Deborah K. Ross

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Deborah K. Ross
Deborah K Ross.jpg
Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
from the 34th district
In office
January 9, 2013 – June 1, 2013
Preceded byGrier Martin
Succeeded byGrier Martin
Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives
from the 38th district
In office
January 29, 2003 – January 9, 2013
Preceded byBob Hensley
Succeeded byYvonne Lewis Holley
Personal details
Born (1963-06-20) June 20, 1963 (age 55)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Steve Wrinn
EducationBrown University (BA)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (JD)

Deborah Koff Ross (born June 20, 1963) is an American lawyer and politician. A Democrat, Ross was a member of the North Carolina General Assembly, representing the state's thirty-eighth and then thirty-fourth House district, including Wake County, North Carolina. An attorney from Raleigh, North Carolina, Ross served five full terms and one partial term in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Ross was the Democratic nominee in the 2016 U.S. Senate election in North Carolina. She lost to incumbent Republican Richard Burr in the general election.

Early life and education[edit]

Ross was born in Philadelphia on June 20, 1963 and grew up in Connecticut.[1] She is the daughter of Barbara A. (Klein) and Marvin S. Koff.[2] Her father served as a physician in the Air Force during the Vietnam era and her mother taught preschool.[3]

Ross earned her B.A. from Brown University in 1985 and her J.D. from UNC Chapel Hill law school in 1990.[4]


Legal career[edit]

Following her graduation from law school, Ross worked for Raleigh-based Hunton and Williams as a tax litigator and municipal bond lawyer.[5] Ross practiced law in North Carolina for 25 years, including civil rights law, constitutional law, infrastructure law, and renewable energy law.[citation needed] She also taught at Duke Law School as a senior lecturing fellow.[6]

Ross was hired as state director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina in 1994. She worked on First Amendment and juvenile justice issues. Alongside Governor Jim Hunt and then State Senator Roy Cooper, she overhauled North Carolina's system for dealing with youth offenders. In response to racial profiling reports, she also successfully encouraged state police agencies to collect race-based statistics for traffic stops. Ross stepped down from her position at the ACLU in 2002 when she launched her state House campaign.[1][5]

North Carolina Legislature[edit]

Ross was first elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 2002 and defeated Wake County Commissioner Phil Jeffreys in 2004 to win a second term. She faced no opposition in the 2006 general election, and in 2007, Ross was first elected as one of the House Democratic Whips.

Ross supported the Equal Pay Act, an unsuccessful bill that would have banned North Carolina employers from paying workers differently based on gender.[7]

In 2012, Ross compared state coastal protection policies that ignore scientists' sea-level rise forecasts to burying one's "head in the sand." She said she was concerned that increased risk of flooding would lead insurance companies to charge higher premiums for coastal property owners.[8]


On May 1, 2013, Ross announced she would resign from the legislature in June and return to the private sector to serve as legal counsel for GoTriangle, the triangle area's regional transit agency.[9] On June 1, 2013, Grier Martin was appointed to succeed her in the House.[10]

2016 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

In 2015, Ross resigned from her position as legal counsel at GoTriangle to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016.[11] Ross won the N.C. Senate Democratic primary in March 2016 with 62.4% of the vote from a field of four candidates.[12] Ross has been endorsed by EMILY's List, Planned Parenthood, the North Carolina Association of Educators, the North Carolina AFL-CIO, American Association for Justice, End Citizens United, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, and the League of Conservation Voters.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

In the general election, Ross ran against the incumbent, Republican Richard Burr. Ross raised more money than Burr for three consecutive quarters, but nevertheless had less cash on hand as Burr began the year with $5.3 million in campaign funds. As of October 21, Ross was down 2.8% in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. The race received national attention as Cook Political Report rated the race a toss-up and Democrats view the seat as one they could win.[22] Burr won with 51% of the vote.[23]

Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP[edit]

In March 2017, Ross joined the regional law firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP in Raleigh. Her practice focuses on the economic development, energy, utilities, and infrastructure needs of businesses and government.

Personal life[edit]

Ross and her husband, Steve Wrinn, live in a home they restored in Boylan Heights, a historic neighborhood in Raleigh.[24]


  1. ^ a b Pathe, Simone (March 20, 2016). "Can This North Carolina Democrat Become the Next Kay Hagan?". Roll Call. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  2. ^ Who's Who of American Women, 1997-1998 Marquis Who's Who.
  3. ^ Burns, Matthew (October 14, 2015). "Ex-Wake lawmaker Ross enters US Senate race". WRAL.
  4. ^ "Deborah Ross entering 2016 US Senate race". WNCN. October 14, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Campbell, Colin (September 30, 2016). "Deborah Ross' ACLU leadership looms large in US Senate race". Charlotte Observer.
  6. ^ "Deborah K. Ross". Indy Week. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  7. ^ Leslie, Laura (April 9, 2013). "NC Equal Pay Act faces long odds". WRAL. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  8. ^ Harish, Alon (August 2, 2012). "NC Bans Latest Science on Sea Rise". ABC News.
  9. ^ "Rep. Deborah Ross stepping down". WRAL. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  10. ^ "Democrats pick Grier Martin to replace Ross in House". WECT. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  11. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (September 23, 2015). "Deborah Ross, mulling a Senate run, resigns from GoTriangle". News & Observer. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  12. ^ "North Carolina Primary Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  13. ^ "Christensen: Senate primary is quiet, but you can hear Ross stirring". News & Observer. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  14. ^ "Deborah Ross". EMILY's List. Archived from the original on 2016-01-15. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  15. ^ "Planned Parenthood Action Fund Endorses Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate Action". Planned Parenthood. Archived from the original on 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  16. ^ "NCAE Endorses Deborah Ross for United States Senate". North Carolina Association of Educators. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  17. ^ "AFL-CIO endorsements include Cooper, Ross, Meeker". News & Observer. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  18. ^ "Deborah Ross Endorsed by End Citizens United PAC". End Citizens United. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  19. ^ "DSCC Endorses Deborah Ross in North Carolina". Roll Call. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  20. ^ "Democracy for America Endorses Tammy Duckworth and Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate". Democracy for America. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  21. ^ "LCV Action Fund Endorses Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate". League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  22. ^ Morrill, Jim (21 October 2016). "Deborah Ross out-raises - and outspends - Richard Burr". charlotteobserver. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  23. ^ "North Carolina U.S. Senate Results: Richard M. Burr Wins".
  24. ^ Gordon, Greg (October 12, 2016). "Senate candidate opposed ending historic tax credits that had benefited her family". McClatchy DC. Retrieved 28 October 2016.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Elaine Marshall
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from North Carolina
(Class 3)

Most recent