The dean of the Capitol press corps, senior executive editor Paul Burka joined the staff of Texas Monthly one year after the magazine’s founding, in 1973. For nearly forty years he has led the magazine’s political coverage and spearheaded its storied roundup of the Best and Worst Legislators each biennium. A lifelong Texan, he was born in Galveston, graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in history, and received a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.
Burka is a member of the State Bar of Texas and spent five years as an attorney with the Texas Legislature, where he served as counsel to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Burka won a National Magazine Award for reporting excellence in 1985 and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and teaches at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a frequent guest discussing politics on national news programs on MSNBC, Fox, NBC, and CNN.
For the past four years, a group of passionate reformers has been steadily trying to remake how higher education works in Texas—over the screams and howls of many professors and school presidents. Last year the battle came to UT. And the bombs are still flying.
Before Robert Scott stepped down as the state’s education commissioner in July, he told anyone who would listen that high-stakes standardized exams were ruining the public schools. But is it too late to learn from his lesson?
In Republican-dominated Texas, the May 29 primary might as well have been the general election. And what it revealed is a party perfectly capable of doing battle with itself, no Democrats required.
You might think they’re invincible, but Texas Republicans could soon find themselves in peril. At least that’s what Steve Munisteri says. And he should know.
Dear Jim Crane, new owner of the Houston Astros: Please don’t screw things up as badly as the last guy did.
Will Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin help the U.S. Supreme Court decide affirmative action once and for all? Not likely, which is why it's time to let public universities make their own decision about which students to accept.
Since 1984, the State of Texas has battled one school finance lawsuit after another. In nearly every case, the system has been ruled unequal, unfair, and unconstitutional—yet it remains largely unchanged. Will this time be any different?
When Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history loses his first campaign ever, what happens to him? More importantly, what happens to us?
Texas A&M’s announcement that it was bolting the Big 12 for the SEC signaled the end of a passionate rivalry with the University of Texas that has defined the two schools for more than a century. But what does the end of Aggies versus Longhorns mean for the rest of us?
With two chances to win the World Series with a single strike, the championship slipped away from the Rangers for the second year in a row.
You didn’t ask, but here’s some free advice for you and the rest of the national press corps as you prepare to write about Rick Perry.
How architecture changed the balance of power at the Legislature and other observations from my three decades covering Texas politics.
Whose coastline is it anyway? How the state Supreme Court may be undermining decades of unlimited public access to the sand and surf.
The worst deficit facing Texas right now is not the one in our budget: it’s the leadership deficit.