is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, where he writes regular columns on politics, government and public policy. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly. 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.
Texans gathered for a "nullification" rally at the Texas Capitol on Saturday, January 16, in protest of federal healthcare plans in particular and federal spending and laws in general.
They called on the state government to "nullify" what they contend are unconstitutional actions by the federal government — that is, to opt out of pending healthcare legislation and other federal programs and laws they feel go beyond the bounds of the U.S. Constitution.
Most of the photographs that follow were taken by Bob Daemmrich; a few were shot by Ross Ramsey.
A big week, with the State Board of Education working on social studies textbooks — Thevenot was all over that this week, starting with a story that got national attention — and then the first debate between the GOP gubernatorial candidates, a story we tag-teamed with poll analysis, Hu's and Ramsey's live-blogging, Philpott's audio, and video. Our first TribLive event coaxed some news out of House Speaker Joe Straus, and E. Smith also interviewed Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson on beaches, politics, and, um, politics. We featured M. Smith on athletes in politics, Aguilar on the pack of Republicans chasing U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, Rapoport on women in campaigns, and Hamilton on candidates outside the spotlight. The best of our best from January 11 to January 15, 2010.
No surprise here, but still: State leaders want state agencies to cut five percent from their current budgets "due to the uncertainty of the state's short-term economic future, as well as potentially substantial long-term costs associated with the passage of federal legislation currently being debated in Washington, D.C."
In the first debate of this political season, Rick Perry didn't fall on his face, and Kay Bailey Hutchison didn't either. For a politician with a reputation to protect, that's the description of a win. The third candidate in the race, Debra Medina, held her own.
The three Republicans who want to be governor of Texas — Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Debra Medina — meet in their first debate tonight in Denton (and on statewide television and radio), each hoping to ignite support for the March 2 primary election.
The state ought to slow down proposals to expand the Governor's Mansion, House Speaker Joe Straus said in the inaugural TribLive event this morning, creating an obstacle to an idea endorsed by First Lady Anita Perry that has stirred historic preservationists in Texas.
As more candidate filings become available from the state's bigger counties, it's apparent that Republicans are going to have a noisy beginning to the year. They've got an unusual number of primary election challengers to their legislative incumbents. Democrats, meanwhile, are making a weak play for political control in the next decade. That's not an assessment of whether their candidates can compete — it's about whether they're in position to make real gains even if they do win some elections. Redistricting comes around in 2011, and the minority party needs either a House majority or a majority of seats on an arcane legislative board to control the map-making. They don't appear to be in position to do that.
It's going to be a noisy start to the year for Republicans, who have an unusual number of primary challengers to incumbents. Democrats, meanwhile, are making a weak play for political control in the next decade.