Henry Ross speaks to The Dispatch's editorial board. Photo by: Kelly Tippett
May 29, 2010 7:25:00 PM
Henry Ross seems to have the ideal biography for a career politician, yet he hopes to win Mississippi''s First Congressional District seat to put an end to career politics.
Ross, a fifth generation Webster countian, graduated with a law degree from Ole Miss, served as a lawyer in the Navy''s Judge Advocate General corp, became a circuit court judge, won the mayorship of Eupora and worked for the Justice Department during George W. Bush''s administration in the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
A constitutional amendment limiting congressional terms is just one of many radical ideas Ross hopes to enact if he can make it to Washington. Standing in his way are his June 1 primary opponents, State Sen. Alan Nunnelee and Fox News political analyst Angela McGlowan.
Beyond the primary is a November showdown with incumbent Travis Childers.
Ross swerved off the campaign trail recently to speak with The Commercial Dispatch''s editorial board. The following questions were posed to each Republican candidate.
What''s the most important character trait for the First District''s congressman?
"Persistence and persuasiveness.
"To get back to constitutional government we need people who will fight to get back to the government our founders had in mind. We need people who won''t try to elongate their career in Washington like the politicians we have, Republicans as well as Democrats. It''s basically been about them and they haven''t been willing to defend the constitution. They play safe to protect their careers.
"We''re going to have to convince like-minded Republicans, and maybe some Democrats, too, to come over and correct those things. If we don''t, with the debt, with the entitlements, and we''re seeing such a decline in society from the lack of family units, all these things are really leading us to losing the country we have now."
What is the most important issue facing the First District?
"The most immediate thing is the economy. People have got to go to work and got to make a living. Then we can concentrate on the other things.
"I think we need to freeze federal spending and at the same time we need income tax cuts across the board for individuals and businesses, just like in the Reagan era. If we freeze spending and cut taxes we''ll have a surge in the economy. It''s happened four times in the past, with Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy and George W. Bush.
"In the past, congress spent all that money because they weren''t disciplined. If we freeze spending and cut taxes the revenues will in two or three years overtake the outpay and we''ll have a surplus situation and we can begin paying down the national debt. That will lower pressure on interest rates and alleviate inflation.
"At the local level, if the American economy comes back, these things will happen in every corner of the country. The congressman will obviously help recruit industry, but the best thing the First District congressman can do is help the national economy on a macro level."
What''s your take on partisan gridlock and what will you do to work "across the aisle" for the First District?
"The gridlock in Washington reflects the fact America is divided. The country is split on which way to go. We''re going to have to make a decision. Are we going to continue down the road of socialism we''ve been on that started 50 years ago? We walked down it at a certain pace. Now we seem to be running down that road. Or do we go back down the road of the founders'' God-centered government.
"We can''t go down that road of socialism and at the same time down the road of freedom. I think the people of the First District want a Constitution-based country.
"I don''t think the left is going to compromise. We''ve compromised to the left for about 50 years."
What sets you apart from your Republican opponents?
"I''m the only military veteran in the race. Neither of them have served. And neither one of them have served on the local, state and national level. I''ve done that.
"Beyond that, as far as policy, there are five things I want to push for: A federal marriage amendment across the country to define marriage as one man and one woman, a federal (amendment) to limit congressional terms, to freeze spending and cut taxes, to reform welfare to get the father back in the home and quit incentivizing reproductive irresponsibility, and to impeach Supreme Court justices who don''t follow the Constitution.
"My opponents haven''t agreed to any of those specific things.
"I think those possibilities could be very realistic. I think you''ll see a different breed of conservative in Washington in 2011 and 2012."
If elected in November, what would be your first legislative priority?
"I''ll try to enact a spending freeze and tax cuts. We''ve got to get the economy going again in order to achieve the other goals.
"I''ll start trying to find a coalition in Congress that want these changes. When you find like-minded people who want to see these happen, then you can start reaching out to people who are a little more skittish and try to persuade them.
"The 1995 (congress) that had the Contract with America got a lot of things done. A lot of things happened when a Republican congress was seated. The economy came back because they were frugal.
"A lot of those guys pledged six-year terms. Many honored their pledge. The Republicans who didn''t honor their pledge were in on the big spending years of 2001-2007 when the national debt doubled under a Republican Congress and administration.
"I''ve pledged I wouldn''t be up there more than 12 years. Six is too short and government moves slow.
"If we can get the same kind of folks we had in there in that ''95 class, that want to go to work, we can accomplish a lot of things."
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