Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: October 18, 1959, Lakeland

Home: Lakeland

Education: Auburn U., B.S. 1981; Samford U., J.D. 1987.

Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1987-89; cnsl., Walt Disney World, 1989; founder, partner, Ross Vecchio P.A.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Presbyterian

Family: Married (Cindy) , 2 children

Republican Dennis Ross shares the staunchly conservative views of his GOP colleagues in the Class of 2010, but shuns incendiary rhetoric and is a bit of a loner, rarely attending group events. And he says there are other differences. “I think the image of a conservative is stodgy and holier-than-thou and without a sense of humor,” he told National Journal before inviting a reporter to go boar hunting with him. “I really like to enjoy life.”

Ross grew up in Lakeland, Fla., the youngest of five children. He remembers his mother, Loyola Ross, as a strict parent who preached the virtues of hard work. “She made us self-sufficient and believed in us working to earn our own spending money,” Ross told the Lakeland Ledger after his mother died in 2006. “In the eighth grade, she had me mowing lawns and she was my accountant.” He was active in student government in high school and attended the University of Florida for a year before transferring to Auburn University and graduating in 1981 with a degree in organizational management. He spent a year working as a legislative aide to then-state Rep. Dennis Jones, for a short time had a job installing and selling computers, and then enrolled in law school at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He returned to Lakeland and became an in-house counsel for Walt Disney World, handling workers’ compensation claims for the company. But he wanted to start his own law practice, so he borrowed $10,000 from a neighbor and opened a firm that eventually grew to seven lawyers and 27 employees. Ross spent three years as chairman of Polk County’s Republican Executive Committee. In 2000, he won a seat in the Florida House, where he developed a reputation as a faithful, but not automatic, GOP vote.

When GOP Rep. Adam Putnam announced plans in 2008 to run for state commissioner of agriculture, Ross jumped into the race for his seat. In the August primary, he trounced fellow Republican John Lindsey, a businessman and political neophyte, winning 69% of the vote. In the general election, he faced Democrat Lori Edwards, the Polk County supervisor of elections, and tea party nominee Randy Wilkinson, a former Polk County commissioner. Edwards campaigned as a moderate, saying she would fit in with the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats. But Ross ran ads tying Edwards to President Barack Obama and liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, while playing up his embrace of Putnam’s conservatism, as well as touting his support from former Gov. Jeb Bush and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas. Ross also had a big financial advantage, raising over $1 million compared to Edwards’ $657,000. Ross won convincingly, 48% to 41%, with 11% of the vote going to Wilkinson. He was unopposed in 2012.

In his first year in the House, Ross was among those tied for most-conservative member, according to National Journal’s annual rankings. He was unapologetic about his wholehearted opposition to Obama’s legislative agenda and his unwillingness to give Republican House Speaker John Boehner much leeway to negotiate a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in 2011. “I don’t view this as clashing,” he said. “It’s more about slowing down the ship and working to put it in another direction.” He joined the Tea Party Caucus and countered accusations from members of the Congressional Black Caucus that the movement is racist, telling them to “get a grip.”

As a member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Ross chaired the subcommittee overseeing federal workforce issues and proved himself a faithful ally of Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Ross was highly vocal about reports showing federal employees using increasing amounts of official time to participate in union activities. He, Issa, and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, unveiled a proposal in June 2011 that would replace every three employees who departed from federal agencies with just one new hire, in the hopes of a 10% federal workforce reduction by 2015. That same month, he was among the conservatives backing a failed resolution from antiwar Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, that would have urged Obama to remove U.S. forces from Libya within 15 days. In December 2012, Ross was given a seat on the Financial Services Committee.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1252

(202) 226-0585

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 229
Washington, DC 20515-0915

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-1252

(202) 226-0585

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 229
Washington, DC 20515-0915

DISTRICT OFFICE

(863) 644-8215

(863) 648-0749

170 Fitzgerald Road Suite One
Lakeland, FL 33813-2607

DISTRICT OFFICE

(863) 644-8215

(863) 648-0749

170 Fitzgerald Road Suite One
Lakeland, FL 33813-2607

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

607 Lake Miriam Drive
Lakeland, FL 33813

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

607 Lake Miriam Drive
Lakeland, FL 33813

Staff

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kyle.glenn@mail.house.gov
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Legislative Analyst

(202) 225-1252

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Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

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Legislative Analyst

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Kyle Glenn
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Immigration

Melissa Robel
Legislative Analyst

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Kyle Glenn
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

kyle.glenn@mail.house.gov
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Intelligence

Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

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Legislative Analyst

Melissa Robel
Legislative Analyst

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Legislative Analyst

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Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

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Legislative Analyst

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Legislative Analyst

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Melissa Robel
Legislative Analyst

(202) 225-1252

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Legislative Analyst

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Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

Small Business

Melissa Robel
Legislative Analyst

(202) 225-1252

Social Security

Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

Tax

Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

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Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

Telecommunications

Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

Trade

Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

Transportation

Melissa Robel
Legislative Analyst

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Veterans

Tim Cummings
Legislative Analyst

Welfare

Melissa Robel
Legislative Analyst

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Women

Melissa Robel
Legislative Analyst

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Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Dennis Ross
Unopposed
2012 PRIMARY
Dennis Ross
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Dennis Ross
Votes: 102,704
Percent: 48.14%
Lori Edwards
Votes: 87,769
Percent: 41.14%
Randy Wilkinson
Votes: 22,857
Percent: 10.71%
2010 PRIMARY
Dennis Ross
Votes: 33,212
Percent: 68.98%
John Lindsey
Votes: 14,936
Percent: 31.02%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (48%)

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