Dennis Ross (politician)

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Dennis Ross
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byAdam Putnam
Succeeded byRoss Spano
Constituency12th district (2011–2013)
15th district (2013–2019)
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 63rd district
In office
November 21, 2000 – November 18, 2008
Preceded byAdam Putnam
Succeeded bySeth McKeel
Personal details
Dennis Alan Ross

(1959-10-18) October 18, 1959 (age 64)
Lakeland, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Cindy Hartley
(m. 1983)
EducationUniversity of Florida
Auburn University (BA)
Samford University (JD)

Dennis Alan Ross (born October 18, 1959) is an American businessman and politician who served in the United States House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019. A Republican from Florida, his district was numbered as Florida's 12th congressional district during his first two years in Congress, and it was numbered as the 15th district during his last six years in Congress.

In April 2018, Ross announced that he would retire from Congress, and not run for re-election in 2018.[1]

Starting in 2018, Ross became a distinguished professor of political science at Southeastern University and launched the American Center for Political Leadership (ACPL) in the Jannetides College of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership.[2]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Ross was born October 18, 1959, in Lakeland, Florida, the youngest of five children born to Bill and Loyola Ross.[3] He attended Catholic school for nine years before graduating at Lakeland Senior High School in 1977. After high school, he attended the University of Florida before transferring to Auburn University where he graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management. He then graduated from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law in 1987.[4]

Ross went to work in the newly developed micro-computer industry working for several companies. He went on to serve briefly as an Associate with the law firm of Holland & Knight and was in-house counsel to Walt Disney World. Subsequent to his time at Disney, he opened up his own law firm, Ross Vecchio P.A., representing Business and Industry in Workers Compensation matters for over 20 years. As Ross was elected to Congress, his former firm was required to change its name to Vecchio, Carrier, Feldman and Johannessen.

Early political career[edit]

Ross went on to work for a year as a legislative aide in St. Petersburg to State Senator Dennis Jones in 1982. He was elected Chairman of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee, and served until 1995. In 1996, he ran unsuccessfully for the State Senate, losing to incumbent Democratic State Senator Rick Dantzler. In 2000, he ran for the 63rd district of the Florida House of Representatives, vacated by Adam Putnam.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Ross decided to run for Florida's 12th congressional district, vacated for retiring Adam Putnam, who decided to run for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture. In the Republican primary, Ross defeated John W. Lindsey, Jr. 69%–31%.[6] In the general election, he defeated Democrat Lori Edwards, the Polk County Supervisor of Elections, TEA Party candidate Randy Wilkinson, a Polk County Commissioner, 48%–41%–11%.[7] This was the second time Ross succeeded Putnam.[8] It was only the third time that a Democrat had managed to get 40 percent of the vote in this district since Andy Ireland switched parties in 1984 in what was then the 10th District (it was renumbered as the 12th after the 1990 census).

In 2009 Ross signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.[9]


After redistricting, Ross' district was renumbered as the 15th District.[10] No other candidate filed by the deadline, and he won re-election to a second term unopposed.[11][12]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

Interest group ratings[edit]

Ross had a "D" rating from marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes.[19]

Ross had a 13% score from the Humane Society Legislative Fund for his voting history on animal rights issues.[20]

In 2014, Ross had an "A" rating and endorsement from the NRA Political Victory Fund.[21][22]

Gun policy[edit]

Following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Ross signed a letter written to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives urging them to reevaluate the legal status of bump stocks, though no action has been taken as of March 2018.[23][non-primary source needed]

Of bump stocks, Ross said, "I believe in taking the important step to outlaw devices that make a firearm simulate an automatic firearm. I fully support the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms—this is about consistent enforcement of the automatic weapons ban."[24][non-primary source needed]

After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Ross released a statement announcing his support for bipartisan measures, including increasing funding for background checks, as well support for H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018, which has not been voted on as of March 2018. Ross said that the Act would "establish and support evidence-based programs to help school personnel, law enforcement, and students recognize the warning signs, develop effective threat assessments, and operate anonymous reporting programs."[25][non-primary source needed]

Tax reform[edit]

Ross voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[26]


Ross supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, calling the controversial order a "long overdue" measure to "ensure our country is safe from radical Islamic jihadists."[27]


Ross is opposed to abortion. He was in favor of banning federal health benefits from covering abortions, as well as any federal money being used to fund abortions, the latter unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or if the mother's life is in danger. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which states that life begins at fertilization. He wants to stop Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding.[28]

After Congress[edit]

After leaving office, he became involved in political reform efforts, including joining nine other former members of Congress to co-author a 2021 opinion editorial advocating reforms of Congress.[29]


  1. ^ Leary, Alex; Bousquet, Steve (April 11, 2018). "Republican Congressman Dennis Ross is retiring". Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay, FL. Archived from the original on April 11, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "U.S. Congressman Dennis Ross Joins SEU to Launch American Center for Political Leadership". Southeastern University. 2018-10-24. Archived from the original on 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  3. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). CQ Roll Call. 2010-11-04. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  4. ^ Seth Stern 112th Congress: Dennis Ross, R-Fla. (12th District) CQ Politics November 2, 2010
  5. ^ "Dennis Ross for Congress | Florida, District 12". Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  6. ^ "Our Campaigns – FL District 12 – R Primary Race – Aug 24, 2010".
  7. ^ "Our Campaigns – FL District 12 Race – Nov 02, 2010".
  8. ^ "Dennis Ross for Congress". Dennis Ross for Congress.
  9. ^ "No Climate tax | AFP". Archived from the original on 2015-02-19. Retrieved 2015-04-01./wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ross.pdf
  10. ^ "Florida Division of Elections Candidate List".
  11. ^ "RealClearPolitics – Politics – Jun 08, 2012 – Qualifying for Florida elections wraps up".
  12. ^ "Our Campaigns – FL District 15 Race – Nov 06, 2012".
  13. ^ "Congressman Dennis Ross". Archived from the original on December 23, 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Archived from the original on 1 January 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Florida Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  20. ^ "Dennis Ross on Environment". On The Issues. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  21. ^ "NRA-PVF | Grades | Florida". NRA-PVF. Archived from the original on November 4, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  22. ^ "Dennis Ross' Political Summary on Issue: Guns". ISPY. Vote Smart. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Letter to the Hon. Thomas Brandon, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives - Bipartisan Letter to Ban Bump Stocks" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Rep. Dennis Ross on Bump Stocks: "This is about consistent enforcement of the automatic weapons ban"". U. S. Representative Dennis A. Ross. U. S. Federal Government. 5 October 2017. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  25. ^ "In Darkness, There is Hope". U. S. Representative Dennis A. Ross. U. S. Federal Government. 2 March 2018. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  26. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  27. ^ Blake, Aaron (January 31, 2017). "Whip Count: Here's where Republicans stand on Trump's controversial travel ban". Washington Post.
  28. ^ "Dennis Ross on Abortion". On The Issues. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  29. ^ "We Know Congress Needs Reform". West Virginia Gazette. 13 August 2021.

External links[edit]

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 63rd district

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative