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

Again?

Texas Weekly

The beginning of a real race for speaker of the House looks the same as a dud. The proper mix includes one or more popular people who want the job, a high level of dissatisfaction with the person currently in the post, and a level of frustration in the rank and file that is sufficient to overcome every member's natural reluctance to get involved in a political knife fight.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 31, 2010

Ramshaw on geriatric care in state prisons, with Miller's photo essay inside those walls; M. Smith interviews the state's newest Supreme Court justice, Debra Lehrmann; Aguilar finds fewer Mexicans seeking asylum in the U.S; Galbraith sorts out the politics of pollution and whether our air is dangerous to breathe; Thevenot discovers authorities writing tickets for misbehavior to elementary school kids; Philpott reports on early hearing about political redistricting; Kreighbaum examines fines levied against polluters and finds they're often smaller than the economic benefits of the infractions; and Stiles and Babalola spotlight some of our data projects from our first seven months online: The best of our best from May 31 to June 4, 2010.

Crank Cases

Texas Weekly

Texas voters are cranky about immigration, public schools, Democrats, and Washington, but they say they're doing better personally than the country is doing, that they're open to legalized pot, and that the state government is a model other states should follow.

Texans Want Tighter Controls on Immigration

Texans narrowly oppose a "pathway to citizenship" for illegal immigrants, strongly favor an end to in-state tuition for non-citizens at state colleges and universities, would support a constitutional "English-only" amendment and overwhelmingly say that businesses should verify the immigration status of their workers, according to the new UT/Texas Tribune poll.

UT/Texas Tribune Poll: Doubts About Public Schools

More than two-thirds of Texans say their confidence in the state's public schools ranges from shaky to nonexistent, according to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. A majority of Texans believe that crime, low academic standards, lack of parental involvement and not enough funding are "major" problems that public schools face — but two-thirds say "too much religion in the schools" is not a problem.

UT/Texas Tribune Poll: Perry Leads White by 9

Gov. Rick Perry leads his Democratic challenger, former Houston Mayor Bill White, 44 percent to 35 percent in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, which was conducted May 14 to 20. Fifteen percent of the 800 registered voters surveyed are undecided about which of the gubernatorial candidates to support, while 7 percent prefer "someone else." Perry leads among men, women and Anglos. White leads among African-Americans and Hispanics. In five other statewide races polled, each Republican leads his Democratic opponent by a double-digit margin.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of May 17, 2010

Thevenot on the ideological backbiting at the internationally famous State Board of Education; Stiles, Narioka and Hamilton plumb employee salary data in Texas colleges and universities; Grissom looks at the problem of insufficient indigent defense; Cervantes on the push for "veterans courts" emphasizing treatment and counseling over punishment; Aguilar finds border congressmen asking the governor for a fair break on federal homeland security dollars; M. Smith on another BP rig in the Gulf; Ramshaw reports on nurse practitioners trying to get permission slips from doctors; Hu follows up with lawmakers poking at whistleblower allegations of trouble in the state's workers' compensation regulation; Hamilton stops in on Luke Hayes and his efforts to turn Texas into a political powerhouse for Obama; and Ramsey writes on generation changes at the Capitol and on political pranksters: The best of our best from May 17 to 21, 2010.

Immature Tricks Can Be Useful in Campaigns

It's an impulse most of us learn to suppress in the seventh grade — the need give your enemies wedgies, to tape "kick me" signs to their backs, to put lizards in their lunchboxes. Political people don't suppress it — they channel it into goofy stunts to attract attention, ridicule opponents and blow off steam.

The Red Party

Texas Weekly

Don't look now, but the Texas GOP, the party of budgetary teetotalers, has been piling up debt like a college kid with his first credit card. According to Federal Election Commission reports, this isn't exactly a new development. The Republican Party of Texas has ended every year in the red since 2001. But lately that amount has ballooned from a low of about $70,000 in 2003 to last year's high of $624,000. Now — a month out from the state party convention where 14,000 delegates will elect the chairman who will guide the faithful for the next two years — the latest FEC report, for the month of April, shows $556,000 in financial obligations. In contrast, the Texas Democratic Party currently carries about $49,000 in debt.

Texas Congressmen Give to Each Other

It's not only rich people and lobbyists and interest group activists who make political contributions. Texas congressional candidates gave at least $1.3 million to other campaigns and causes over the last 15 months, according to itemized records of campaign expenditures released for the first time by the Federal Election Commission. Topping the list of big spenders in the Texas delegation were U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, who contributed at least $240,000 — the highest dollar amount — and Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, who gave more than 60 contributions — the highest number. Search our database to see who gave what to whom.

Unhealthy

Texas Weekly

The insurance plan for state employees will have a $140.4 million shortfall next year — and that's the least of its problems. The projected shortfall for the two years after that is $880 million, and it will take another $476 million to replenish the program's legally required contingency fund. Keeping score? That's $1.5 billion.