Emily Ramshaw, Texas Tribune

Texas Tribune Reporter

Emily Ramshaw investigates state agencies and covers social services for KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune. Previously, she spent six years reporting for The Dallas Morning News, first in Dallas, then in Austin. In April 2009 she was named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she received a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

 

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Politics
8:14 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Annie's List Executive Director Killed in Fatal Crash

Grace Ann Garcia.
Credit annieslist.com

Grace Garcia, the executive director of the Democratic women-in-politics group Annie's List, was killed in a fatal car accident in Waxahachie on Monday, the organization said early Tuesday morning.

"It is with a tremendous sense of loss that we announce the passing of our executive director and leader Grace Garcia, who lost her life in a car accident Monday afternoon," Annie's List board chair Amber Anderson Mostyn said in a statement. 

Garcia came to work for Annie's List after serving Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a senior adviser in the Office of the Chief of Protocol. Before working at the State Department, she ran an event management and public affairs firm she founded in 2001.

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Politics
5:11 pm
Sat May 17, 2014

Julián Castro is Obama's Pick to Head HUD

Mayor Julian Castro gave the keynote address at the LBJ School's graduation this weekend.
Erika Rich/BDP

Julián Castro will be President Obama's next secretary of housing and urban development, sources close to the San Antonio mayor said Saturday. 

The New York Times confirmed the move to HUD on Saturday, hours after the San Antonio Express-News reported that the 39-year-old was being considered for a position in the president's cabinet.

The sources said Castro, who had previously been considered for transportation secretary but chose to stay in San Antonio, was excited about the HUD post because he felt it fit better with his experience and interests. Urban development has been a pet issue of the mayor's in San Antonio. 

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Politics
7:47 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Steve Stockman Files to Run Against John Cornyn

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman (left) filed to run against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (right)

U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, has filed to run against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the March GOP primary, joining at least eight other hopefuls vying for the senior senator's seat, according to a spokesman with the Republican Party of Texas. 

Stockman, who had filed for re-election in Congressional District 36, had to withdraw from that race to seek Cornyn's seat.

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Travis County
10:41 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Perry to Veto Integrity Funds Unless Lehmberg Resigns

Gov. Rick Perry will veto financing for the public integrity unit — the state's ethics enforcement division — unless embattled Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigns, an official close to the governor said Tuesday. 

The Austin American-Statesman reported Monday night that Perry would use a line-item veto to cut funding for the unit unless Lehmberg, who was convicted and served jail time for drunken driven this past spring, steps down.

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Politics
11:11 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Susan Combs Won't Seek Re-election

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs on Feb. 7, 2013.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Comptroller Susan Combs announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election and that she is retiring from public office at the end of her term in 2015. Combs, who had been positioning herself to run for lieutenant governor, will not run for that post or other elective office. 

"It is with a deep sense of gratitude for the past, coupled with excitement for the future, that I announce today I will not be seeking elective office in 2014," Combs said in a statement, adding that she would keep working on several policy priorities, but that she wanted to spend more time on her West Texas ranch. "I want to make my intentions clear as soon as possible for prospective statewide candidates."

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83rd Texas Legislature
10:57 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Lawmaker Transparency Bills Got Little Traction

Todd Wiseman / Ryan Murphy via Texas Tribune

Lawmakers talked a big game about improving transparency this session, but when push came to shove, they did next to nothing to advance it.

Key proposals never even got close, like bills to strengthen reporting of lawmakers’ financial interests, prevent the quick revolving door that sends former legislators into the lobby, and stop the practice of allowing elected officials to draw down both their state salary and their pension.

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Politics
1:16 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

GOP Donor Releases Songs Opposing 'Obamacare'

Surrounded by several Texas legislators, Dr. Steve Hotze announces his lawsuit targeting the Affordable Care Act on May 7, 2013.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

He's already a Houston physician, Republican campaign donor, radio talk show host and litigant in a federal lawsuit against the roll-out of "Obamacare." Now Dr. Steve Hotze may be adding aspiring pop star to that list. 

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Politics
6:40 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Big Tobacco Beats Small Tobacco on Tax Vote

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Small cigarette manufacturers would face new state fees on their sales under a measure that passed the Texas House in a preliminary vote on Monday — a big win for Big Tobacco. 

The bill passed 85-53. 

The nation’s four largest tobacco companies currently pay more than half a billion dollars to the state every year as part of a 1998 lawsuit settlement. They have for years lobbied for small cigarette manufacturers, which were not included in the $17 billion settlement, to face a similar financial penalty.

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Politics
1:39 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

For Cornyn, Right Turn Could Be Defensive Play

SInce the arrival of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. John Cornyn seems to be shifting discernibly right.
Gage Skidmore, Texas Tribune

After more than a decade representing blood-red Texas in the U.S. Senate, John Cornyn finds himself in an unusual spot: burnishing his conservative credentials.

One would think the senior Texas senator’s reputation would be secure: Cornyn, who has ascended to minority whip, spent two election cycles as chairman of the Senate’s Republican campaign fundraising arm, and National Journal last week ranked him second in its 2012 list of the most conservative senators.

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Politics
7:24 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Perry Stands Firm on Rejecting Medicaid Expansion

Texas Governor Rick Perry listens as the Texas Department of Public Safety graduates a class of 74 new state troopers Wednesday at the Texas Capitol on Dec. 19, 2012.
Bob Daemmrich

Just six months ago, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Gov. Rick Scott were fishing together on FoxNews, pitching then-presidential contender Mitt Romney’s Medicare plan and arguing that decisions about health care should be made by states, not the federal government.

On Wednesday, Scott reversed course, joining a growing number of Republican governors who are reluctantly embracing the key tenet of President Obama’s federal health reform — a sweeping Medicaid expansion.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
11:58 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Lege Could Ban Drone Surveillance of Private Property

icheal Cincienne of Absolute Aerospace and Texas A&M Corpus Christi, engineering student Adam Ersepke, and lab coordinator Jack Edward Esparza carry a University drone back to the command center.
Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

A drone, no bigger than a toy airplane, hovered north of the Texas Capitol, floating over the heads of lawmakers momentarily distracted from their morning meetings. Several of them gathered beneath it, faces tilted skyward, marveling over a pair of goggles that allowed them to watch live video of the drone’s panoramic bird’s eye view.

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Politics
2:34 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Straus Makes House Committee Assignments

House Speaker Joe Straus (l), R-San Antonio, adjourns the House of Representatives sine die on June 29, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

House Speaker Joe Straus announced committee assignments for the Legislature's lower chamber on Thursday, ending speculation over key chairmanships and giving lawmakers the go-ahead to start considering bills. 

Of the standing committees, 32 are chaired by men, six by women. That's one more female chair than the 2011 session.

Among the committee chairs, 26 are white, five are black and seven are Hispanic, one more than last session.

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Women's Health
12:01 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Lawmakers Could Restore Family Planning Funds

Microgestin birth control from Planned Parenthood.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics.

Now they are facing the policy implications — and, in some cases, reconsidering.

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Health Care
1:09 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Before Health Exchange Deadline, Perry Reaffirms Stance

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Ahead of a Friday deadline to decide, Gov. Rick Perry's office has reaffirmed that Texas will not implement a major tenet of federal health reform — a state-based online marketplace for consumers to purchase coverage.

That means the federal government will have to roll out a program for Texas instead. Every state must have an exchange by 2014, the year “Obamacare” — which many Republicans had hoped would be repealed if Mitt Romney won the presidency — requires most Americans to carry coverage.

Allison Castle, Perry’s spokeswoman, said Texas won’t design its own exchange because there is “really no such thing as a ‘state exchange.’”

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Politics
12:37 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Perry Adviser Says Governor Will Run for Re-election

Gov. Rick Perry speaks discusses higher education in Texas at conference in Austin, Texas.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Ken Armbrister, Gov. Rick Perry’s legislative director, told a crowd on the University of Texas at Austin campus Tuesday that his boss had told him he had decided to run for re-election in 2014 — a definitive statement that seemed to put to rest speculation over the longest-serving Texas chief executive’s future.

But a spokeswoman for Perry quickly rebuffed the statement from her colleague, saying “the only person to make that announcement is Governor Perry.”

“He has said multiple times he will make [the decision] after the legislative session,” Catherine Frazier said. “That door is open. He wants to keep doing what he’s doing. But he’s not going to make an official decision now.”

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2012 Presidential Election
9:07 am
Thu September 6, 2012

Texan is DNC's First Undocumented Speaker

Antonio Villaraigosa / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Benita Veliz, a 27-year-old San Antonio woman whose parents brought her into the country on a short-term tourist visa nearly two decades years ago, became the first undocumented person to address the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night.

Veliz, who graduated from high school at age 16 as valedictorian and double-majored at St. Mary’s University on a full academic scholarship, was nearly deported to Mexico after being pulled over in 2009 for a traffic infraction.

The case was eventually dropped in 2011. But Veliz, who identifies herself as an American and has hardly any connection to Mexico, has become the poster child for a generation of young immigrants rooting for the DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would provide them a path to citizenship.  

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2012 Presidential Election
10:16 am
Wed September 5, 2012

In DNC Keynote, Castro Courts Latinos, Youths

Texas Tribune

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, in the most defining moment of his young political career, gave a Democratic National Convention keynote on Tuesday night that reiterated Barack Obama’s 2008 message of hope, from the promise of recent immigrants to the anticipation of the nation’s youths to the dreams of Americans reaching for the middle class. 

“To me, to my generation, and for all the generations to come, our choice is clear,” Castro said. “Our choice is a man who’s always chosen us. A man who already is our president.”

Castro’s speech was thrilling and moving for Texas Democrats, who don’t hold a single statewide elective office but are pinning their hopes on the state’s shifting demographics and young, charismatic leaders like Castro.

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Politics
10:45 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Texans Reading a Lot Into Castro Keynote

June 8th, 2012: Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro gives keynote at the Texas Democratic Convention in Houston, Texas . Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Call them idealistic, but the Texas delegates in town for this week’s Democratic National Convention are reading a lot into the selection of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to give Tuesday night’s keynote address.

Sure, it means a great deal for Castro’s own political aspirations: The Democratic Party's rising star is already one of the nation’s youngest mayors, a Stanford- and Harvard-educated 37-year-old Latino with an equally ambitious identical twin. Castro sat next to first lady Michelle Obama at the 2012 State of the Union address, another sign he was being primed for the national spotlight.

“They recognize Julián Castro is a potential statewide candidate — very likely to be the first one we’ve had in a long time in the very near future,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa.

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Politics
12:55 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Unlike Romney, State Leaders Oppose Abortion After Rape

Caleb Bryant Miller for Texas Tribune

The state’s Republican leaders are at odds with the presumptive GOP presidential ticket on one key element of abortion politics — whether they oppose the procedure for victims of rape.

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Health
11:52 am
Mon August 20, 2012

After Komen Drama, Planned Parenthood Expands Screening

Planned Parenthood will expand breast health services to more than 40,000 women across five Texas cities, the result of increased donations following Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure's short-lived decision earlier this year to halt breast cancer fundingto the organization. 

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