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

And a One, and a Two, and a...

Texas Weekly

Here's the layout for next week, in 100 words or less: Comptroller's release of her estimate of how much revenue the state will bring in by the end of August 2013; Tea Party rallies; GOP caucus vote on whether to show a preference for a speaker followed, maybe, by said vote; opening day with swearings-in of members (most statewides are already sworn in, with the exception of the top two, who get the treatment a week after the session starts), the official vote for speaker, and adoption of rules by the House and the Senate; and budgeteers' release of the proposed budget for 2012-13.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Jan. 3, 2011

Hamilton on what demographic change is doing to higher education, Stiles interactively looks at fines levied last year by the Texas Ethics Commission, Ramshaw on the struggle of foster kids to hang on to their belongings as they're shuffled around by the state, Philpott on whether a sales tax increase could plug the state's budget hole (and whether it's possible to enact one), Grissom talks to jail conditions expert Michele Deitch, M. Smith and Dehn on how electronic textbooks are made, Galbraith interviews on Texas Parks and Wildlife head Carter Smith, yours truly on the dark art of revenue estimating, Aguilar on the strange bedfellows lining up against state enforcement of immigration laws and Chang on the bleak hopes of needle exchange advocates: The best of our best from Jan. 3 to 7, 2011.

Freshmen Will Make Up a Quarter of the New House

Members of the freshmen class of 2011 at their new member orientation in December 2010.
Members of the freshmen class of 2011 at their new member orientation in December 2010.

The biggest caucus in the Texas House is the Republicans', now with 101 members. Next? The Democrats', at 49. And then there’s the freshman class — one of the biggest in years — with 38 members. All but six are Republicans, and many of them replaced Democrats. They face some challenges.

Estimating How Much Texas Will Collect is a Dark Art

Lawmakers are waiting for Comptroller Susan Combs to forecast exactly how much money the state will collect between now and August 2013 so they can write a two-year budget that spends no more than that. It's not exactly like opening the envelopes at the Oscars, but the Capitol community will be hanging on her every word. If history is a guide, her estimate of revenues will be closer to the bull's eye than the Legislature's estimate of spending. But this is a dark art; accuracy can be elusive.

Questions That'll Be Answered in 2011

Texas alternates election years with governing years, with legislative sessions set in the odd-numbered years after voters choose their leaders. There are variations, but it’s got a rhythm: Choose them, watch them govern, choose, watch. The elections behind us, it’s time to see what this particular bunch will do.

Political Faces of 2010

2010 didn't turn out like it looked a year ago. Unexpected people showed up. The political environment bloomed red instead of blue. The Tea was strong. And big shots turned into paper tigers. Here are some of the political personalities who mattered.

State Might Build to Save Money Spent Leasing

This rendering, from the Texas Facilities Commission, shows the locations for proposed new state-owned buildings in pink, sites for privately owned buildings on leased state land in blue, and a mall stretching for four blocks north of the Capitol (the light green area on the upper right).
This rendering, from the Texas Facilities Commission, shows the locations for proposed new state-owned buildings in pink, sites for privately owned buildings on leased state land in blue, and a mall stretching for four blocks north of the Capitol (the light green area on the upper right).

Got a hole in your budget? Cut spending. Shake the couch for spare change. Raid your savings. Ask for a raise, if you think you can get away with it. And when all else fails, sell your assets, right? Not in Texas. The folks who handle the state’s real estate are focused not on the current budget mess, but on ambitious building plans they say will make long-term financial sense for taxpayers.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Dec. 20, 2010

Ramshaw on how hard it is to sue over emergency room mistakes, Galbraith on paying for roads in an era of fuel-efficient vehicles, Aguilar on a disagreement about gun regulation, my interview with tort reformer Dick Trabulsi, Grissom on Perry's parsimonious pardoning, Hu and Chang interactively look at House committee chairs, M. Smith on an election challenge and who'll settle it, Ramshaw and Stiles on Dallas County's blue streak and Hamilton on a Valley school district that leads the nation in preparing kids for college: The best of our best from Dec. 20 to 24, 2010.

Electoral Power is about Voting, Not Population

Lawmakers will spend the next six months drawing political maps for Texas, doing their decennial readjustment to make sure each district has the same number of people. But when they’re done, some parts of the state will still get more political attention than others, and the voters have only themselves to blame.

Now They Have to Win as Republicans

State Representatives Aaron Pena and Allan Ritter announce their switch to the Republican Party in a press conference at Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin.
State Representatives Aaron Pena and Allan Ritter announce their switch to the Republican Party in a press conference at Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin.

Now that state Reps. Allan Ritter of Nederland and Aaron Peña of Edinburg have ditched the Democrats, attention turns to how they'll hold on to their seats. The former is following a time-tested strategy that has worked for others. The latter is challenging political history.

Left, Behind

Texas Weekly

The prevailing theory among Republicans, at least publicly, is that their House herd of 101 will always move together as one, and there will be peace and harmony in the land and all that.

Pete Gallego: The TT Interview

State Sen. Pete Gallego
State Sen. Pete Gallego

The 10-term Democratic state representative from Alpine on what he thinks of Tuesday's newly minted Republicans, the perils of party switching, the potential death of the middle and what the 49-member minority does now.