Ross Ramsey Executive Editor

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

Recent Contributions

The Order of Things

Texas Weekly

The conversation in the halls is mostly about House committee assignments and who'll get what. The underlying political tension is between Democrats who think Speaker Joe Straus should reward them for making up 80 percent of the vote that put him in the corner office, and Republicans who think he needs to consolidate power within his own party in the closely divided chamber to have any chance of hanging on to the controls.

Waiting

Texas Weekly

The House has its rules in place after a long day of warbling and negotiating, and the one that sticks out is the rule that lets the House depose a speaker with only 76 votes — a simple majority. The speaker no longer has the power to ignore privileged motions, including motions to "vacate the chair." And an effort to raise the bar — to require 90 votes, or 100, to unseat a speaker fell short. It's 76: If it were a rear-view mirror on the Speaker's dais, it'd have words on it: "Warning! Hostile representatives in mirror are closer than they appear."

Starting to Start

Texas Weekly

Week three. Speaker race, over. House, kumbayahed. Two-thirds rule, guarded condition. Senate, patching things up. Revenue estimate, ouch. Base budget, tight. President, sworn in, twice.

And They're Off!

Texas Weekly

The House elected a new speaker. The Senate started with a partisan dogfight. The comptroller filed a gloomy forecast on the state's revenue for the next two years. The Republican candidates for governor — that's an election more than a year away — revealed multi-million-dollar bank balances. Once all that had rolled out, lawmakers left for a week. The House will return next week for a day, then do rules the week after that. And the Senate is gone until January 26. Soon enough, it'll seem like they never left.

Senate, Anyone?

Texas Weekly

Kay Bailey Hutchison's term in the U.S. Senate runs through 2012 and she now says she won't resign earlier than the end of next year if she runs for governor. She has formed an exploratory committee.

Nobody Has the Votes Yet (Week 6)

Texas Weekly

Add two more official candidates for Speaker of the House, calls for the head of House Parliamentarian and former Rep. Terry Keel, a constitutional amendment that would allow future coups in the House, and a "Solve for X" strategy and you'll be up to date on the contest for control of the Legislature's lower chamber.

She Does

Texas Weekly

Kay Bailey Hutchison answered the "Does She or Doesn't She?" question about whether she wants to run for governor, filing the papers required to run a campaign for state office.

Nobody Has the Votes Yet (Week 2)

Texas Weekly

A lobbyist who doesn't want his name in this newsletter or anywhere else offered up a new phrase for this phase of the race for speaker: Legislative Osteoporosis. He's referring to bone loss in the spines of some lawmakers.

Money Shot

Texas Weekly

The dollars in Texas political races tell you what the moneyed folk are interested in: They're interested in the Texas House.

All Those People

Texas Weekly

It took five days in 2004 to get the first 10 percent of the voters to the polls. It took three days this year. Early voting in those first three days was up 73 percent in the state's top 14 counties, according to the Texas Secretary of State.