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

Border Patrol agent tied to smuggled money but not to slaying in day 3 of trial

Border Patrol agent Joel Luna (seated) and lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia on the first day of Luna's trial in the slaying of Franky Palacios on Jan. 17, 2017.
Border Patrol agent Joel Luna (seated) and lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia on the first day of Luna's trial in the slaying of Franky Palacios on Jan. 17, 2017.

Joel Luna, the Border Patrol agent on trial for capital murder in Brownsville, was linked to hundreds of thousands of dollars in smuggled money by the prosecution's star witness — Luna's older brother Eduardo.

Sparring over evidence marks first day of Border Patrol agent's trial

Lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia assists defendant Joel Luna in putting on a tie prior to Luna's murder trial in Brownsville on January 17, 2017.
Lead defense attorney Carlos Garcia assists defendant Joel Luna in putting on a tie prior to Luna's murder trial in Brownsville on January 17, 2017.

A state judge ruled that a statement Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna voluntarily gave authorities can be used in his murder trial.  Sparring over evidence marked the first day of his trial in South Texas, in a case that has stoked concern about alleged law enforcement corruption on the U.S. side of the border.

Border Patrol agent's murder trial begins this week

Ex-Border Patrol agent Joel Luna confers with attorney Carlos Garcia after his arraignment in Brownsville before Judge Benjamin Euresti on Feb. 3, 2016.
Ex-Border Patrol agent Joel Luna confers with attorney Carlos Garcia after his arraignment in Brownsville before Judge Benjamin Euresti on Feb. 3, 2016.

The capital murder case began in 2015 with the discovery of a headless body floating off South Padre Island. The trial of two men charged in the case — a U.S. Border Patrol agent and his Mexican-born brother — begins today in South Texas.

Top House Republican says dark money debate won't kill ethics reform

State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, chairman of the House Administration Committee, looks toward the gallery while House members watch the seevere weather during debate on May 25, 2015.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth, chairman of the House Administration Committee, looks toward the gallery while House members watch the seevere weather during debate on May 25, 2015.

Rep. Charlie Geren, the powerful Fort Worth Republican pushing ethics reform in the Texas House this year, is determined not to let a fight over so-called "dark money" torpedo the effort as it did in 2015. 

Senator goes for low-hanging fruit in ethics reform

Sen. Van Taylor R-Plano, during an August 22, 2016 Sunset Advisory Committee hearing in Austin, Texas
Sen. Van Taylor R-Plano, during an August 22, 2016 Sunset Advisory Committee hearing in Austin, Texas

State Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, is taking a realistic approach to ethics reform this year. He's pushing proposals that got wide agreement in both chambers two years ago but ultimately failed to draw Gov. Greg Abbott's signature.

8 border security secrets state and federal officials don't want to reveal

Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump greets a group of border patrol agents on stage during an August 23, 2016 rally. Trump announced the border patrol endorsement during the rally
Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump greets a group of border patrol agents on stage during an August 23, 2016 rally. Trump announced the border patrol endorsement during the rally

Trying to get beyond the rhetoric on border security or immigration at the state or federal level is often a fool's errand. Here are eight secrets in those often shadowy arenas. 

Travis County sheriff's race likely to bring immigration policy shift

Travis County Constable Sally Hernandez is running for Travis County sheriff as a Democrat vowing to "get ICE out of Austin," meaning the local jail will no longer cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, making Austin the first true "sanctuary city" in the state.
Travis County Constable Sally Hernandez is running for Travis County sheriff as a Democrat vowing to "get ICE out of Austin," meaning the local jail will no longer cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, making Austin the first true "sanctuary city" in the state.

Democrat Sally Hernandez was cruising toward easy victory in the race for Travis County sheriff. It's likely to put her in the crosshairs of the Texas Legislature, where top Republicans are promising to ban "sanctuary city" policies.