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

That Didn't Take Long

Texas Weekly

The first political ads bought by a corporation in Texas appeared in East Texas newspapers just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended the state's ban on that kind of spending.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Mar 15, 2010

Grissom on the 1.2 million Texans who've lost their licenses under the Driver Responsibility Act and the impenetrable black box that is the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Ramshaw and Kraft on nurses with substance abuse problems and rehabilitation that can get them back to work, M. Smith finds it's not easy being Rick Green, Stiles on counting Texans (and everybody else), Rapoport on the State Board of Education's war with itself and the runoff in SBOE District 10, Thevenot's revealing interview with a big-city superintendent on closing bad schools, Aguilar on the tensions over water on the Texas-Mexico border, Hamilton on the new Coffee Party, Hu on Kesha Rogers and why her party doesn't want her, Philpott on the runoff in HD-47, Ramsey on Bill White and the politics of taxes, and E. Smith's conversation with Game Change authors Mark Halperin and John Heleimann: The best of our best from March 15 to 19.

Bill White and the Politics of Taxes

"You have to do a few things when you run for office in Texas," says one of Rick Perry's allies. "You have to debate. You have to release your tax returns. And you have to say you won't raise taxes." Bill White will surely debate the governor before November's general election, but at the moment he hasn't done the other two. The former probably won't sink him, but the latter could — by declining to drink the no-new-taxes potion, he's handing his opponent a weapon to use against him. Unless, of course, he's successful at changing the way the argument goes.

Same as It Ever Was

Texas Weekly

Twenty years ago, Clayton Williams Jr. demonstrated the difference between someone trained in business and someone trained in politics. Talking to a small group of reporters about a looming budget shortfall and the hefty price tags on programs he wanted to start, he was asked what remedies he'd be willing to consider.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Mar 8, 2010

Thevenot on the non-stop wonder that is the State Board of Education and its latest efforts to set curriculum standards, E. Smith's post-election sit-down interview with Bill White at TribLive made some news and got the November pugilism started, Ramshaw on whether it makes sense for the state to call patients and remind them to take their pills, and on the state's botched attempt to save baby blood samples for medical research, Hamilton's interview with Steve Murdock on the state's demographic destiny, M. Smith on whooping cranes, fresh water, and an effort to use the endangered species act to protect them both, Grissom on potties, pickups, and other equipment purchased with federal homeland security money and Stiles' latest data and map on where that money went, Aguilar on the "voluntary fasting" protesting conditions and treatment at an immigrant detention facility, Kreighbaum on football, the new sport at UTSA, and Philpott on Rick Perry and Bill White retooling their appeals for the general election. The best of our best from March 8 to 12, 2010.

Sorting It All Out

Texas Weekly

The governor's race is just what you expected: Republican Rick Perry and Democrat Bill White. Perry starts with the power of incumbency and the state's 16-year-old preference for Republicans over Democrats in statewide office. White starts with the advantage of non-incumbency — don't snort at that — and the ability to run a more serious and well-financed campaign than anyone in his party has run in some time. Five independents have signed up, and the Libertarians will choose their candidate in June.

With Primaries Over, Start the Race for Governor

BIll White, Rick Perry at their Primary 2010 reception speeches.
BIll White, Rick Perry at their Primary 2010 reception speeches.

The real gift to Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday wasn't the win over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina in the GOP primary, which was foretold in the polls. It was the quick win. A runoff would have gobbled six weeks and something like $10 million and might have left the winner bruised on the way into a battle with Democrat Bill White, who easily bested six others in his party's primary. So how does November look from here?

Perry and White Will Face Off for Governor

Rick Perry, Bill White
Rick Perry, Bill White

Gov. Rick Perry and former Houston Mayor Bill White claimed their parties' gubernatorial nominations Tuesday night. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison conceded the GOP primary, congratulating Perry on his 11th consecutive statewide victory. White, meanwhile, had enough votes to call an early victory over Farouk Shami and five other Democrats, declaring, "We're gonna have some fun, and Texans are going to come together." Later, he sent a message about a conversation with Shami: "Just spoke to Farouk Shami. Very gracious. He'll help me. I do like his idea of building solar panel factories in Texas."

Texas Election Cost Candidates $55 Million

Will gubernatorial contests that have already cost more than $51 million last another six weeks? Will there be runoffs in judicial, legislative, or other down-ballot races? Will Texas voters go for the smart ones, the rich ones, the kooks, the old pros, the kids, or the insurgents? We'll soon know the answers to these and other pressing primary questions.

One Question Remains

Texas Weekly

What do you say about this governor's race? That the trailer was better than the movie? That sometimes a Super Bowl featuring the two best teams in the league turns into a blowout? That Texans who vote with their middle fingers differentiate between the bums in Austin and the bums in Washington? That the pundits who expected a barnburner were full of chorizo?

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Feb 22, 2010

Ramshaw on the state's quiet sharing of infant blood samples with the military and on the things Rick Perry's opponents aren't saying about him, Grissom on Farouk Shami's surprising popularity in El Paso, Philpott on the political advantages of a job creation fund and how Debra Medina's supporters are reacting to her "truther" comments, Hu on Debra Medina in the latest installment of Stump Interrupted, Thevenot on how the kids feel about the federal option of closing bad high schools, Rapoport on the newest mutation of the state's pay-as-you-go transportation philosophy, and our roundup of party primaries in the last week before the election: Rapoport on HD-7, Ramsey on HD-11, Aguilar on HD-36 and HD-43, Philpott on HD-47, Thevenot on HD-52 and SD-5, Kreighbaum on HD-105 and one Supreme Court race, M. Smith on another, and Hamilton on the colorful Democratic candidates for Agriculture Commissioner. The best of our best from February 22 to 26, 2010.

Primary Color: HD-11

 Michael Banks, Allan Cain, Chuck Hopson
Michael Banks, Allan Cain, Chuck Hopson

State Rep. Chuck Hopson, of Jacksonville, got everything he hoped for when he quit the Democratic party last year to seek reelection as a Republican — with two exceptions. One is named Michael Banks; the other is named Allan Cain.

Five Legislative Races to Watch in March Primary

This is the final day of early voting — a period in which many more energized and engaged Texans cast ballots for their favorite candidates than their counterparts did in 2006. During the last two weeks, we've published fifteen installments in our Primary Color series, analyzing the marquee contested party primaries for Texas House and Senate seats, for Congressional seats, and for slots on the State Board of Education and the Texas Supreme Court. Today we present the last five of our stories. Brian Thevenot reports on the face-off between very different GOP insiders to take on state Rep. Diana Maldonado, D-Round Rock, in House District 52. Julian Aguilar looks at the ideological purity test in HD-43, where incumbent Tara Rios Ybarra, D-South Padre Island, has been called a "closet Republican" by her Democratic challenger. Reeve Hamilton explains how Democrats have to choose between an Agriculture Commissioner candidate with ranching experience and one who's the consummate promoter. Andrew Kreighbaum weighs in on the six-way free-for-all to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill in Place 3. And Ross Ramsey contemplates the potential karmic payback of state Rep. Chuck Hopson, of Jacksonville, who quit the Democratic party and filed for reelection as a Republican, only to find two GOP primary opponents lying in wait.

A Little Something for the Economy

Texas Weekly

This really would be sort of a sweet time to own a television station, wouldn't it? Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Bill White, and Farouk Shami spending, combined, something upwards of $1 million a day, with much of that going on the air or in the mail?