Wade Goodwyn

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

Reporting for NPR since 1991, Goodwyn covers a wide range of issues from politics and music to breaking news and crime and punishment. His reports have ranged from weather calamities, religion, and corruption, to immigration, obituaries, business, and high profile court cases. Texas has it all, and Goodwyn has covered it.

Over the last 15 years, Goodwyn has reported on many of the nation's top stories. He's covered the implosion of Enron, the trials of Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay, and the prosecution of polygamist Warren Jeffs. Goodwyn's reporting has included the siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, and the trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in Denver. He covered the Olympic Games in Atlanta and the school shootings in Paducah Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., and Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.

Among his most recent work has been the wrongful prosecution and conviction of black and Hispanic citizens in Texas and Louisiana. With American and Southwest Airlines headquartered in his backyard, coverage of the airline industry is also a constant for Goodwyn.

As Texas has moved to the vanguard in national Republican politics, Goodwyn has been at the front line as what happens politically in Texas, which is often a bellwether of the coming national political debate. He has covered the state's politicians dominating the national stage, including George W. Bush, Tom Delay and rising GOP star Texas Governor Rick Perry

Before coming to NPR, Goodwyn was a political consultant in New York City.

Goodwyn graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in history.

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3:21am

Thu April 11, 2013
Business

Texas Contractors Say Playing By The Rules Doesn't Pay

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 8:35 pm

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.

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3:20am

Wed April 10, 2013
Business

Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 1:12 pm

Marchers at the state capitol building in Austin, Texas, in February protest working conditions in the state's construction sector.
Jason Cato Courtesy of Workers Defense Project

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.

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6:01pm

Thu February 28, 2013
Business

Texas Study Points To A Longer Natural Gas Boom

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:59 pm

A natural gas drilling rig just east of downtown Fort Worth, Texas. A new decade-long study finds the region's Barnett Shale formation has sufficient gas reserves to last another 25 years.
David Kent MCT/Landov/Fort Worth Star Telegram

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.

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6:10am

Tue February 5, 2013
NPR Story

Texas Court Of Inquiry To Decide If Prosecutor Lied

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 1:47 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

In Texas, a court of inquiry has been convened to consider prosecuting a Texas judge. He's Ken Anderson. He used to be the district attorney in Williamson County, Texas, and he could face criminal charges for concealing exculpatory evidence. That's evidence that could clear a defendant of guilt. The inquiry concerns his conduct during what has become an infamous case - the prosecution and conviction of Michael Morton. Morton was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife. NPR's Wade Goodwin reports.

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5:26pm

Tue January 15, 2013
It's All Politics

Another George Bush Plans To Try His Hand At Politics

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 7:54 pm

George P. Bush speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

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.

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3:58pm

Tue January 1, 2013
It's All Politics

Tea Party Texan Cruz Gives GOP Hope In Hunt For Hispanic Votes

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 2:19 pm

Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas answers a question from a television reporter on Nov. 6 in Houston.
David J. Phillip AP

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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4:56pm

Tue December 18, 2012
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

Amid Calls For Gun Control, Some Push For Weapons At School

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:16 pm

David Thweatt, the school superintendent in Harrold, Texas, is seen in 2008. Troubled by school shootings around the country, Thweatt decided to arm school staff.
Tony Gutierrez AP

A growing number of lawmakers are indicating they are open to considering new gun control measures in the wake of Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. But while much of the national debate has focused on limiting access to guns, others are suggesting that schools should arm themselves to defend against attacks.

David Thweatt, school superintendent for the small Texas town of Harrold, northwest of Fort Worth, decided in 2006 that it was time to arm his staff. There's only one school in Harrold, a K-12 with 103 students.

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3:33am

Mon December 17, 2012
Around the Nation

Teenager's Faith At Odds With Locator Tags In School IDs

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:17 am

A federal court in Texas on Monday will take up the case of a high-school student who refuses to wear her location-tracking school ID.

The 15-year-old sophomore says the ID badge, which has an embedded radio frequency identification tag, is a violation of her rights. The student, Andrea Hernandez, believes the ID is "the mark of the beast" from the Book of Revelation.

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5:50am

Sun November 18, 2012
Politics

GOP Governors Say Party Lost On Strategy, Not Issues

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 2:22 pm

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (left), Indiana Gov.-Elect Mike Pence (center) and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, participate in a panel discussion during the 2012 RGA Annual Conference on Thursday in Las Vegas.
Ronda Churchill AP

Republican governors got together in Las Vegas last week to take stock of the election results, which continue to sink in.

Going into Election Day, Republican confidence was high that the Grand Old Party would sweep President Obama aside, retake the U.S. Senate and reshape the country in the aftermath.

So on Nov. 6, when the results came in, many if not most Republicans were shocked by the president's victory. Pat McCrory, the newly elected governor of North Carolina, however, saw it coming.

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4:24pm

Thu September 27, 2012
Business

American Airlines Fliers Fed Up As Labor Clash Rages

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:37 pm

American Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Miami International Airport this month. Reports indicate that American Airlines has canceled somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of flights in recent days, reportedly blaming a surge in pilot sick days and maintenance write-ups by pilots.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Pat Henneberry is an airline's dream customer. She flies all week, every week, and buying an $800 ticket so that she can have full flexibility is standard operating procedure. She's an American Airlines platinum customer. But she is fed up with the endless delays and cancellations.

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3:21pm

Wed September 19, 2012
U.S.

Smoke Cleared, Texas Gun Owners Remain Wary

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 8:09 pm

Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian was born two blocks from where he now lives in what is called Deep East Texas.

"We were not wealthy people, [we were] common laborers, but that was typical in rural East Texas at that time," he says.

When he was growing up, Christian says, by first or second grade, an East Texas boy would accompany his father or grandfather on a hunting trip. But before a boy got a gun, he had to learn how to act — how to address the other men respectfully, to watch how it worked.

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6:23am

Sun September 16, 2012
Around the Nation

Many Texans Bereaved Over 'Dead' Voter Purge

Originally published on Sun September 16, 2012 8:36 am

Quite a few Texas voters are seeing dead people in the mirror these days when they go to brush their teeth in the morning.

In Houston, high school nurse Terry Collins got a letter informing her that after 34 years of voting she was off the Harris County rolls. Sorry.

"Friday of last week, I got a letter saying that my voting registration would be revoked because I'm deceased, I'm dead. I was like, 'Oh, no I'm not!' " Collins says.

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5:30pm

Mon August 27, 2012
U.S.

Court Paves Way For Texas Planned Parenthood Cuts

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 6:23 pm

Abortion-rights opponents outside a Planned Parenthood of North Texas event in Fort Worth in February. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Texas can defund Planned Parenthood clinics because the organization provides abortions.
David Kent MCT/Landov

Officials in Texas say they will cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood following a federal court ruling last week. The decision by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the state can defund the health clinics because Planned Parenthood is associated with abortion.

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4:54am

Wed July 25, 2012
Around the Nation

When The Ship Comes In To Brownsville, Rip it Up

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 5:41 pm

A ship cutter helps dismantle a ship at the Bay Bridge Texas recycling yard.
Michelle Lopez for NPR

This fall, the U.S. Navy will contract three Cold War-era aircraft carriers — the USS Forrestal, the USS Saratoga and the USS Constellation — for scrapping. Often called "supercarriers" owing to their massive size, the ships contain nearly 60,000 tons of steel and other metal each.

All three carriers are likely to be sent to the landlocked city of Brownsville, Texas, to be ripped apart.

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3:40am

Fri July 20, 2012
U.S.

Rain Over Texas Quenches Dry Lone Star State

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 2:42 pm

Pedestrians stand along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas, in May. The state has gotten a reprieve from more than a year of drought.
Eric Gay AP

While severe drought is taking hold in the Midwest, Texas is doing better. At this time last year, the state was on fire, crops were desiccated in the field and livestock were slowly starving. But recent rains have almost ended more than a year of record drought.

"If you look at the way we were thinking and feeling on the last July 16, that was desperation. That was despair," says Gene Hall, public relations director for the Texas Farm Bureau.

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3:29am

Mon July 16, 2012
Business

In Bankruptcy, American Airlines Looks At All Options

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 7:30 am

Will American emerge from bankruptcy as a stand-alone airline, or will it merge with US Airways? An American spokesman says it's considering all options.
Matt Rourke AP

Imagine going into bankruptcy with billions of dollars in cash still in your bank account. That's what American Airlines did last November. The thinking was that management would gut the company's pensions and union contracts and emerge from bankruptcy ready to compete.

But then US Airways said it could take over American and be profitable, and it wouldn't have to hurt American's employees nearly as bad in the process. American's pilots, mechanics and flight attendants loved that idea.

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4:40pm

Tue June 26, 2012
U.S.

Lake Lures Fishermen ... And Drug Traffickers

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 10:32 pm

James Bendele runs the Falcon Lake Tackle Shop in Zapata, Texas. Bass fishermen flock to the lake, despite the presence of a Mexican drug cartel.
Wade Goodwyn

On the long drive to Falcon Lake, it slowly becomes apparent why it's ranked the No. 1 bass fishing lake in America: It's in the middle of nowhere.

The lake straddles the Texas-Mexico border, and San Antonio, the closest city, is a four-hour drive away.

A fisherman has to have some serious "want to" to take on Falcon Lake, as they say around here.

But plenty of anglers do. And the trek pays off, because the bass here are big. Very big.

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5:17am

Wed May 30, 2012
Race

With One Wish, Banishing Memories Of Jim Crow

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 7:39 am

Almost 70 years ago, Dorothy Flood was denied access to a train dining car because she was black. Now, after finally dining in a first-class car, she says she'll never ride another train again.
Rachel Greiman Jeremy Bloom's Wish of a Lifetime

As the sun beams down, Dorothy Flood, 75, stands on the steps of the Royal Gorge Route Railroad train, smiling like a 1940s movie star.

"Right there! Then turn around, right there!" photographers call out, jockeying to snap her picture. "Here we go, count of three — one, two and three!"

And with a tip of his cap, a porter offers Flood his hand, and her "Wish Of A Lifetime" begins.

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3:02am

Tue May 29, 2012
House & Senate Races

Texas Senate Hopefuls Woo Republicans Of All Stripes

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 4:34 am

It's high noon in Texas at the Stephenville Community Center out on Highway 67, and the Cross Timbers Republican Women's Club Candidates Forum is about to begin.

Time has run out on this Republican Senate primary. This is a last chance for the candidates to make an impression before Tuesday's vote. They're vying to replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is retiring after serving for nearly 20 years.

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5:03am

Sat April 28, 2012
Law

Free After 25 Years: A Tale Of Murder And Injustice

Originally published on Sat April 28, 2012 11:15 pm

Michael Morton and his mother, Patricia Morton, in October after a judge announced him free on bond after nearly 25 years in prison for a wrongful conviction.
Courtesy of The Williamson County Sun

The past few years in Texas have seen a parade of DNA exonerations: more than 40 men so far. The first exonerations were big news, but the type has grown smaller as Texans have watched a dismaying march of exonerees, their wasted years haunting the public conscience.

Yet a case in Williamson County, just north of Austin, is raising the ante. Michael Morton had been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife. He was released six months ago — 25 years after being convicted — when DNA testing proved he was not the killer.

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5:39pm

Mon April 23, 2012
Business

Bankrupt American Airlines Spars With Unions

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 8:24 pm

American Airlines and American Eagle employees protest Monday in New York City against American's plans to cut jobs and labor costs while under bankruptcy court protection. American is seeking permission to break up union contracts and cut expenses, but the unions oppose those plans and support a potential takeover bid by US Airways.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

With US Airways breathing down its neck, making nice with its unions as well as its creditors, American Airlines came to New York City on Monday to ask a federal bankruptcy judge for relief. Mostly, American wants relief from its unions — 13,000 jobs would be eliminated under its reorganization proposal. American has been hemorrhaging money for years and wants to lower its costs to compete.

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4:00am

Fri March 30, 2012
Election 2012

George H.W. Bush: It's Time To Get Behind Romney

In Houston Thursday, former President George H.W. Bush endorsed Mitt Romney's run for the Republican presidential nomination. Bush's endorsement is one more signal from the Republican establishment for the party to close ranks behind Romney.

6:01pm

Wed March 21, 2012
Million Dollar Donors

Lots Of GOP Money Flowing From The Texas Two

Originally published on Thu March 22, 2012 10:50 am

Houston home builder Bob Perry at the sales center of one of his developments in 2002.
Melissa Phillip AP

The latest reports from the Federal Election Commission shed new light on the political largesse of two Texas businessmen who have become common names in the world of Republican fundraising.

With a $1 million check in February to the superPAC backing Rick Santorum, Dallas nuclear waste dump owner Harold Simmons and his wife, Annette, have now contributed to groups supporting all three of the top GOP candidates.

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3:47pm

Wed March 14, 2012
Fine Art

800-Year-Old Frescoes Leave Texas For Cyprus

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:57 am

In the 1980s, this dome from the 13th century was stolen out of the church of St. Evphemianos in Lysi in the Turkish occupied section of Cyprus. The fresco portrays Christ in heaven, surrounded by 12 angels. The Archangels Michael and Gabriel flank the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist as a medallion illustrates the throne that's been prepared for the Lord.
Kevin Keim Charles Moore Foundation

A set of 13th-century Byzantine frescoes — plundered after Turkey invaded Cyprus and on display in Houston for the last 15 years — is headed home at last. It's the closing chapter in what turns out to be a remarkable odyssey.

It all started in the summer of 1974, when the Turkish army invaded Cyprus and nearly 200,000 Greek Cypriots became refugees fleeing south.

"And so all the churches and homes and art was left behind," says Josef Helfenstein, director of the Menil Collection in Houston. "And after years, some of these churches began to be looted."

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6:06pm

Wed February 8, 2012
It's All Politics

Buoyant Santorum Takes Campaign To Texas — And Corrals Some Perry People

Originally published on Wed February 8, 2012 7:09 pm

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks at the Bella Donna Chapel in McKinney, Texas, on Wednesday.
Rex C. Curry Associated Press

Fresh off his hat trick in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned in Texas on Wednesday, speaking to a group of pastors at Bella Donna Chapel in the town of McKinney.

Forty miles north of Dallas, where black prairie dirt meets the fresh poured concrete of suburbia, this is Rick Santorum country.

This used to be Texas Gov. Rick Perry country.

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4:00am

Fri December 16, 2011
Around the Nation

Fort Hood Soldiers Return From Iraq

Originally published on Fri December 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Congress has already OK'ed a bill authorizing more than $660 billion to be spent on defense. Senate approval came yesterday, the same day the Pentagon declared an official end to the war in Iraq. Among the troops coming home from Iraq are the soldiers of the 112th Cavalry 3rd Brigade 1st Cavalry Division.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn was there for their return to Fort Hood, Texas.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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12:01am

Tue December 13, 2011
Business

Airplane Mechanics: A Farm Team For Everyone Else?

Originally published on Tue December 13, 2011 8:21 pm

The best airplane mechanics are skilled at everything from metal part fabrication to electronics to lavatory plumbing. Other, better-paying companies soon become interested in their skills.
Courtesy AAR

Talk of jobs — or lack of them — dominates the national conversation right now. But there are places in the economy where willing, qualified workers are hard to come by.

One such place is AAR Aircraft Services Corp., an aircraft maintenance facility in Oklahoma City. There, American capitalism is on display with all its strengths and weaknesses. AAR services jet aircraft, including passenger planes from carriers like Alaska Airlines, Mesa Air and Allegiant Air.

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3:00pm

Thu November 10, 2011
Election 2012

Perry Campaign Tries To Right Debate 'Oops'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry drew a blank at last night's GOP presidential debate, forgetting one of three federal agencies he would eliminate if he becomes president.

4:09am

Sat October 29, 2011
Business

After Scandal, Solar Industry Looks On Bright Side

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 8:36 am

A worker stands next to an array of Sharp solar cell modules at a power plant south of Tokyo in August. Sharp was one of 1,400 solar panel manufacturers in attendance at the Solar Power International conference, where industry optimism was high.

Toshifumi Kitamura AFP/Getty Images

Solar power's image has taken a hit lately with the bankruptcy of Solyndra. The California solar panel manufacturer received more than half a billion dollars in Energy Department loan guarantees before going belly up.

But the industry is still optimistic — that much was apparent at the Solar Power International conference held in Dallas in mid-October. Walking into the big hall of the Dallas Convention Center, it was impossible not to be impressed by the huge array of black solar panels hanging from the ceiling.

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4:00am

Wed October 19, 2011
Business

American Airlines To Report 3rd Quarter Earnings

Originally published on Wed October 19, 2011 1:21 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

All of the major U.S. airlines are expected to report a profit for the third quarter, except for American Airlines. Its earnings come out later today. If United Airlines and Delta can make money in this economy, what's the problem with American? NPR's Wade Goodwyn explains.

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