Race for Governor: Democratic Primary Debate

February 8, 2010

DALLAS/FORT WORTH: Leading Democratic candidates in the primary race for Texas governor convene for their first live debate on Monday, February 8 at 7:00 p.m. The Texas Debates: Race for Governor will broadcast to millions statewide on public and commercial television and radio and online at www.TexasDebates.org. The debate includes former Houston Mayor Bill White and Texas businessman Farouk Shami. Final determination regarding other potential debate participants will be made by Friday, January 29, 2010.

The Texas Debates will air live on KERA-TV, KERA-FM and TXA 21 (KTXA-TV). KTXA-TV will include analysis of the debate in their newscast at 8:00 p.m. Krys Boyd, host of KERA’s interview talk show Think, will lead a roundtable discussion of the issues and debate analysis on Friday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m. on KERA-TV. The debate will repeat on KERA-TV at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, February 14, followed by Think at 11:30 a.m., and again on Monday, February 15 at 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. respectively. KUVN will air the debate in Spanish on Saturday February 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The Texas Debates is produced by KERA in partnership with CBS 11 (KTVT-TV) and TXA 21 (KTXA-TV), Star-Telegram, KUVN Univision 23, The Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB), Texas State Networks and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

The debate will be moderated by CBS 11 News Anchor Karen Borta who will incorporate questions submitted via email. KUVN Univision 23 Reporter María Renée Barillas will host questions from voters in the live audience. Questions will also be posed by panelists Shelley Kofler, KERA-FM and KERA-TV and Dave Montgomery of the Star-Telegram.

The Texas Debates will originate from the CBS 11/TXA 21 studios, located at 5233 Bridge Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76103-1399. The program will be distributed at no charge to all commercial and public radio and television stations statewide as a public service, courtesy of the Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB). Stations have the option of taking the broadcast live or delaying it. The broadcast will be available in English and Spanish and will be closed captioned. The broadcast can be heard in Spanish on the SAP channel of the debate feed. Real-time translation and closed captioning are also provided by TAB, a service it has contributed for broadcast debates of statewide candidates since 1998.

The Texas Debates will be streamed live at www.TexasDebates.org. The Web site will also provide a list of stations carrying the debate as that information becomes available, profiles of the candidates and the pressroom arrangements. Site visitors will also be able to submit questions for the candidates by e-mail. Spanish language translation of the debate will be streamed online after broadcast at www.TexasDebates.org.


Karen Borta, Moderator, is a veteran journalist who joined CBS 11 News in 1995. Her work has been recognized by numerous organizations, including the Lone Star Emmy Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Press Club of Dallas and the Association for Women Journalists. Karen was also part of the CBS 11 team honored by the Radio-Television News Directors Association with a 2006 Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and has also worked as an anchor and reporter at CBS affiliate WTVT-TV in Tampa, KRBK-TV in Sacramento and KCEN-TV in Waco.

Shelley Kofler, Panelist, is an award-winning political reporter, television producer and KERA News Director with more than 20 years of experience covering North Texas. She served as moderator for The Texas Debates, guiding the debate between Republican gubernatorial candidates Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Governor Rick Perry and Texas businesswoman Debra Medina. Since joining KERA in 2007, she has been honored with multiple awards for excellence including the Edward R. Murrow Award, multiple Lone Star Emmys for governmental and political reporting as well as awards from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors’ Association. Shelley has reported on numerous Presidential primary contests, conventions and elections as well as statewide and local campaigns. She previously covered government and policy issues for North Texas NBC affiliate KXAS-TV and ABC affiliate WFAA-TV, where she served as the station’s Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter.

María Renée Barillas is a Reporter and Anchor with KUVN Univision 23. She began her journalism career in Guatemala and has covered politics and other issues of importance to Hispanics for more than 15 years. She has extensive experience in radio and television, including work as a general assignments reporter for Univision’s Los Angeles station.

Dave Montgomery, Austin Bureau Chief with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has more than 40 years experience in journalism in a career that has stretched from the capitol in Austin to the Kremlin in Moscow. He was state capitol bureau chief for the Dallas Times Herald for eight years in the 1970s, covering the aftermath of the Sharpstown stock fraud scandal and the election of Bill Clements as the first Republican governor since reconstruction. Montgomery spent 20 years in Washington, serving two stints as Washington bureau chief for the Star-Telegram during four presidential administrations from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. As Moscow bureau chief for Knight Ridder from 1998 to 2002, he covered the emergence of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin, the Russian financial crisis, the Kursk submarine disaster and Russia’s second war in Chechnya. He has also covered terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.

Rick Thompson, Executive Producer of The Texas Debates and KERA’s Director of Multimedia Content, is an award-winning producer who oversees production of public affairs specials and the series CEO with host Lee Cullum and Think with host Krys Boyd on KERA-TV. With more than 30 years experience as a producer, his previous credits include: The Economy: Facing the Mortgage Crisis; Richard Avedon: In the American West – A Twentieth Anniversary Special; The Texas Debates; Texas and the Latino Vote; and Finding Our Voice: The Dallas Gay & Lesbian Community. National credits include JFK: Breaking the News and Matisse & Picasso.

The Texas Debates are made possible, in part, by AARP.


KERA is a not-for-profit public media organization that serves the people of North Texas. The station broadcasts to the fourth-largest population area in the United States. KERA produces original multimedia content, carries the best in national and international public television and radio programs, and provides online resources at www.kera.org. The station’s extensive coverage of the arts can be found at www.artandseek.org. KERA-TV broadcasts on Channel 13.1. KERA WORLD broadcasts on 13.2. KERA-FM broadcasts on 90.1 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, 88.3 in Wichita Falls, 100.1 in Tyler and 99.3 in Sherman. KXT 91.7 FM, KERA’s new music station, is streamed online at www.kxt.org.

CBS 11 (KTVT-TV) and TXA 21 (KTXA-TV) are owned and operated in Dallas-Fort Worth by CBS Television Stations. CBS Television Stations consists of 29 stations, including 16 that are part of the CBS Television Network and 13 that are affiliated with The CW Network, MyNetworkTV, or operate as independents.

Star-Telegram – The Pulitzer Prize-winning Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tarrant County’s leading newspaper, is known as the primary news and advertising information source. It is the newspaper of choice throughout the greater Fort Worth/Arlington area and is distributed in 26 North Texas counties. In print and online, the Star-

KUVN-TV / Channel 23, part of the Univision Television Group, owns and operates 63 television stations in major U.S. Hispanic markets and Puerto Rico. The station is owned by Univision Communications Inc., the premier Spanish-language media company in the United States. Its operations include Univision Network, TeleFutura Network, Galavisión, Univision Television Group, Univision Radio and www.univision.com. Univision Communications has television network operations in Miami and television and radio stations and sales offices in major cities throughout the United States. Visit www.univision.net for details.

The Texas Association of Broadcasters (TAB) is a non-profit, professional trade organization representing the interests of radio and television stations in the State of Texas. TAB promotes and protects a favorable climate for broadcasting and educates members and the public about opportunities and advances possible through free, over-the-air broadcast operations. TAB is dedicated to the preservation of rights granted to the news media and individuals under the Texas Constitution and First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Online at www.tab.org

Texas State Networks is the oldest and largest state radio network in the country with more than 122 news affiliates in Texas. A member of the National Association of State Radio Networks, TSN provides hourly newscasts, long-form and short-form news, sports and talk radio programs. The Texas State Networks include Texas State News Network, Texas Agribusiness Network and the Texas Rangers Radio Network. Online at www.tsnradio.com.

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas is a nonprofit resource that encourages, sponsors and facilitates a greater appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the First Amendment. Working since 1978 to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public, the FOIFT’s mission is to protect and preserve the state’s open meetings and open records laws. Details are available at www.foift.org.