U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., part of the congressional leadership as senior deputy majority whip, kicked off his bid for a fourth term in the U.S. House on Monday.
Ross launched his campaign by stressing his roots to Polk County and the area.
“Cindy and I were born and raised here in the 15th district,” Ross said. “We have lived here our whole lives. Our kids grew up here and went to school here. We are blessed to live in an area with thriving communities, diverse neighborhoods, abundant farmland, excellent colleges and universities, great weather and most importantly, wonderful and hardworking people.
“I ran for Congress because I thought Washington was broken, but I had no idea how broken it really was,” Ross added. “Since being elected, I've made tough choices and cast difficult votes. The battles we have fought are not always enjoyable but they are worth fighting for. And I can truly say we have made a difference.
“But our work is not done,” Ross continued. “I firmly believe that these next two years are the most important two years in our lifetime. Our safety and security are at risk both at home and abroad. Islamic terrorists threaten our way of life. Our budget deficit threatens our way of life. And what’s happening in our country can’t continue. I’m optimistic our best days are ahead and we can and must get our country back on the right track. It’s been an honor and privilege to work on your behalf in Congress, and we need to make sure our nation once again has the ability to do great things. That’s why today, I am here to announce my reelection and to ask you to bless me with another term in Congress. With your help, we can do it!”
Ross has been moving up the political ladder in Polk County for decades. A former aide to state Sen. Dennis Jones, Ross led the Polk County GOP before making an unsuccessful state Senate bid in 1996. When state Rep. Adam Putnam jumped in the race for Congress in 2000, Ross ran for the open Florida House seat, winning it and serving four terms until being term limited in 2008. In 2010, Ross ran for Congress, once again replacing Putnam who successfully ran for state agriculture commissioner.
Last year, in the aftermath of then-U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announcing his resignation, Ross looked to move up the Republican ranks, running for the U.S. House majority whip post. But, with U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., failing to become speaker, Ross and other contenders had to scrap their efforts.
Ross doesn’t have an open shot at returning to Congress. Businessman and activist Jim Lange, the founder of the Haiti Recovery and Development Company (HR&DC), is running for the Democratic nomination.
Democrats have a slight registration edge in this district but former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., beat out President Barack Obama in 2012 here by 6 percent.
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