Ross leaves Congress on his own terms

WASHINGTON (Arkansas News Bureau) -- As his sixth and last term in Congress comes to an end, Mike Ross says he has not regretted his decision to leave office and is satisfied that he has done his best representing the 4th District of Arkansas.

"I thought maybe during the heat of the campaign or on election night or sometime during the lame duck session I'd start having some regrets, and I haven't," said Ross, D-Prescott. "I just never viewed my service in Congress as becoming a permanent career."

Ross, now 51, got his first real taste of politics as a driver for Bill Clinton during the former president's 1982 Arkansas gubernatorial campaign. Ross was later elected to the Arkansas Senate and served there for 10 years before his election to Congress in November 2000. He was sworn into the U.S. House on Jan. 3, 2001, two weeks before Clinton ended his second term in office.

In the dozen years that have followed, the nation suffered the September 11 terrorist attacks, went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, endured a near meltdown of its financial institutions and has seen a deepening partisan divide that has left its political system in gridlock.

"It was a challenging and historic time to be here. We made a lot of tough decisions and I tried to make those on the best information available to me at the time as well as the majority views of people in my district," Ross said. "I know I didn't always get it right, but I tried to be faithful to the people who sent me here."

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