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

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. 

U.S.-funded programs try to convince Central Americans to stay home

A student presents her answers to gang related questions in an El Salvador elementary school workbook. "What have you heard recently about gangs and violence?" the question asks. "That there are a lot of murders" reads the student's response.
A student presents her answers to gang related questions in an El Salvador elementary school workbook. "What have you heard recently about gangs and violence?" the question asks. "That there are a lot of murders" reads the student's response.

The United States is helping fund anti-gang initiatives and jobs programs in Central America, trying to decrease the flow of migrants heading north for the Texas-Mexico border. 

Mexico fights illegal immigration on its own southern border

Rafts made of inflatable tires and wooden slats ferry people and goods across the Suchiate River separating Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, and Tecun Uman, Guatemala, with the international bridge connecting the two countries in the background.
Rafts made of inflatable tires and wooden slats ferry people and goods across the Suchiate River separating Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, and Tecun Uman, Guatemala, with the international bridge connecting the two countries in the background.

Under pressure from the United States, Mexico has tried to cut down the flow of Central American immigrants passing through on their way to the southern U.S. border.

Hiding in Austin, a former El Salvador policeman seeks asylum

A Policia Nacional Civil patrol in the 22 de Abril neighborhood of Soyapango, just outside of San Salvador, El Salvador. The neighborhood is known to be controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha gang.
A Policia Nacional Civil patrol in the 22 de Abril neighborhood of Soyapango, just outside of San Salvador, El Salvador. The neighborhood is known to be controlled by the Mara Salvatrucha gang.

After years of trying to help control El Salvador's violent gangs, the danger became too great for the former detective and his family.