Congressman Dennis Ross | In The News
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Congressman Dennis Ross
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15th District Update
Dear Neighbor,
 
We have all been thinking about the terrible events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a lone shooter gunned down brave and innocent students and faculty. This senseless killing shocked the nation. Weeks later, we are still grappling with the events that led someone in our state to commit such an awful act of violence, and how we can work together on solutions to keep our communities and schools safe.

We are still grappling with this senseless and terrible act of violence.
 
For example, I have long supported bipartisan calls for increases in funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to strengthen the background check system and have called for the enactment of H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act of 2018. This legislation, introduced by my colleague and former Sheriff Rep. John Rutherford (FL-04), aims to better protect our children and prevent violence. This legislation 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.
 
While working toward policy solutions is critical, I have been frustrated by how long they can take to enact. Recently, I was asked, “What can I do, right now, that can make a difference?” The answer takes commitment, but you don’t have to go far.
 
This week, I joined the President, his cabinet, and members of Congress to honor Rev. Billy Graham, an exceptional man of faith who recently passed away. His remains were brought to the Capitol to "lay in honor," and my colleagues and I paid our respects and spoke our final goodbyes to “America’s Pastor.”


Rev. Graham lying in honor in the Capitol.

We have much to learn from Rev. Graham, even in his passing. He was a firm believer in the sanctity of human life, and by extension, believed that we are all equal. In one story, a man who had recently joined Graham’s ministry learned that people of different races sat together during services and angrily told a member of the staff, “Well, to Hell with the Revival, then.” Within a few weeks, he had returned, and rightfully served alongside all of God’s people. Such was the strong message and leadership provided by Rev. Graham during a difficult and divided time in our nation’s history.
 
How are we acting within our own communities to emulate that conviction of human equality? How do we express our love of our neighbors, and how do we come together as a community to protect those we love? I believe Rev. Graham showed us a way, one that is not limited merely to Christians, but open to any person willing to see the inherent good in all people.
 
This isn’t a government thing, but a people thing. On issues as vital as the ones we face in our nation today, we each have a responsibility to reach out and to find common ground, even where we are convinced none may exist. It is important that we spend time speaking to one another as neighbors in a search for solutions.


Rep. Soto and I spoke to bright young students at Southeastern University.

Fortunately, I have found a number of people here in the 15th District who do just that, in all stations of life. I have spoken to students and teachers at schools like Southeastern University, who have demonstrated just such a commitment to civility and citizenship. I have been struck by the professionalism of law enforcement officials like Sheriff Grady Judd who take seriously the need to keep the peace so our communities can thrive. And I have been impressed with the kindness and thoughtfulness of so many residents in private life who do their part to keep Florida strong.
 
As we continue to face the many challenges ahead, I thank you for striving to make our world a better place, and for doing it so close to home. It is my hope we can continue working together on solutions that make us stronger and more united as a state and country and that we take an important lesson from Rev. Billy Graham to love thy neighbor, and to come together as a community to protect those we love.  

As always, please continue to write, call, and email your opinions to my office. I could not effectively represent you in Congress without the advice of my constituents. It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Congress.

Your Congressman,



Dennis A. Ross
WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE
436 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
T(202) 225-1252
F(202) 226-0585
LAKE COUNTY OFFICE
685 W. Montrose Street
Clermont, FL 34711
T(352) 727-2248
F(863) 648-0749
POLK COUNTY OFFICE
170 Fitzgerald Rd., Ste 1
Lakeland, FL 33813
T(863) 644-8215
T(813) 752-4790
F(863) 648-0749
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY OFFICE
110 West Reynolds St., Ste 101
Plant City, FL 33563
T(813) 752-4790
F(863) 648-0749
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