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 |
August 1, 2013

The Transportation Problem

“Transparency” is a word that is frequently invoked in the Capitol. But it is honored more often in the breach than the observance. Take the current battle over transportation funding. The problem is that the state has chosen to finance transportation by issuing bonds. This is a clever way to

Politics & Policy |
July 29, 2013

Dan Branch Responds

Last week I wrote a post regarding Dan Branch’s announcement for attorney general, in which I lamented whether candidates will ever again run for higher office by explaining how they will execute the specific duties of that office. Branch took exception to my analysis and has sent in

Politics & Policy |
July 29, 2013

The Law and Farmers Branch

Last week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the City of Farmers Branch, located northwest of Dallas, which sought to pass an immigration enforcement ordinance that would have prohibited landlords from renting to immigrants who were deemed unlawfully present and authorized arrest and prosecution of landlords

Politics & Policy |
July 26, 2013

The Death of George Mitchell

George Mitchell, one of the greatest Texans of his time, has died at the age of 94. He had been in failing health for several months. In addition to the contributions he made to Texas, Mitchell was a generous benefactor to Texas A&M and to his (and my) hometown of

Politics & Policy |
July 25, 2013

Ted Cruz and the Hispanic Vote

Today the Washington Examiner published the results of a poll that was provided by Ted Cruz’s staff and taken six weeks after the 2012 general election. The survey shows that Hispanics favored Democrat Paul Sadler over Cruz 60 percent to 40 percent and Obama over Romney 59

Politics & Policy |
July 25, 2013

As Attorney General, I Promise to . . .

When I read about Dan Branch’s announcement of why he is running for attorney general — “I’m running to fight against an overreaching federal government, to fight for open and accountable government, and to preserve limited government in Texas” — it caused me to wonder whether anyone will

Politics & Policy |
July 12, 2013

Is Susan Combs Running?

Is it possible that Susan Combs, having already announced that she will retire from public life after serving out her term as comptroller, is still trying to find a niche for herself in the 2014 primaries?Here’s an article she sent to her mailing list, which was forwarded

Politics & Policy |
July 3, 2013

The Wet Blanket

Following the filibuster by Wendy Davis, I wrote a cautionary post on Burkablog in which I pointed out that the euphoria that flourished in the wake of her memorable performance was not a game-changer; that Democrats would be wise to keep their enthusiasm in check, lest they raise

Politics & Policy |
June 27, 2013

Two Thirds? Or Not Two Thirds?

With another special session set to begin on July 1, the issue arises of how the Senate will handle the two-thirds rule. Will there be a blocker bill? Will the tradition be honored?The history is that in 2003, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst made the decision that the two-thirds rule would

Politics & Policy |
June 24, 2013

Williams v. Patrick

In the ongoing sniper fire that is taking place between Senate Finance chair Tommy Williams and Education chair Dan Patrick, I am in total agreement with Williams. If you are appointed to the Finance committee, you are obligated to support the committee’s work. This has been the practice

Politics & Policy |
May 24, 2013

Regarding David Dewhurst

Poor David Dewhurst. He occupies what was once widely considered to be the most powerful office in the state. Now he is reduced to begging Rick Perry to help him pass his pet legislation so that he can have something to take to the voters. Dewhurst has had plenty of

Burka Blog |
May 23, 2013

The Budget Moves Forward

They should have stamped “fragile” on the House budget package. That is how tricky it was to assemble. Chairman Pitts tried to explain to the tea party members that there was no money in SJR 1; it’s just a vessel for moving future payments into the Rainy Day Fund for

Politics & Policy |
May 22, 2013

About Last Night

Haven’t we seen this picture before? Speaker Straus performs well for most of the session, but when crunch time comes, he can’t close the deal. His team has no cohesion (except for Geren), and there doesn’t appear to be a strategy. So Straus falls back into his old persona of

Politics & Policy |
May 21, 2013

Confirming the New UT Regents

UPDATE: The Nominations Committee has approved all three nominees the UT System Board of Regents. The full Senate will take up nominations next.I walked in the east door of the Capitol yesterday with Senator John Whitmire. He asked if I was going to nominations. I said I was.

Politics & Policy |
May 18, 2013

Elements of the Budget Deal

These were the final elements of the budget deal that was reached yesterday: –Add $200 million to the Foundation School Program –Use a portion of TRS funding to get to $3.9 billion, the Democrats’ target amount for restoring the school cuts The major point of disagreement arose over the System

Politics & Policy |
May 16, 2013

Williams, Perry, and the Budget

This morning I wrote about the prospects for a budget deal, the topic du jour that is uppermost in everyone’s mind. The post contained, among other comments, this line: “House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had ‘misled’ them.” That is what I was told by

Politics & Policy |
May 16, 2013

Things Fall Apart

As we tweeted last night as events were rapidly developing, the hopes for a budget deal that would send everyone home happy appeared to evaporate yesterday. House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had “misled” them. Dewhurst showed up in the House chamber and disappeared into the back

Politics & Policy |
May 8, 2013

Disorganization in the House

Yesterday’s scene at the end of the floor session in the House was all too familiar. The proceedings limped to a close. Members milled about in the aisles. A major tax-cut bill, HB 500, was on the calendar but hardly anyone knew what was in it. Or cared. This scene