Texas Tribune Editor Captivates Large Post-Election Day JAMen Crowd
Rabbi Daniel Septimus, Shalom Austin CEO, guest speaker Ross Ramsey, and JAMen co-chairs Jay Rubin and Burt Kunik meet up at JAMen's November event.
On Wednesday, Nov. 7, less than 24 hours after the polls closed on the 2018 midterm elections, more than 125 Jewish Austin Men members and their guests welcomed Texas Tribune Executive Editor and co-founder Ross Ramsey for the November speaker forum. His presentation, “The Day After: What the 2018 Elections Tell Us About Austin, Texas and America,” was highly anticipated, given the intensity of the campaigns, voters’ enthusiasm and narrow margins in the polls.
The Texas Tribune, co-founded by Ramsey nine years ago, is the only member-supported, digital-first, nonpartisan media organization that informs—and engages with—Texans about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Ramsey writes regular columns on politics, government and public policy, making him the perfect speaker to help unpack the results of the intense mid-term elections, analyze the state of the union and make some thoughtful predictions for the future.
Before joining the Tribune, Ramsey 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. He got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.
As with all JAMen speaker forums, the evening began with a lively cocktail hour, where guests networked and traded election day experiences, from long lines at the polling stations to late nights tuned into the results. Following a delicious buffet dinner paired with wine, JAMen co-founder Jay Rubin welcomed attendees. Rabbi Daniel Septimus, Shalom Austin CEO, then admirably pinch hit for Sandy Kress delivering Jewish Words with Friends Torah learning, following which David Kessler, a long-time supporter of the Texas Tribune, introduced the featured speaker.
Ramsey reviewed and analyzed the dynamic campaigns, unpredictably close races, and not all that surprising results of this election cycle. He began by reiterating what this midterm election was all about: Trump and a report card on his presidency. He took the audience through the state’s tighter-than-usual races and recapped turning points for many of the local campaigns.
From Ramsey’s take on how Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign helped down ticket Democratic candidates, to his county-by-county take on of some of the tightest races in Texas history, to his predictions for the next Speaker of the House, Ramsey put the results in perspective, explaining what it means for the future of Texas and its Legislature. He pointed out that the Republicans won all statewide races as usual, but they didn’t win in the same way they usually do. Races were tight, margins were narrow and predictable districts did the unexpected. His county by county analysis suggests that the Texas House and Legislature will be more moderate,as he shared insights into the official—and unofficial—candidates for Speaker of the House.
Following Ramsey’s engaging presentation, he took a variety of questions from the audience sparking lively discussions by audience members and leaving everyone with more insight into the political landscape.
The next JAMen Forum will be held Wednesday, Dec. 5, featuring Middle East expert Avi Jorisch, author of the new book "Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World." ■
To join JAMen and register for the next event visit ShalomAustin.org/JAMen or contact Carly Karten at 512-735-8044.