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

Washington at the Center of Texas Governor Race

Rick Perry and Bill White
Rick Perry and Bill White

The battle in the 2010 governor's race is about the battleground itself: Rick Perry wants to bind himself to voters in opposition to an intrusive and profligate Washington D.C. — meddling liberal Yankees, in other words. Bill White wants to motivate voters in opposition to what he portrays as the sorry condition of the state under Perry, the self-serving "career politician." For White, Washington is Perry's bogeyman to divert attention from his failures at home. For Perry, Washington is the root of the evils the state confronts — foremost, issues he says White ignores.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 10/11/10

Hu on freshman House Democrats trying to win re-election in a Republican year, Grissom on Republicans bolstered by those same political trends, Aguilar on slow reforms in immigrant detention programs, Chang on the trouble with synthetic marijuana, Ramshaw on how proposed cuts in state Medicaid services could affect 13,000 Texans, yours truly on how political polls have as much to do with who's counted as with what they say, Galbraith on why Texas is building coal plants in spite of tightening federal air pollution standards, Hamilton on community colleges accusing the University of Texas of siphoning money from their financial wells, M. Smith on the court of inquiry proposed for a death penalty case and how it would work, and E. Smith interviews U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess about federal health care: The best of our best from Oct. 11 to 15, 2010.

Texas Weekly's Hot List, Vol. 6

This week's look at the most competitive races on the Texas congressional and legislative ballots sees two drop from Red to Orange, largely because the incumbents outdid their opponents in the latest campaign finance reports. For similar reasons, three incumbents move into hotter water; they face challengers whose combined general election spending and cash on hand outdistanced theirs.

Money, Honey

Texas Weekly

The campaign finance reports due 30 days before an election spur at least two varieties of anxiety. There's the obvious thing: Candidate A has more money than Candidate B. And there's the less-obvious thing, often a product of experience: Who started handing out checks, and to whom, the day after the reporting cutoff? This year, the deadline date was September 23, and the next reports — covering the final week of September and all but the last week of October, won't be here for a few weeks. Rumors of last-minute money are swirling.

Houston Candidates Look to White with Hope, Worry

Bill White, the Democratic nominee for governor, was a popular mayor of Houston who was twice returned to office by wide margins. So having him at the top of the ballot this November should help Houston-area Democrats win their races, right? "I can't think that it would do anything but help," says Democratic state Rep. Kristi Thibaut, who's in a tough contest for re-election against former Republican lawmaker Jim Murphy. But Harris County GOP Judge Ed Emmett insists White will have little impact on his own bid for re-election — and won't matter in legislative races either.

Texas Weekly's Hot List, Vol. 5

This week's look at the most competitive races on the Texas congressional and legislative ballots sees an addition to the list (HD-57), because of indications that conservatives have a prominent Democrat in their target zone, and three upgrades, with a race (HD-113) going from Orange to Red and two (HD-1 and HD-56) moving from Yellow to Orange.

Trail Mix

Texas Weekly

A new poll — this one done for the state's five biggest papers — put the major-party contestants in the governor's race 7 percentage points apart. That number, along with the 6-point spreads in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll and the latest Rasmussen Poll, has Democrats spinning this as a close contest and Republicans spinning it as a race that's not as close as it appears to be, with Republican voters eager to turn out and Democratic voters demoralized. With a month left, there's plenty of time for either theory to blossom into fact.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of Sept. 27, 2010

Thevenot on the fastest-growing charter school chain in Texas, Hu on the continuing legal fights between tort reformers and trial lawyers over the state's windstorm insurance pool, Hamilton on the push for accountability in Texas colleges, Philpott on legislative skirmishing over federal education funds, Grissom on misdemeanor convicts choosing jail time instead of probation that's more expensive for them but cheaper for the state, M. Smith on Bill Flores' challenge in what's billed as the hottest congressional race in the country, Ramshaw looks at scandals that have put some otherwise safe statehouse incumbents in deep electoral trouble, yours truly on the closest and ugliest race on the statewide ballot and Galbraith and Titus on pollution from idling vehicles and why it's so hard to control: The best of our best from September 27 to October 1, 2010.

Race for Agriculture Job Grows Nasty

In a year that appears to be custom-made for GOP statewide candidates, the last thing Todd Staples wanted was for Hank Gilbert to make the race for agriculture commissioner interesting, let alone turn it into a minor spectacle. "I have an opponent who is a pathological political liar," says Staples, the Republican incumbent, citing a list of transgressions. "This guy is likely the most unfit person to run for office in recent Texas history." Gilbert says things are going just the way he'd hoped. "I like where we are," the Democratic challenger says. "I like that we've gotten under his skin a little bit."

Texas Weekly's Hot List, Vol. 4

This week's look at the most competitive races on the Texas congressional and legislative ballots has two (HD-3 and HD-52) moving from Red to Orange, and three (HD-96, HD-101 and HD-102) moving in the other direction. The two downgraded races both have three candidates in them; none of the three upgraded contests has a Libertarian on board to help the Democrat by pulling votes from the Republican.

Reality Check

Texas Weekly

You're looking at a strong election year if your downgraded forecasts have you picking up four to seven seats in the Texas House. Republican prognosticators are getting over some of their Labor Day exuberance (the predictions then, from the mouths of people who are usually sober about these things, was for a dozen-seat pickup). And they're learning that some of their candidates aren't perfect, a set of revelations that befalls everyone in politics around this time of the election cycle.