|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Florida's 15th district
January 3, 2011 - January 3, 2019
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives|
from the 63rd district
November 7, 2000 - November 4, 2008
Dennis Alan Ross
October 18, 1959
Lakeland, Florida, U.S.
Cindy Hartley (m. 1983)
|Education||University 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.
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.
Ross was born October 18, 1959 in Lakeland, Florida, the youngest of five children born to Bill and Loyola Ross. 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.
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.
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.
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%. 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%. This was the second time Ross succeeded Putnam.
After redistricting, Ross decided to run in the newly redrawn Florida's 15th congressional district. Because no other candidate qualified to run against him by the deadline, he won re-election to a second term unopposed.
Ross had a "D" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Ross is against veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence.
As of 2017, Ross had an "A-" rating from the NRA, indicating a voting record that was generally pro-guns. According to OpenSecrets.org, Ross has received $19,375 since 2010 in direct and indirect campaign contributions from the NRA and its affiliate organizations. As a Congressman, Ross has voted in favor of several pieces of legislation to expand gun rights, including a yes vote on H. R. 38, which would enable concealed carry reciprocity among all States if and when it is signed into law. In March 2017, Ross voted in favor of the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which, if signed into law, will allow veterans who are considered "mentally incompetent" to purchase ammunition and firearms unless declared a danger by a judge. Ross also voted in favor of H.J.Res.40, which successfully used the Congressional Review Act to block implementation of an Obama-era Amendment to the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 that was aimed at preventing the mentally-infirm from legally purchasing firearms.
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. 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."
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."
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."
Ross is pro-life. 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.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 12th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 15th congressional district