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.


Oil and Water

The spill in the Gulf is just the latest in a string of catastrophic regulatory failures that prove how incompetent government is. And how important it is.

The Briscoe Mystery

The late governor’s time in office is more memorable for what didn’t happen than for what did.

The Little 10

I’ll give the new conference a fifty-fifty chance of lasting four years.

Dem Bums

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

The Eighteen Billion Dollar Man

Texas is facing an unprecedented deficit in the next legislative session, so to help our poor, overworked elected officials, I went ahead and balanced the budget for them. And good Lord! It wasn’t pretty.

Bush v. Perry

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

Let There Be Right

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

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?

Old College Try

Rick Perry’s quiet war on higher ed.

Less Than Hero

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

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.

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.

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.