Wade Goodwyn

Wade Goodwyn is an NPR National Desk Correspondent covering Texas and the surrounding states.

Reporting for NPR since 1991, Goodwyn has covered a wide range of issues, including politics, economics, Texas's vibrant music industry, tornado disasters in Oklahoma, and breaking news. Based out of Dallas, Goodwyn has been placed in the center of coverage on the killing of five police officers in Dallas in 2016, as well as the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and hurricanes in nearby states.

Even though he is a journalist, Goodwyn really considers himself a storyteller. He grew up in a Southern tradition of telling good stories, and he thinks radio is a perfect medium for it. After college, he first worked as a political organizer in New York, but frequently listening to WNYC led him to wanting a job as an NPR reporter.

Now, listeners recognize Goodwyn's compelling writing just as much as his voice. Goodwyn is known for his deep, "Texas timbre" and colorful, descriptive phrases in the stories he files for NPR.

Goodwyn is a graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in history. He lives in Dallas with his wife and daughters.

Imagine you're in a college-level architecture class and your assignment is to come up with an idea so revolutionary that it could be considered an important advance in industrial design.

It would have been hard to find a happier man than Erick Munoz on that Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving.

With a healthy and delightful son toddling around the house, and his beautiful and successful wife pregnant with their second child, the fire department paramedic had everything in life that's really important. So it must have been with a feeling of disbelief and horror that Munoz knelt across the nearly lifeless body of his wife, Marlise, on the kitchen floor at 2 a.m., his fingers linking across her heart, arms pumping away in vain.

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At 10 on a crisp West Texas morning, five camel-trekkers stand under the open sky of the Davis Mountains. A few feet away, guide Doug Baum and Jason Mayfield load up five camels.

Baum, a former zookeeper, runs the Texas Camel Corps. The group guides camel treks around the world. In the Big Bend region, camels were for a brief time widespread, and the guides have brought them back.

'As Good As They Come'

You have to like a man who brings his own camel to a camel trek. On Mayfield's arm is a tall, beautiful blond named Butter.

Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.

For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character.

Friday's 50th anniversary of assassination of President John F. Kennedy is an important moment for Dallas: The city wants to use the occasion to demonstrate how much it has changed.

In the 1960s — after the president's murder — Dallas became known around the world as "The City of Hate." And it was a hotbed of right-wing politics, a magnet for the extremes of the conservative movement at the time.

If the world would like to see evidence that Dallas is no longer the City of Hate, it need not look further than the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

In 2012 a federal court struck down Texas' ID law, ruling it would potentially disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority voters.

But that federal decision was invalidated when the Supreme Court last year ruled part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. So now Texas is test-driving its voter ID law — one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation.

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And closing arguments will begin this morning in the trial of Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan faces the death penalty. He's accused of killing 13 people and shooting 32 others.

From Killeen, Texas, here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn.

WADE GOODWIN, BYLINE: The defense rests. With those three words, Major Nidal Hasan put an end to his non-existent defense case. It was a case he never wanted to make, anyway. He began the trial by wishing to plead guilty to the charges, but military law prohibits that in death penalty cases.

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And let's hear now about a proposed airline merger. In a surprise move, the Justice Department announced yesterday that it will try to stop American Airlines and U.S. Airways from becoming one. This is largely because of two other mergers that made both Delta and United Airlines much bigger. Those deals were approved back in 2008 and 2010. Now, as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports from Dallas, the government seems determined to change course.

Army Ranger Justin Slaby served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. While he was back in the U.S. preparing to deploy for a fourth tour, his left hand was blown off by a faulty grenade in a training accident. After being fitted with a state-of-the-art prosthesis, Slaby was encouraged by one of his doctors to try for a career in the FBI. What happened next has landed the ex-Ranger and the FBI in court and already tarnished the career of a high-ranking agent.

It's not even noon yet but every table out front of the Pecan Lodge in downtown Dallas is filled with veterans with barbecue heaped on their plates, smirking at the gobsmacked newbies. First timers are easily discernible by the stunned looks on their faces when they walk in and see the line.

All this week, NPR is taking a look at the demographic changes that could reshape the political landscape in Texas over the next decade — and what that could mean for the rest of the country.

Democrats see opportunity in Texas' fast-growing Latino population. But the Republican Party is strong in Texas — very strong.

The state of Texas is turning down billions of federal dollars that would have paid for health care coverage for 1.5 million poor Texans.

By refusing to participate in Medicaid expansion, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, the state will leave on the table an estimated $100 billion over the next decade.

Texas' share of the cost would have been just 7 percent of the total, but for Gov. Rick Perry and the state's Republican-dominated Legislature, even $1 in the name of "Obamacare" was a dollar too much.

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In Moore, for the many people whose homes were destroyed, the top priorities are finding a place to stay, some clothes to wear, and food to eat. NPR's Wade Goodwyn has been talking with survivors in Moore, and he sent this story.

The National Rifle Association is holding its annual convention in Houston this weekend. More than 70,000 people are expected to attend for speeches and demos and acres of guns, ammo and camo.

The NRA is coming off of a major victory: the defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate. While the talk in the convention hall is about keeping up the fight and staying true to the Constitution, a small protest against gun violence is being held outside.

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Nearly 10,000 mourners gathered yesterday to honor the men who died fighting a fire in a fertilizer plant in Texas. They packed the basketball arena on the campus of Baylor University in Waco. At least 14 people died when that fire led to an explosion in the little town of West - which is just north of Waco.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MARCHING)

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President Obama travels to another memorial today, this one in the Texas town of West. It is to remember those killed last week when a fertilizer plant exploded there. Yesterday, some of those living in homes closest to the plant were allowed back for the first time. NPR's Wade Goodwyn was there.

With the house-to-house search over and the living and dead largely accounted for, the town of West, Texas, began the transition from shock and disbelief to communal grieving.

On Friday night, mourners gathered at St. Mary Church of the Assumption to remember the dead. Many of the dead were first responders who were fighting a roaring fire for 30 minutes before the explosion, which was felt 80 miles away in Fort Worth.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn caused a stir when he suggested that there might be many more people missing than thought.

This story is part of a two-part series about the construction industry in Texas. Find the first part here.

Homes in Texas are cheap — at least compared with much of the country. You can buy a brand new, five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot house near Fort Worth for just $160,000.

But that affordability comes at a price — to workers, many of whom are in the country illegally and make $12 an hour or less, but also to business owners.

Like almost everything in the Texas, the construction industry in the Lone Star State is big. One in every 13 workers here is employed in the state's $54 billion-per-year construction industry.

Homebuilding and commercial construction may be an economic driver for the state, but it's also an industry riddled with hazards. Years of illegal immigration have pushed wages down, and accidents and wage fraud are common. Of the nearly 1 million workers laboring in construction here, approximately half are undocumented.

There are few things in life more joyful than discovering a giant oil or natural gas field in Texas. You're suddenly rich beyond your wildest dreams. When the scope and size of the natural gas reservoir in the Barnett Shale in North Texas first became apparent, there were predictions that the find would last 100 years.

Well, that was over the top. But University of Texas geology professor Scott Tinker, who designed and authored a new study of the Barnett Shale, says there's still a lot of gas down there, even after a decade of drilling.

Another member of the Bush family is throwing his hat into the political ring: George Prescott Bush, 36, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has announced he is running for office in Texas.

The Bush name is still strong in the Lone Star State: George P. has already raised nearly $1.4 million, though he still hasn't said which statewide office he will run for.

Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas is a bright young Hispanic star who will be sworn in this week in Washington. The Republican Party nationally hopes Cruz will be part of the solution to its growing problem luring Hispanic voters.

Almost nobody had heard of Cruz when he began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. But when he stepped in front of a microphone, he could light up a room in a way that made the other Republican candidates seem lifeless.

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