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

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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.”

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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."

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