Brian D. Sweany's Profile Photo

Brian D. Sweany has been the editor in chief of Texas Monthly since July 2014. A native Texan who was born on Texas Independence Day, he began his career in journalism as an intern at the magazine in 1996, and in the intervening years, he held nearly every possible job in the editorial department. Before being promoted to his current post, he was a senior executive editor in charge of Texas Monthly's political coverage. Sweany has also worked as an assistant professor in the journalism department at Ithaca College, in New York, and as a senior editor at D Magazine, in Dallas. He is active in a number of civic and volunteer organizations, serving on the boards of the Texas Book Festival, the Texas Cultural Trust, and the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, in Denton. He lives in Austin with his wife, two children, and an ever-growing manuscript for The Kingdom of the Saddle, a biography of Charles Goodnight to be published by Penguin.

Politics & Policy |
March 3, 2014

The Primaries Cometh

It’s that time of the primary season that reminds me a lot of the endless run-up to the Super Bowl: One, it goes without saying that I love the game. Two, I can’t stand to read yet another story about the game before it’s actually played. So let’s kick-off already.

Politics & Policy |
February 28, 2014

The Texas Future Business Alliance

At long last, the business community seems to have awakened to the fact that there is an election going on. The Texas Future Business Alliance PAC has raised–wait for it–$112,000 to support members who favor infrastructure improvements.I wish I could celebrate the news, but the truth is that contributing $112,000

Politics & Policy |
February 26, 2014

Gay Marriage and the Governor’s Race

Here is part of the text of the ruling issued by federal district judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio earlier today: “Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent.

Politics & Policy |
February 26, 2014

Dan Branch v. Ken Paxton

Gromer Jeffers of the Dallas Morning News has written a story that is fascinating indeed: four Republican lawmakers–all Christian conservatives–have fallen prey to what they claim is a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a McKinney businessman who once claimed to have discovered Noah’s Ark. The politicians involved (Ken Paxton,

Politics & Policy |
February 26, 2014

Weakest GOP Field Ever?

The candidates on the Republican ballot may compose the weakest ticket in terms of career accomplishments the Republican party has ever laid before voters. Take the race for comptroller: The four candidates (Harvey Hilderbran, Glenn Hegar, Debra Medina, Raul Torres) have thin resumes, Hilderbran excepted (he has been chairman of

Politics & Policy |
February 24, 2014

The UT/Texas Trib Poll

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll results today are not surprising. They show Greg Abbott with a hefty 47-36 lead over Wendy Davis in the race for governor, with 17 percent undecided. That lead is to be expected; of more concern for the Davis campaign should be their inability

Politics & Policy |
February 20, 2014

The Next UT Chancellor

Rick Perry will undoubtedly get his way in naming the next chancellor of the University of Texas System. Kyle Janek, the executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services and a former state senator and lobbyist, appears to be Perry’s choice for the job. Will regents question his fitness for

Politics & Policy |
February 17, 2014

Buy, Buy Ad Time

It’s worth spending some time perusing the Texas Tribune‘s revealing graph tracking candidates’ ad buys in the major markets of the state. Of the various graphs reflecting candidates’ network TV expenditures leading up to the March 4 primary elections, the most significant one was the comparison between Hegar

Politics & Policy |
February 10, 2014

Another Attack on Joe Straus

Joe Straus’s enemies are out in force once again, trying to make a mountain out of a molehill — namely, the issue of diverting gasoline tax revenue to other uses. Let me state unequivocally that diversions are a phony issue. They are not an affront to transparency. The only diversion

Politics & Policy |
February 7, 2014

Debra Medina’s Prospects

Can Debra Medina throw a monkey wrench into the race for comptroller? She doesn’t have the money to compete with the two leading candidates, Hegar and Hilderbran, but she has residual name I.D. and a loyal following left over from her 2010 race for governor. (See my colleague Erica Grieder’s

Politics & Policy |
February 6, 2014

Slate Card Politics in Harris County

For years Harris County politics has been controlled by a small group of political operatives and consultants. Foremost among these is Steven Hotze, a doctor who heads an organization called the Conservative Republicans of Texas (CRT). The CRT and other groups Hotze is affiliated with send out mailers

Politics & Policy |
February 5, 2014

Greg Abbott and the Border

Attorney general Greg Abbott’s $345 million border security plan is almost certainly doomed to fail. The border region is so huge and comprises so many millions of acres that it defies the ability of state government to enforce whatever security issues may arise. Every Republican candidate this election cycle has

Politics & Policy |
January 30, 2014

Tuition Increases at Texas A&M

UPDATE: I spoke with a friend and high-ranking official at Texas A&M who reminded me that the Aggies have the lowest tuition of any school in the prestigious Association of American Universities.The news from Texas A&M that the board of regents is contemplating an increase in tuition and fees at

Politics & Policy |
January 29, 2014

State of the Union

I thought President Obama’s State of the Union address was pretty predictable. In past years he has used the speech to lay out what amounts to a laundry list of his programs for Democrats to use in the upcoming congressional elections. And that’s exactly what he did. What was not

Politics & Policy |
January 23, 2014

The Ted Cruz Experience

Good morning, Texans. It’s great to see you all on BurkaBlog, and I’m tickled that I can start my time here by referring you to my profile of Ted Cruz–the cover story for our February issue. I began reporting this story in July. The idea was to publish

Politics & Policy |
January 22, 2014

New Names on Burkablog

In the eight years or so that I have been writing this blog, I have invited a couple of writers, such as Patricia Kilday Hart and Nate Blakeslee, to contribute posts. But for the most part, it has been me and me alone. So I’m pleased to announce that I’ve

Politics & Policy |
December 9, 2013

The Dan Branch Effect

I take a dim view of Dan Branch’s campaign for attorney general. A former member of our Best legislators list, Branch is in the process of ruining himself by running away from who he really is, which is a mainstream Republican. On Sunday, the Houston Chronicle