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.

Since Gen. Sam Houston executed his famous retreat to glory to defeat the superior forces of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Texas has been ground zero for military training. We have so many military bases in the Lone Star State we could practically attack Russia.

So when rookie Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was ordering the Texas State Guard to monitor a Navy SEAL/Green Beret joint training exercise, which was taking place in Texas and several other states, everybody here looked up from their iPhones. What?

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In murder mystery novels, when the hero, a private detective or homicide cop, drops by a late-night Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to stave off a sudden craving for a beer or two or 20, it's usually in some dingy church basement or dilapidated storefront on the seedier side of town. There's a pot of burnt coffee and a few stale doughnuts on a back table.

The Center for Students in Recovery at the University of Texas could not be more different.

Incoming Texas Gov. Greg Abbott created a stir last week during a speech to the conservative and influential think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he accused Texas cities of contributing to the "California-ization" of Texas.

"The truth is, Texas is being California-ized with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans," Abbott said. "We're forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model."

This past year, the number of inmates executed in America was the lowest in two decades at 35, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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The legal process is scheduled to end in Texas today for Scott Panetti. He's a convicted killer set for execution. He's drawn worldwide attention because he has a 36-year history of chronic schizophrenia. From Dallas, NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.

On Dec. 3, Texas is scheduled to execute Scott Panetti for murdering his in-laws in 1992. There is no doubt he committed the crime, and there is also no doubt that Panetti is mentally ill. But he was deemed fit to stand trial, and he was allowed to defend himself, dressing in a cowboy costume in court, insisting he was a character from a John Wayne movie.

Over the course of the last two decades — and many appeals — his case has gained national attention, and it has shone a spotlight on capital punishment and mental illness.

A Diagnosis

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On this morning after the election, we're getting snapshots from around the country. NPR's Wade Goodwyn sent this postcard from the Moody Theater in Austin, where people declared that in Texas these days, there's nothing better than being a Republican politician.

Texas politics is about to take another big step to the right. While nobody outside Texas would describe Gov. Rick Perry or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as moderate Republicans, their likely replacements are considerably more conservative — especially in the powerful lieutenant governor's office.

The eyes watching Texas have mostly focused on the governor's race between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott. But the contest between former conservative radio talk show host Dan Patrick and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte from San Antonio will very likely be of more political consequence.

Dallas nurse Nina Pham was discharged from a National Institutes of Health hospital in Maryland Friday, where doctors confirmed she was free of the Ebola virus.

Pham's colleague Amber Vinson is also said to be free of Ebola, though she remains in a hospital in Atlanta.

While their progress is being cheered, many nurses around the country still feel their profession unfairly received blame for the errors in treating Ebola in Dallas.

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Dr. Daniel Varga is chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, a network of 25 hospitals that includes Presbyterian in Dallas, which treated the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

I spoke with Varga today about the lessons the hospital learned in its battle with Ebola. Here are a few highlights:

The Ebola virus, which killed a patient at a Dallas hospital Wednesday, has become part of the conversation among politicians and pundits — in particular, conservative politicians and pundits. The virus has added heat to conversations about immigration and border control, as well as ongoing criticisms of the Obama administration and the government in general.

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This month brought two more exonerations based on new DNA evidence. Henry Lee McCollum was 19 years old and his half-brother, Leon Brown, was 15 when they were arrested. The two black, intellectually disabled half brothers were convicted of the rape and murder of an 11-year-old Sabrina Buie and spent 30 years on death row.

In a Brownsville family clinic, a powerfully built, bald doctor treats a never-ending line of sick and injured patients. He has been practicing for nearly four decades, but family medicine is not his calling.

"For 35 years I had a clinic where I saw women and took care of their reproductive needs, but mostly terminating pregnancies," Dr. Lester Minto says.

The day he was booked, Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a big smile for his mug shot — which was then printed up on t-shirts to demonstrate just what a farce he thought the indictment was. In a press conference, the scorn dripped from Perry's voice as he took up the sword — defender, not of himself, but of the state's constitution.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," he said. "It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution."

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry got some good news last week. In a FOX News poll, Perry moved from an also-ran in the contest for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination to a tie for first place with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

This is undoubtedly a reaction to Perry's decision 10 days ago to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the border in response to the deluge of Central American children that have been showing up there.

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You may count flights into Israel as a casualty of the war in Ukraine. The downing of a jetliner over Ukraine has focused extra attention on air safety.

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There are about 100,000 people born in Kenya who are now living in America. Over the last 50 years, there's been a growing number of Kenyans immigrating to America. In fact, the number is doubling.

They live in clusters in Boston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Dallas and in parts of the West Coast. They stay connected through a mix of old and new technology.

"We have truckers, we have taxi drivers, we have delivery van drivers and we spend our time learning by listening to what is currently happening," Davis Maina says.

Like any ugly, long-running confrontation between a husband and wife or next-door neighbors — or between anybody, really — it's hard to know exactly when the dispute between University of Texas President Bill Powers and Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry truly began.

But in the end, when the dust settled, one thing was clear: When powerful university presidents and powerful governors tangle, the politician usually ends up on top.

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Texas Republican Greg Abbott, who's been cruising toward easy victory in the governor's race against Democrat Wendy Davis, is making some campaign news this week — and not the good kind.

His actions and comments have brought his relationship to the state's chemical industry under scrutiny.

Texas Democrats are holding their convention this weekend in Dallas. Supporters are hoping it will give Wendy Davis a chance to reboot her campaign for governor and come out with some much-needed momentum.

A question posed in the San Antonio Express-News is typical of the kind of media she's been getting: "What's Wrong With Wendy?" With the Democratic candidate for governor running far behind her Republican challenger, Greg Abbott, it's not necessarily an unfair question.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. And I'm Scott Simon. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has returned to the United States. He's at the Brooke Army Medical Hospital in San Antonio, Texas as new details of his imprisonment by the Taliban continue to emerge. Fox News is reporting that Sergeant Bergdahl spent the last two years in solitary confinement. From San Antonio, NPR's Wade Goodwin has more on this story.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is back in the U.S. The former Taliban prisoner is now undergoing treatment at an Army hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

A special Travis County grand jury is investigating whether Republican Gov. Rick Perry tried to coerce the Democratic district attorney in Austin into resigning, following a drunk driving arrest.

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