Paul Burka

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.


One More Post About Perry’s Future

Perry told Bloomberg News that he would announce his decision about whether he would seek a full fourth term as governor by July 1. Why is he holding off on his reelect announcement?

UT/TT Poll on Perry, Cruz, and Abbott

The latest approval numbers aren’t terribly surprising. 

Immigration, Border Security, and the Rio Grande Valley

The battle over securing the border has shifted from Arizona to Texas, according to the New York Times.

Grading the Perry Vetoes

Perry’s vetoes did very little damage to the record of the Eighty-third Legislature.

Discussing Our Best/Worst Legislator List on Trib Live

Brian D. Sweany, Erica Grieder, Sonia Smith and I joined Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune to talk about our picks for the 2013 Ten Best/Ten Worst Legislators list.

The Best and Worst Legislators 2013

The legislators that shaped the Eighty-third Legislative session, for good and bad.

Opening the Call

Governor Rick Perry on Tuesday added abortion and juvenile sentencing to the special session call.

The Debate Over Accountability and Rigor

Governor Rick Perry deserves praise for being on the right side of the rigor debate.

Best and Worst: Coming Soon

The final touches on the magazine story will be completed today and the names will be tweeted on Texas Monthly’s Twitter account next Wednesday at high noon. 

The Best and Worst Legislators 2011

For the Eighty-second Legislature (our twentieth at the Capitol), everything old was new again: the state faced a budget deficit; the governor harbored presidential ambitions; the members of the Best list were hard to find; and the names on the Worst list picked themselves.

The Best and Worst Legislators 2009

It was a new era at the Capitol, with a new Speaker and a new mood of peace, love, and bipartisanship in the war-torn House. But the eighty-first legislative session turned out to be a lot like the eighty that came before it—some heroes, some villains, and enough hot air to last until 2011.

The Best and Worst Legislators 2007

The eightieth session began with a Speaker’s race, ended with a Speaker’s race, and was consumed in between by the usual mix of nuanced issues and nasty politics. Along the way, a handful of lawmakers put the common good ahead of all else. And a handful of lawmakers didn’t.

Sine Die for the 83rd Legislature

The 83rd Legislature was the best session in many years, going back to at least 2003, when Republicans completed their sweep of Texas politics by securing a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Deal

The sticking point in the budget negotiations between the House and Senate was the System Benefit Fund.