Jay Root Reporter

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.

Recent Contributions

House Acting on Recalled Disclosure Bill

Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, speaks during budget bill SB1 discussion on March 20th, 2013
Sen. Dan Patrick R-Houston, speaks during budget bill SB1 discussion on March 20th, 2013

UPDATED: The Texas House is moving ahead with a bill requiring disclosure of certain political donors despite an effort by the Senate to pull the legislation back. Meanwhile, the bill's author, Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said senators had been heavily lobbied to change their vote.

Legislator Suspends Aide Who is Facing Charges

John Higgins, chief of staff to state Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, can be seen on the far left of this photo with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Higgins pleaded guilty following a Travis County District Attorney Public Integrity Unit investigation into improprieties involving travel reimbursements.
John Higgins, chief of staff to state Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, can be seen on the far left of this photo with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Higgins pleaded guilty following a Travis County District Attorney Public Integrity Unit investigation into improprieties involving travel reimbursements.

UPDATED: State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington, said Friday that he has suspended his chief of staff, John Higgins, who was indicted this week on 12 felony charges stemming from allegedly improper travel reimbursements.

 

HOA Accountability Bill Stirs Debate at Capitol

Representatives Mike Villarreal (l), D-San Antonio, Ruth Jones McClendon (c), D-San Antonio, and Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, criticize Republican Senators and Gov. Rick Perry for an inadequate effort on April 28, 2011.
Representatives Mike Villarreal (l), D-San Antonio, Ruth Jones McClendon (c), D-San Antonio, and Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, criticize Republican Senators and Gov. Rick Perry for an inadequate effort on April 28, 2011.

A bill by state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, would make homeowners associations more financially accountable. But HOA interest groups say the bill is unworkable and punitive to volunteer board members.

UT Regent Hall Failed to Disclose Lawsuits

Dallas businessman Wallace Hall, Jr. takes notes at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 14, 2013 in Austin.
Dallas businessman Wallace Hall, Jr. takes notes at the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 14, 2013 in Austin.

University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall didn't disclose a long history of courtroom battles before his Senate confirmation two years ago, a lapse that prompted some lawmakers to say they feel misled.

Deciphering a Short Turn at the Governor's Office

The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.
The Texas Tribune Festival 2012 Opening Session: A conversation with Gov. Rick Perry and Evan Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.
Texas Weekly

Political insiders rarely take things at face value, so it’s not surprising that they are scratching their collective heads over Ann Bishop’s sudden hiring and equally sudden departure from the office of Gov. Rick Perry

Perry Confronts New Challenges With New Team

Governor Rick Perry offers words of advice to new and veteran House members during a speech on the opening of the 83rd Legislative Session on January 8, 2013
Governor Rick Perry offers words of advice to new and veteran House members during a speech on the opening of the 83rd Legislative Session on January 8, 2013
Texas Weekly

Rick Perry heads into another legislative session, and possibly a 2014 re-election campaign, without many of the trusted aides who helped turn him into a Texas powerhouse. Do they know something we don't know?

Watson Criticizes Combs, Tax Subsidy Programs

State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, pauses while leaving the floor after the Senate went into caucus to discuss redistricting on May 17, 2011.
State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, pauses while leaving the floor after the Senate went into caucus to discuss redistricting on May 17, 2011.

Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, criticized Republican Comptroller Susan Combs on Wednesday, saying she had a “cavalier” approach to doling out millions of dollars in tax incentives, including the award eventually granted to the promoters of F1 auto racing.