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.


Cap and Tirade

Especially in Texas, the fight over carbon restrictions might make health care reform look like, well, a tea party.

Don Yarborough’s Texas

It was an era when segregation and civil rights were still issues and liberals had a base from which to run. That Texas is gone.

Lowe and Behold

An open letter to the lucky new chair of the most dysfunctional agency in Texas, the State Board of Education.

No Man’s Island

A year has passed since Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston, but my hometown is still reeling from a storm without end.


Rick Perry is the first Aggie governor in history. But as the current crisis shows, he’s been nothing but trouble for Texas A&M.

The Secret of My Secession

Rick Perry, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and the two visions of Texas.

Can Anyone Save the Aggies? (Hint: It won’t be Rick Perry.)

Politics, leadership struggles, and the recent resignation of President Elsa Murano have some Aggies in crisis mode.

Elephant Dung

Political grandstanding, no leadership—is this a dismal legislative session or what?

Regular Joe

How a nobody became the somebody nearly everybody wanted to replace Speaker Tom Craddick.

Manic Suppression

Why voter ID is bad for democracy.

The Thrilla in Vanilla

The looming clash between Republican gubernatorial candidates Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison may not be as fearsome as the storied Ali-Frazier bout, but it’s the heavyweight showdown every Texas political junkie has been waiting for.

The Idiot’s Guide to the Speaker’s Race

How it works, what it means, and why Tom Craddick may not end up holding the gavel this time around.

Straus of Representatives

The likely Speaker of the House promises no retaliation, an end to the acrimony, and tells his fellow Republicans to “wake up!”

Two-Party Animal

Why November 4 was a good day for everyone.