Mike Ross

Hinting at a possible run for governor in 2014, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross has announced that he will not seek reelection. Read the full text of his announcement:

Dear Fellow Arkansans,

Representing my home state of Arkansas in the U.S. Congress for the past eleven years has been a real privilege and honor. It is a job that I take very seriously and one that I love. However, as I reflect on turning 50 this year, I believe it is time for me to begin a new chapter in my life by spending more time with my family and exploring new opportunities here at home in Arkansas.

That’s why I have decided not to seek a seventh term to the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District. This was not an easy decision and one that I carefully made after a lot of reflection, thought and prayer.

Last year was a tough political environment to seek re-election. Yet, with your support, I won by 18 points – one of the largest margins of any member of Congress in a swing district. The trust and confidence you have continually placed in me is something I will never forget. The people of Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District are good, decent, hard working people and I am proud to serve and represent them in the U.S. Congress.

A lot has changed since I was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2001. Congressional campaigns have gone from several months in length to never ending, costing millions of dollars every two years. As a result, fundraising never ends nor do the political attacks. While I have worked hard to bring folks to the middle to craft common sense solutions to the many problems that confront our nation, Washington is mired in gridlock, gamesmanship and constant partisan bickering. Too many issues and votes are based on partisan politics rather than good public policy. Despite our many challenges, I remain optimistic that America’s best days are still ahead of us.

I have never believed that my service in the U.S. Congress should become a permanent career. This seat never belonged to me – it belongs to the people of Arkansas. And I know there are many bright people in Arkansas ready to step up, go to Washington and offer a new generation of leadership. Simply put, it is someone else’s turn to represent our state in the U.S. Congress.

I look forward to serving out the remainder of my term in the U.S. Congress, which doesn’t end until January 2013. Please know that I will continue to work each and every day on behalf of the people I represent, just as I have faithfully tried to do from the beginning.

I have received a lot of encouragement to run for Governor of Arkansas when Governor Beebe’s last term ends in 2014. I’ve always been very upfront and honest in the fact that, as a fifth generation Arkansan, I love our state and would like very much to help lead it at some point in the future. Whether I run for Governor in 2014 is a decision I have not yet made and won’t make until sometime after my term in this Congress ends.

But I do know if I was re-elected to the U.S. Congress next year, my term in the Congress would overlap with the Governor’s race. I believe it would be impossible to successfully run for Governor here at home, while effectively carrying out my congressional duties in Washington. That wouldn’t be fair to the people who elected me to Congress and it wouldn’t be fair to my supporters in a race for Governor. That certainly factored into my decision not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress next year.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I am hopeful it involves us continuing to work together to build an even brighter future for our state and its people.

I have many good memories of my service in the U.S. Congress, and we have helped thousands of people. None of this would have been possible without your support over the years. My family and I will always be grateful to you for your friendship and for believing in me. Let’s keep in touch.