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.


Class Warfare

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?

Is There Life After Rick Perry?

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?

Farmers Flight!

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?

Strike Two

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.

Dear Yankee

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.

Capitol Affair

How architecture changed the balance of power at the Legislature and other observations from my three decades covering Texas politics.

20 Sessions

A brief history of every Legislature we’ve ever covered.

Out of Beach?

Whose coastline is it anyway? How the state Supreme Court may be undermining decades of unlimited public access to the sand and surf.

Less Than Hero

The worst deficit facing Texas right now is not the one in our budget: it’s the leadership deficit.

Old College Try

Rick Perry's quiet war on higher ed.

Who’s the Boss?

The Speaker’s race in the Texas House wasn’t just about Joe Straus. It was about two competing visions of democracy.

Power Company

As we head into the most critical legislative session in decades—maybe ever—the question is not just, Who are the people with the most clout at the Capitol? It’s also, What do they want?

Let There Be Right

The Republicans whipped the Democrats in November. Now what are they going to do?

Bush v. Perry

Comparing Rick Perry's 2010 campaign to George W. Bush's 1998 reelection campaign.

Dem Bums

Bill White’s toughest foe this fall isn’t Rick Perry. It’s the national Democrats. But he could still win. Maybe.