Welcome, Chris Hooks

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The 2014 election is shaping up as one to remember in Texas, even by our high standards. Kinky Friedman is back on the ballot—oh, how we missed him—Ted Nugent is serving as treasurer for agriculture commissioner hopeful Sid Miller, and all four GOP candidates for lieutenant governor have endorsed teaching creationism in schools. Then there’s the prospect of Texas’ first competitive governor’s race since what seems like Reconstruction.

So it’s a good time for the Observer to bolster its political reporting, and I’m excited to announce that Austin journalist Christopher Hooks has joined our staff as politics writer. Chris will report, analyze, fact-check and occasionally mock the happenings on the campaign trail and at the Legislature on his new blog, Hooks on Politics.

Chris is an Austin native who ventured to New York City for college, graduating from the New School in 2012. He covered the 2013 legislative session for The Texas Tribune as a reporting intern, and has since written freelance pieces for Texas Monthly, Slate, Politico, and, of course, the Observer.

In his assignments for the Observer, Chris has proved himself an intrepid reporter. Last fall, Chris found himself the only reporter at a meeting of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, where Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for Obama’s impeachment. It turned into a big story, one Chris managed to get despite two large men ejecting him from the event.

He’s also written a wonderful scene piece about the pro-gun rally at the Alamo and a profile of J. Allen Carnes, the only Republican running for ag commissioner with extensive experience in agriculture.

Chris will be posting several stories per week. You can follow him on Twitter @cd_hooks.

Dave Mann has been with the Observer since 2003. Before that, he worked as a reporter in Fort Worth and Washington, D.C. He was born and raised in Philadelphia. He thinks border collies are the world’s greatest dogs, and believes in the nourishing powers of pickup basketball.