Get unlimited access. Become a digital member! Find out more →

Mike Ross not running for governor in 2014; to lobby instead

Posted by Max Brantley on Mon, May 14, 2012 at 3:19 PM

SOON TO BE A VOICE FOR THE ELECTRIC LOBBY: U.S. Rep. Mike Ross.
  • A VOICE FOR DOLLARS AND CENTS: U.S. Rep. Mike Ross heads to the lobby.
U.S. Rep. Mike Ross won't be running for governor in 2014. This decision had been going around and I think Durango reported it pretty reliably in our comments thread over the weekend.

Instead, he'll be a lobbyist for the Southwest Power Pool, the energy distribution agency based in Little Rock that's in a huge battle to keep from losing Entergy's business to another power wheeling agency. Does Ross carry much stick? We'll see.

It's all about family, he says in a post on his Facebook page. He'll still be making a few trips to D.C., I'd guess.

It's also about the fact that he'd get his butt waxed in a Democratic primary race in 2014, not having been much of a Democrat. Not being a Democrat might have served him well in the general election, but he'd have never reached it. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has some inroads with traditional Democratic constituencies. I still think there's a strong chance Bill Halter will give it a try. (Indeed hr later issued a statement through a spokesman saying he 'd consider it.) And there might be others, including Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter who indicated strong interest to me the other day in a chance meeting at the airport. (And I promptly forgot about it.) A horde of Republicans will run, of course.

The Ross statement:

“I’ve received a lot of encouragement and given serious consideration to seeking the office of Governor of Arkansas in 2014, a race that will begin early next year. However, after a lot of prayer and reflection, I have decided that I will not be a candidate for Governor in 2014.

I announced in July 2011 that I would not be seeking a seventh term to the U.S. House of Representatives. As a result, instead of campaigning and raising money, I have been able to spend more time, including weekends, with my family for the past year. We have enjoyed getting back to a more normal way of life after 22 continuous years of elective service. This led me to the realization that there is life after politics.

Therefore, following my current term in the U.S. Congress, which ends January 3, 2013, I will be joining Little Rock based Southwest Power Pool as its Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Relations.

While many people have never heard of Southwest Power Pool, they perform an important mission in managing the electric grid and keeping electric rates affordable in nine states. Public service has always been an important part of my life, and although I will no longer be holding elective office, this is another way for me to continue to serve the public as Southwest Power Pool works to meet the electricity needs of its nine-state region today and for the future. This is an especially good fit for me, as I begin a new chapter in my life, because Southwest Power Pool is a non-profit organization that serves an important public service, and it allows me to remain here at home in Arkansas with my family.

I have held elective office for the past 22 years, including 10 years in the Arkansas State Senate and 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that time, we have helped thousands of people and fought for common sense policies, but I didn’t do it alone. It was done with the help of a dedicated staff that worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Arkansas. I will always be grateful to them for their service to our state and nation.

My service to the people of my home state has been the highest professional honor of my life, and I will never forget those who have placed their trust and confidence in me. Let me assure the people of Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District that I will remain on the job, and continue to provide them with a strong and effective voice in our nation’s capitol for the remainder of the term that I was elected to serve, just as I have tried faithfully to do from the beginning.”

-###-

Mike Ross, first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2000, is currently serving his sixth term from Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District. He announced in July 2011 that he would not seek re-election. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Co-Chair of the fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition and Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the largest bi-partisan caucus in the U.S. Congress. He also served from 1991-2000 in the Arkansas State Senate.

Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is a non-profit Regional Transmission Organization, one of nine in North America mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure, and competitive wholesale prices of electricity. Additionally, as a North American Electric Reliability Corporation Regional Entity, SPP is one of eight that oversees compliance enforcement and reliability standards development in the electric industry. SPP has members in nine states.

NEWS RELEASE FROM SOUTHWEST POWER POOL

MAY 14, 2012, LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – Southwest Power Pool (SPP) today announced that U.S. Congressman Mike Ross will join SPP as its Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Relations when his term in Congress ends in January.

Ross was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 and is serving his sixth term from Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Ross announced in July 2011 that he would not seek re-election this year. Prior to his service in the U.S. Congress, Ross served from 1991-2000 in the Arkansas State Senate.

In his new role, Ross will develop and lead SPP’s government affairs at the federal level and the nine-state region it serves, and manage public relations for the company.

SPP President and Chief Executive Officer Nick Brown said that Ross’ success in leading bi-partisan solutions on state and national levels is an excellent fit to the diverse membership in SPP.

“I’ve known Mike since high school in Hope, Arkansas, and have followed his political career for decades,” Brown said. “I can think of no one better to help SPP become more proactive in the state and federal legislative arenas and to raise public awareness of the company. There’s no doubt that he will add great value to SPP and our members in helping shape our nation’s energy future.”

Ross said that public service has always been an important part of his life, and that SPP provides him another avenue to continue to serve the public.

"I'm pleased to be joining Southwest Power Pool when my term in the U.S. Congress ends this January. While many people have never heard of Little Rock-based Southwest Power Pool, they perform an important mission in managing the electric grid and keeping electric rates affordable in nine states,” Ross said. “This was an especially attractive opportunity for me, as I begin a new chapter in my life, because Southwest Power Pool is a non-profit organization that serves an important public service, and it allows me to remain here at home in Arkansas with my family."

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Would be interesting to see how much outside money would come in for Halter, in a non-federal race.

report 5 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Jack on 05/14/2012 at 3:49 PM

Not a good time to be a Blanche Democrat by sucking up to the other side hoping they will love you. It's a loser's game. Nice that Ross and Blanche will remain on the corporate party payroll.

report 4 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by eLwood on 05/14/2012 at 3:57 PM

can tom cotton name one issue where he would vote against his big money masters and d. c.
insiders?

report 6 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by bobbyt on 05/14/2012 at 4:12 PM

So Ross is off to be a lobbyist and his probable replacement is a hyper-partisan shill for every right-wing cause known to man. Fitting for the times.

report 4 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by FSMXNA on 05/14/2012 at 4:16 PM

And Mike Ross thinks of himself as a Democrat (I sure as hell don't). Sigh.

report 6 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Sound Policy on 05/14/2012 at 4:44 PM

This is another troubling ethics situation. Ross is still a US Rep. and he will continue to vote in Congress and sit on committees covering issues that could possibly affect his soon-to-be employer.

Since he is now officially the Rep. for a corporation, rather than (supposedly) the people who elected him, the honorably thing would be for Mr. Ross to resign, but none of us expect honor from Members of Congress anymore.

report 11 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by YossarianMinderbinder on 05/14/2012 at 4:57 PM

YMB, honor doesn't pay. MoMoney rules!

report 3 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by eLwood on 05/14/2012 at 5:40 PM

Mike rushes through the swinging door to cash in. Good riddance.

report 3 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by PVNasby on 05/14/2012 at 7:28 PM

Mike Ross has served the Democratic Party well, largely because of his willingness to compromise. Sadly, this is no longer a virtue in the eyes of doctrinaire Democrats, who have become just as fanatic as doctrinaire Republicans. Diss him all you want, but I think he largely has done a good job. I probably would have voted for him against Dustin McDaniel. Okay. let the bullets fly.

report 3 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by plainjim on 05/14/2012 at 7:37 PM

Dash for the cash, Mike!

report 3 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by RYD on 05/14/2012 at 7:41 PM

Plainjim, in my book, Ross's pandering to the insurance industry while opposing health care reform, all the while representing a poor district with much to gain, was unforgivable.

report 1 like, 0 dislikes   
Posted by PVNasby on 05/15/2012 at 6:41 AM

PlainJim makes a very good point. Seems to me the reason this country is in such a mess is because no one on either side is willing to sit down together and work through our problems. We have become so partisan both to the left and the right, that we can't get anything accomplished. Our failure to compromise, will sadly, be our downfall.

report 2 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by JohnQCitizen on 05/15/2012 at 7:29 AM

I am glad Ross is gone. He screwed Democrats over when he abandoned the 4th district. You guys can say what you want, but having Ross representing the 4th was much more preferable than having Cotton or Rankin. Ross obviously didn't care. And as far as Halter is concerned, who cares where he is. He can't point to anything he's accomplished other than the lottery and I wouldn't be proud of that. I just don't understand why everyone thinks the lottery is so great. Do people not realize who is paying for those scholarships? It is the poor, by and large. People whose children, because of a disparate education system in this state, will most likely not even qualify for a scholarship, yet they are the ones buying the tickets. I am all for education and sending kids to college is a great thing, but if we really believe in these things, shouldn't we be willing to figure a way to pay for them without impacting the poor?

report 2 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Poison Apple on 05/15/2012 at 7:41 AM
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

Clicky