Christopher Connelly | KERA News

Christopher Connelly

Fort Worth Reporter

Christopher Connelly is a KERA reporter based in Fort Worth. He specializes in politics and criminal justice, and his reporting is regularly picked up by national shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace.

Christopher’s a supremely versatile reporter. He profiled Opal Lee, the 89-year-old who walked many miles between Fort Worth and Washington, D.C., to make her pitch for a national Juneteenth holiday. He got a rare look inside William “Tex” Moncrief’s home while reporting on a remembrance for powerhouse lawyer Dee Kelly. A story about a reclusive state Board of Education candidate in East Texas who’d called then-President Obama a gay prostitute earned Christopher a Lone Star Award from the Houston Press Club.

His coverage of policing after five Dallas officers were gunned down on July 7, 2016 was key to KERA winning “overall excellence” honors among the biggest radio stations, public and commercial, in Texas and Oklahoma in the regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Last year, Christopher deployed to Houston to cover the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. He heard harrowing stories of evacuees and the first slow, heart-breaking steps of a family beginning to recover.

Christopher came to Texas from WYPR in Baltimore, where he was state legislative reporter. He also dodged tear-gas canisters (and lost a microphone) while covering the the unrest after the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American who died while in police custody.

He cut his public-radio teeth as a Joan B. Kroc Fellow at NPR – that’s a prestigious one-year post-graduate fellowship that allowed him to train as a reporter, show producer and digital producer at network HQ in Washington, D.C.

Christopher is a graduate of Antioch College in Ohio, and he earned a master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. He was born in Ohio, but his Texas roots run deep: He spent summers visiting family in Fort Worth.

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When President Donald Trump was sworn in, there were more than a hundred empty seats in the federal judiciary. That left open a rare opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by appointing judges to lifetime terms likely to outlast his administration.

With the end of his first year in office coming into focus, some of his supporters are frustrated with the pace of the Senate Judiciary Committee in approving nominees.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

A company in the tiny town of Moran, Texas, is facing scrutiny for one of its main products after a gunman opened fire on Las Vegas concert-goers earlier this month.

The shooter had semi-automatic rifles fitted with bump stocks, which allowed him to rain down bullets on the crowd like he had fully automatic weapons. 

Seastock / Shutterstock

When Amazon announced plans in September to build a second North American headquarters, it set off a mad scramble by cities to woo the world’s largest e-commerce company. Dallas-Fort Worth might be a strong contender for what looks to be a massive development. 

Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

John Nolley always insisted he didn't kill his friend.

He spent nearly 19 years locked up for the gruesome murder. Then, a judge released him from prison, citing evidence that undermined the jailhouse informant who testified against him – evidence never given to his lawyers during the trial.

An 81-year-old statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Oak Lawn's Lee Park can now come down. 

During a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater ruled the statue's removal didn't violate First Amendment rights. He also said the Dallas City Council didn't break its own rules when it voted Wednesday to remove the statue.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

As soon as the floodwaters receded in East Houston, the Hernandez family got to work.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

With the skies finally clearing over the Houston area, residents are getting their first chance to survey the damage and catalogue what was lost. 

Rachel Osier Lindley / KERA News

It’s been days since the waters began rising in Houston, and people are still being rescued from flooded homes. Evacuees are arriving at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. 

Courtesy of Jon McNight

Drive along Interstate 35W in Fort Worth and you'll see a painted sign on a three-story brick building: O.B. Macaroni. 

For more than a century, the building was home to a family-owned maker of macaroni and other starchy products. Now, this old landmark is getting new life: Entrepreneurs are moving in and finding space to make their own goods and expand their brands.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The first day of school is always a big deal. Kids have to get up early after a summer of sleeping in, and teachers have to plan out the year and memorize a lot of new names. For science teachers in the Fort Worth school district, the first day of school on Monday also meant talking about a historic solar eclipse going on right outside.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Lesa Roe, a leader at NASA, has been selected as the next chancellor for the University of North Texas System.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth will not join a lawsuit opposing a controversial new Texas law targeting so-called "sanctuary cities." City Council voted five to four after five hours of debate and testimony Tuesday night.

For weeks, activists opposed to Senate Bill 4 have been calling for a vote on joining the lawsuit. They got their wish, but not the result they wanted. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

The Fort Worth Police Department won’t fundamentally change the way it goes about policing the city when Senate Bill 4 gets implemented.

The law banning so-called "sanctuary cities" won’t force them to become federal immigration agents. That’s what police officials told the Fort Worth City Council members Tuesday.

JAMELAH E./FLICKR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Even on issues where Republicans and Democrats agree on a problem, they differ on solutions. Case in point: mail-in ballot fraud.

Gage Skidmore

After last year’s presidential election, Democrats are in rebuilding mode in Texas and across the country. Democrats lost the White House and they’re the minority in Congress and in most statehouses. In Texas, the last time a Democrat won statewide office was in 1994. Despite all of this, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is optimistic.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Folks who loved and worked with the five police officers killed last July 7 gathered Thursday to dedicate a memorial called the Circle of Heroes. Its six bronze plaques are mounted on stones that surround a flagpole. It's a place for people to stop along the Trinity Strand Trail in the Dallas Design District and remember.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In the year since a gunman killed five officers, Dallas police have been buffeted by the retirement of a chief, a contentious pension battle and a continuing exodus of officers. Despite these challenges, two brand-new officers say they’ve landed in the right place, in a city where they feel they can do some good.

Matthew Martinez / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

About a hundred people gathered in front of Fort Worth City Hall Tuesday night to call on the city council to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4.

Chris Connelly / KERA News

A North Texas community institution is facing a $2 million budget shortfall. The United Way of Tarrant County has cut one-third of its staff positions to preserve funding for the programs it supports in and around Fort Worth.

Faced by an increasingly challenging philanthropic environment and with new leadership coming in, the local United Way is changing how it works in a bid for success in the social media age.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

In Arlington, officials broke ground Friday on a new supplier park for companies that make components for the SUVs built at the General Motors Assembly Plant. It’s a move that GM hopes will make it operate more efficiently, and is expected to add jobs.        

Erik Hersman / Flickr

In Dallas, big changes are coming to the City Council after Saturday’s runoff elections. Three incumbents have lost their seats, which represents a big shift on the 15-member body.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Fort Worth, Dallas and Arlington are among a handful of North Texas cities holding runoff elections on Saturday to fill city council and school board seats.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi came to Dallas Wednesday to raise money for her party’s congressional candidates. But before she rubbed elbows with donors, the longtime Democratic leader talked to her base about healthcare, the economy and resisting President Trump’s agenda.

Throughout the speech, she seemed to be honing the Democratic message by focusing more heavily on appealing to middle-class workers.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr for KUT News

The 85th Texas Legislature is over. And while the threat of a special session looms, most of us are still trying to figure out what actually made it across the finish line.

JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT

In Austin Monday, both the Texas Senate and the House adjourned, bringing the 85th legislative session to a close. That was expected since the state constitution gives the Legislature exactly 140 days to run a regular session. What wasn’t totally expected was the drama that ramped up as the session was winding down.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Law enforcement groups call civil asset forfeiture a vital tool in the war on drugs. Critics on the left and the right say it’s a practice prone to abuse, and it needs to be curtailed. The process allows law enforcement agents to take property and cash they suspect is related to criminal activity.

Nisarg Khatri / Shutterstock

A bill aimed at shedding a little more light on family court proceedings ended up in the dustbin of legislative history when it failed to get a needed vote on the Texas House floor on Thursday.

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Incumbents ruled the day in Tarrant County when voters hit the polls in Saturday's municipal elections. Voters weighed in in municipal elections, choosing mayors, city council members and other local positions. 

KERA archives

Robert Wilson, who brought Jim Lehrer and Monty Python to American television audiences while leading KERA during its early years, died today after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 75. 

Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Saturday is Election Day for cities and school districts across North Texas. In Fort Worth, there will be at least one new face on the City Council. 

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