Five weeks ago, a man found his wife unresponsive in their bed. A brain embolism is suspected. She was 14 weeks pregnant. Since then, the 33-year-old woman has lain unresponsive. But the hospital says Texas law requires they keep her alive until she delivers the child.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn has the story.

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Some of the most painful stories of 2013 came from a small community in Oklahoma, the town of Moore. It was hit by a monster F5 tornado in May. Two dozen people died. More than a thousand homes were wiped away. The damage was estimated at $2 billion. But when NPR's Wade Goodwyn returned to Moore recently, he found the worst damage might not be visible.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Stand in the middle of Lakeview Drive in Moore, and you're surrounded by a lot of wide-open Oklahoma. Turns out an F5 tornado can clear quite a stretch of land.

At 10 on a crisp West Texas morning, five camel-trekkers stand under the open sky of the Davis Mountains. A few feet away, guide Doug Baum and Jason Mayfield load up five camels.

Baum, a former zookeeper, runs the Texas Camel Corps. The group guides camel treks around the world. In the Big Bend region, camels were for a brief time widespread, and the guides have brought them back.

'As Good As They Come'

You have to like a man who brings his own camel to a camel trek. On Mayfield's arm is a tall, beautiful blond named Butter.

Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.

For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character.

Friday's 50th anniversary of assassination of President John F. Kennedy is an important moment for Dallas: The city wants to use the occasion to demonstrate how much it has changed.

In the 1960s — after the president's murder — Dallas became known around the world as "The City of Hate." And it was a hotbed of right-wing politics, a magnet for the extremes of the conservative movement at the time.

If the world would like to see evidence that Dallas is no longer the City of Hate, it need not look further than the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

In 2012 a federal court struck down Texas' ID law, ruling it would potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority voters.

But that federal decision was invalidated when the Supreme Court last year ruled part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. So now Texas is test-driving its voter ID law — one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation.

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In Texas, a federal judge has ruled that the state's new abortion restrictions are unconstitutional and will not take effect tomorrow as scheduled. The decision comes four months after Democratic candidate for governor, Wendy Davis, staged an 11-hour filibuster against the proposed constraints. Texas' attorney general expressed disappointment and vowed to appeal the federal judge's ruling.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn joins us now from Dallas to discuss the case. And, Wade, there were two parts to Judge Lee Yeakel's ruling. What did he say?

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Let's talk this morning about the fight for the future of the Republican Party. Let's begin with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. It was Cruz who led the fight against Obamacare that resulted in a partial government shutdown. He alienated colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and also won widespread praise from Tea Party Republicans.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn has this profile.

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The prosecution has wrapped up its case against the former psychiatrist accused of opening fire at Fort Hood, killing 13 people. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is representing himself, will present his case beginning tomorrow.

A new generation of BBQ chefs is making its mark in Texas. We check out a few with Texas Monthly barbecue critic Daniel Vaughn. (This piece originally aired on Morning Edition on July 23, 2013.)

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And let's hear now about a proposed airline merger. In a surprise move, the Justice Department announced yesterday that it will try to stop American Airlines and U.S. Airways from becoming one. This is largely because of two other mergers that made both Delta and United Airlines much bigger. Those deals were approved back in 2008 and 2010. Now, as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports from Dallas, the government seems determined to change course.

The proposed merger of U.S. Airways and American Airlines ran into major turbulence on Tuesday as the Justice Department and six state attorneys general filed an antitrust suit aimed at blocking the deal. Justice Department officials said the merger would eliminate competition and put consumers at risk of higher prices.

It's not even noon yet but every table out front of the Pecan Lodge in downtown Dallas is filled with veterans with barbecue heaped on their plates, smirking at the gobsmacked newbies. First timers are easily discernible by the stunned looks on their faces when they walk in and see the line.

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

Democrats see opportunity in Texas' fast-growing Latino population. But the Republican Party is strong in Texas — very strong.

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