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

You Can't Win If You Don't Play

The Democrats were spinning hard when they announced their overall ballots on the third day of the year. Chairman Molly Beth Malcolm answered just about every question with a variation on "We are rebuilding and we are focussed on the House, the Senate and Congress." Flip the question and ask Democrats if they were happy to have a ticket without a head on it, or with a head on it that consists mainly of five political nobodies who aim to challenge the best-funded U.S. senator in the country, and they concede that, well, yes, that does sound sort of goofy.

Crayons, Politics, Idle Speculation

Scotch the notion, which was being knocked around in the mostly idle Pink Building last week, that a delay in redistricting would automatically keep the current maps in place for a few more years. Those maps are generally considered to be favorable to Democrats. A judge could leave those plans in place, but the changes in the state's population have been so extensive that it would be a tough decision to defend. The current plans are probably burnt toast after this next set of elections.

Campaign Finance: Some Assembly Required

A new law requires candidates to file their campaign finance reports "by computer disk, modem, or other means of electronic transfer." A little twist in the law requires the Texas Ethics Commission to post the reports on the Internet for all of Texas to see, but to first strip out street addresses of contributors, ostensibly for reasons of privacy and piracy. The law also says people can get the reports by showing up at the ethics agency and requesting them.

Testing the Teflon

The national press, in particular the political press corps from the city of Washington, D.C., thinks the Texas press has left a lot of food on the table when it comes to Gov. George W. Bush. There's been talk, as the saying goes, the gist of which is that the local folks have been very easy on the state's chief executive and that it will take the heat of a national race to cook out the truth.

What's Big and Slowly Graying?

We liked it better when stories about baby boomers were about hip-huggers and greasy hair and loud music, but the most self-centered generation in modern America is getting old. That ain't news in and of itself, but it presents a whole slew of things for people in government and business to think about and Texas actually has dispatched a team to start doing some of that thinking.

A Smaller Agency, a Bigger Hole

Only two months into the current budget, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA for short) has discovered it has $57 million less than it thought, partly because the agency has less money on hand than it forecast and partly because it's spending money faster than it knew.

Political Arithmetic Doesn't Add Up...

The little ol' Texas budget is suddenly national news, and with the misinformation sure to float up in the backwash of political advertising, it's probably a good idea to pull the numbers together to see when various finger-pointers are telling the truth and when they're fibbing.

Musical Chairs in San Antonio

Handicapping the Senate race in San Antonio? Trying to figure out where everyone will be sitting when the music stops? You can tell what at least some of the political folks in that city are thinking, just by the fact that only one House seat -- the one now occupied by Rep. Leticia Van de Putte -- has drawn really active interest from candidates who want her job. So far, the seat that would be left open if Rep. Leo Alvarado Jr. wins the special election to replace Sen. Gregory Luna has drawn some tire-kickers but no sure-fire buyers, while the candidates looking at the Van de Putte seat are already working the district and the local lobby and the finance people and the Austin crowd.

Arenas for Some -- Civics for Everybody

If you don't live in San Antonio or Houston or a handful of other places that have sports arenas and Senate races and other interesting issues before the voters, the November ballot offers up a treat only a civics proctor could love: 17 constitutional amendments that, for the most part, don't even offer the thrill of controversy or everyday relevance.

Humans on the Arena Ballot

Sen. Gregory Luna's decision to retire from his seat, and to do so in time to allow a November 2 election, prompted a week of political scurrying and speculating in the San Antonio Democrat's district. The final take on who's running and who's not will be available at 5 p.m. October 4 (after our deadline). But Gov. George W. Bush's decision to hold the vote in November sets up a sprint that will be harder on political newcomers than on veteran officeholders.

Friendly Fire

When Gov. George W. Bush took office in 1995, he was half-surrounded by Democrats in statewide offices and could reasonably expect to fight some skirmishes now and then. Now that he's surrounded by Republicans, you might think those days are all in the past. But from the governor's standpoint, the education task force announced by Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander rivals at least some of what the Democrats did in his first four years in the Mansion.

That Suit Didn't Fit, But the Tailors are Busy

If this was a television drama, Gov. George W. Bush might have been ordered to give a deposition to tell what he knew about the Texas Funeral Commission's efforts to fine the nation's biggest funeral home operator. But it ain't TV and he wasn't so ordered. The state's attorneys argued that he didn't have any special knowledge that would shed light on the whistle-blower case, and that was that.