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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Politics
3:12 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Texas' Voter ID Law Creates A Problem For Some Women

Marta Rangel Medel vacuums the stage in preparation for the Texas Democratic Party 2012 election watch party in Austin. The state's controversial voter ID law is unexpectedly hindering women at the polls.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:03 pm

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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NPR Story
2:44 am
Mon August 26, 2013

97-Year-Old Birder Has No Intention Of Slowing Down

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 4:57 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Law
3:21 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Feds Sue To Block Proposed Airline Merger

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 7:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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Law
3:43 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Federal Case Pits Wounded Warrior Against FBI

Former Army Ranger Justin Slaby is suing the FBI, claiming he was unfairly dismissed from agent training because of his prosthetic hand.
Courtesy of Butler & Harris

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.

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The Salt
12:57 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Texas Pit Masters Bask In Moment Of Barbecue Glory

The Pecan Lodge's combination plate, a meat lover's dream.
Wade Goodwyn NPR

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 1:18 pm

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.

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Politics
3:36 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Health Officials Decry Texas' Snubbing Of Medicaid Billions

Texas Gov. Rick Perry addresses the opening session of the Texas Legislature in Austin earlier this year.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 6:23 pm

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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U.S.
3:51 am
Sat May 4, 2013

At NRA Convention, Dueling Narratives Displayed With Guns

An ammunition display at the NRA's annual convention in Houston on Friday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 4, 2013 10:50 am

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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Around the Nation
3:17 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Mourners Pack Arena To Honor Victims Of Texas Explosion

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:59 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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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Around the Nation
6:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Thousands Attend Memorial For Plant Explosion Victims

President Obama visited Waco, Texas, on Thursday day to take part in a memorial for those killed in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last week.

Around the Nation
5:37 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Volunteers Help Residents Clear Explosion Debris In Texas

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 12:46 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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Around the Nation
3:21 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Officials Seek Answers In Aftermath Of Deadly Plant Explosion

An explosion leveled a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on Wednesday. The blast killed 14 people, injured more than 200 others and damaged or completely destroyed at least 80 homes.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 2:47 pm

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.

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Around the Nation
3:59 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

As Texas Search Winds Down, Investigation Continues

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 8:51 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We're going to touch briefly now on another dramatic story, the deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small Texas town of West. Authorities now confirm that the death toll has risen to 12. That's how many bodies have been recovered so far. The cause of the fire and subsequent blast on Wednesday night are still unknown. From West, here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn.

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Business
1:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Texas Contractors Say Playing By The Rules Doesn't Pay

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 6:35 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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Business
1:20 am
Wed April 10, 2013

Construction Booming In Texas, But Many Workers Pay Dearly

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

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 11:12 am

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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Business
4:12 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Texas Study Points To A Longer Natural Gas Boom

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

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 4:59 pm

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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NPR Story
4:10 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Texas Court Of Inquiry To Decide If Prosecutor Lied

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:47 am

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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It's All Politics
3:05 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Another George Bush Plans To Try His Hand At Politics

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

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 5:54 pm

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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It's All Politics
1:58 pm
Tue January 1, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 12:19 pm

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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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
2:56 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

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

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

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:16 pm

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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Around the Nation
1:37 am
Mon December 17, 2012

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

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 3:17 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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Politics
3:50 am
Sun November 18, 2012

GOP Governors Say Party Lost On Strategy, Not Issues

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

Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 12:22 pm

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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Business
2:24 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

American Airlines Fliers Fed Up As Labor Clash Rages

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

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 10:37 am

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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U.S.
1:21 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Smoke Cleared, Texas Gun Owners Remain Wary

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 6:09 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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Around the Nation
4:23 am
Sun September 16, 2012

Many Texans Bereaved Over 'Dead' Voter Purge

Originally published on Sun September 16, 2012 6:36 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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U.S.
3:30 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Court Paves Way For Texas Planned Parenthood Cuts

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

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 4:23 pm

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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Around the Nation
2:54 am
Wed July 25, 2012

When The Ship Comes In To Brownsville, Rip it Up

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

Originally published on Wed July 25, 2012 3:41 pm

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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U.S.
1:40 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Rain Over Texas Quenches Dry Lone Star State

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

Originally published on Fri July 20, 2012 12:42 pm

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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Business
1:29 am
Mon July 16, 2012

In Bankruptcy, American Airlines Looks At All Options

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

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:30 am

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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U.S.
2:40 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Lake Lures Fishermen ... And Drug Traffickers

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

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 8:32 pm

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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Race
3:17 am
Wed May 30, 2012

With One Wish, Banishing Memories Of Jim Crow

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

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 5:39 am

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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